Running as an independent, Nader has already earned his way onto the ballot in 22 states. To qualify in Oregon, state election laws say he must hold a mini-convention and collect 1,000 valid signatures. In April, Nader tried, but fell short. On Saturday, not surprisingly, Nader returned, trying once again to elbow his way onto the ballot.
Although Nader doesn't consider himself "a spoiler," he spent the week prior to Saturday's conference trying to scrounge up support wherever he could find it. On Thursday, he appeared on Lars Larson's rabidly conservative radio talk show. Both the Christian Coalition and Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) urged their members to attend Saturday's conference and help place the 70-year-old curmudgeon on the ballot.
CSE is the group that lobbied to defeat Measure 30, the tax measure meant to help support schools and health care. CSE enjoys national backing from longtime conservatives like Dick Armey.
On Saturday, an odd mix of 1,100 conservatives and liberals packed into Benson High. Election officials said that it may take several weeks to verify whether Nader collected enough valid signatures to qualify for November's ballot.