An unaffiliated candidate who hopes to be a contender for U.S. Senate will meet with supporters at a drive-in movie style convention on Aug. 10 in Roseburg.

Michael Stettler is a resident of Christmas Valley in Lake County. He’s campaigning for the seat currently held by Democrat Jeff Merkley. If he gathers 1,000 signatures, he could win a spot on the November ballot, where he would also be competing against Republican nominee Jo Rae Perkins of Albany.

Stettler is a material handler for Cupertino Electric with an occupational background as an electrician. He is a U.S. Navy veteran and served from 1986 to 1990 as an aviation machinist mate.

Stettler said he has been registered unaffiliated since 2010. What turned him off to party politics, he said, was both Republicans’ and Democrats’ loyalty to the party line.

It’s like a game between the two to see who can make themselves look better and the other party look worse, he said. And all that leads to gridlock in Congress.

“The people’s work is not getting done,” he said.

When government isn’t serving the people, it should be changed, he said.

“We’ve got to get back to basics folks, because these partisan lines are just driving us into deeper and deeper and wider and wider divides. We’ve got to fix this, we really do,” he said.

Stettler acknowledged the challenge his campaign faces running a nonpartisan race, saying it would be a “Cinderella story” if he’s able to garner the last-minute signatures to make it on the ballot. If he’s able to win, he said, it would be historic.

Most of Stettler’s stated policy positions could be described as conservative, and he called himself a supporter of President Donald Trump.

“I don’t see Joe Biden being any better, doing any better, and quite frankly we need to roll with another four years of Trump. That’s my position and that’s how I’ll talk on the campaign trail,” he said.

However, he also characterized himself as having some socially liberal views.

“I could care less what people want to call themselves and gender identity, the virtue signaling that’s going on. I care about all lives, and Black Lives Matter in Africa, too,” he said.

He also has pledged not to support any new taxes and describes himself as pro-life and a defender of the Second Amendment. He supports campaign finance reform and a balanced budget amendment, while he opposes the Green New Deal and cap-and-trade policies.

The Roseburg event is designed to allow supporters to socially distance. It begins at 3 p.m. in the former K-Mart parking lot at 2757 NW Stewart Parkway and continues until 8 p.m. or until at least 1,000 registered voters have signed petitions to get him on the ballot.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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