Candidate accuses USC of disinviting him from forum, USC responds

Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Ose claims USC disinvited him from the gubernatorial candidate town hall that was held in Bovard Auditorium on Jan. 13.

Six candidates debated an array of issues including homelessness, immigration, single-payer health care and the prison system. Ling Luo | Daily Trojan.

According to the former California representative, he had initially been invited to the candidate forum when he spoke on the phone with community engagement director Meghan Ginley from the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics on Jan. 5.

He said the disinvitation was “unworthy of the institution of USC’s history of tradition.”

Ginley said that there had been no intention of presenting him with an invitation to the town hall when they spoke, and they had only discussed the event’s details and qualifying factors for a candidate to be invited to the event.

“We did not extend him the invitation,” she said. “We were collecting data, we were collecting information [about his candidacy].”

Additionally, Ginley said she did not have the authority to invite him to the forum. The decision to not extend an invitation to Ose was that of her partners, including those from the Unruh Institute of Politics, the Empowerment Congress and media sponsors.

In response to Ose’s claims, USC said in a statement to the Daily Trojan, “The Gubernatorial Town Hall held at USC on Saturday Jan. 13, includes six candidates who met the objective, established criteria.”

The disqualifying factor for Ose was the Jan. 8 cutoff date. Though he had filed papers the morning he spoke to Ginley, Ose had not made a formal announcement about his candidacy before that date, Ginley said.

Those planning the event expected formal announcements from potential candidates to ensure that they were running because in the past, people have launched open exploratory campaigns, she said.

Ose did, however, meet other criteria, which stated that he either had to have previously served in a position of government or had to have raised $100,000 for his campaign. Six other candidates along with Ose were also excluded from the event for not meeting the aforementioned criteria, Ginley said.

Ose said he had been under the impression that Ginley intended to invite him to the candidate forum after speaking with friends from the Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times.

Ose expressed frustration with the cutoff date, saying three days was enough time to make and finalize accommodations. However, Ginley said that adding him to the town hall past the date would affect set up for the event as well as technological aspects of it.

“Frankly, it would have been nice to have another person in the debate, but he didn’t meet the criterion,” said director of the Unruh Institute of Politics Bob Shrum, who was involved in putting together the candidate forum. “It wouldn’t’ve been fair to the other candidates. We had set a cutoff of Jan. 8 and we held to it.”

Another gubernatorial town hall will take place at USC in late March, hosted by the USC Price School of Public Policy. This is a potential opportunity for Ose to expand on his campaign, Ginley said.