Paulette Jordan campaign volunteer interrupts 'Families Belong Together' rally
A volunteer from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan's campaign briefly disrupted a rally Saturday at the Capitol, prompting an organizer to seek an apology from the Jordan campaign.
The rally drew thousands of people to protest the separation of parents and children trying to enter the country without legal authorization at the Mexican border. At one point, the Jordan volunteer walked up the Capitol steps to the rally host.
The host, Estefania Mondragon, said to the crowd, "I'm sorry, but this man is harassing us."
She then looked at the Jordan volunteer, whom she later identified to the Idaho Statesman as Gayraud Townsend, and said, "Can you please leave?"
Townsend walked away but later yelled, "I wanted to hear from Paulette Jordan. That's it."
Mondragon replied, "This is not a political, a politician rally. This is a rally about kids."
The crowd cheered.
Poder is Spanish for "can," but the organization's name is also an acronym for "Protecting Our Dreams and Empowering Resilience." Mondragon told the Statesman that Jordan's campaign had contacted rally organizers beforehand to ask if the candidate could speak at the event, but was told politicians would not be included among the speakers.
Jordan's campaign manager, Michael Rosenow, told the Statesman that Jordan was invited, and that the campaign was unaware that she would not be allowed to speak.
But Rosenow said the volunteer was not on staff and was not representative of the overall campaign.
"We would never condone something like this," Rosenow said. "This is reckless.”
Immediately after the incident, Rosenow said, the campaign apologized directly to rally organizers.
“We all apologize for it getting to that point," Rosenow said. "No one wanted to get to that point.”
Mondragon said the apology she received felt like it came from Rosenow personally but not the Jordan campaign. Mondragon said organizers have requested an official apology from the campaign and that Jordan herself state her position on immigration.
Townsend did not respond to messages seeking comment.