He's in: Steve Novick takes on Gordon Smith.


Today, Steve Novick will announce that he's running for the US Senate. And you're invited to join him.

Salem: 9:30 a.m., Capitol Press Room, State Capitol Building Room 43

Portland: Noon, ILWU Local 8, 2435 NW Front Avenue

Eugene: 3:30 p.m., Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza, 125 E. 8th Avenue

Why is Steve Novick running for the US Senate? From NovickForSenate.com:

I'm running for the United States Senate because Oregon's working families need someone to fight for them - and a fighter needs a hard left hook.

I'm running because while George Bush has been taking our country to hell, Senator Gordon Smith had his hand on the handbasket every step of the way.

I'm running because Gordon Smith represents government of the rich, by the powerful, and for the special interests, and I believe in government of the people, by the people and for the people

But mostly, I'm running because I don't want to wake up ten years from now and see that only half of Oregonians have health care, and that half don't.

I'm running because I don't want to wake up ten years from now and see that inequality, the gap between the rich and powerful and the rest of us, is even more outrageous than it is today. People are tired of hearing that the economy is good, and seeing that only the rich get richer.

I'm running because I don't want to wake up ten years from now and see that the national debt on the shoulders of our children has risen to a level that is crushing the economy and forcing savage cuts in Social Security, Medicare and other vital services.

And I'm running because I don't want to wake up twenty years from now and see that global warming is destroying our farms, our forests, and our coastal cities.

These are the great issues- the great challenges --of our time. And we can meet those challenges, if we elect political leaders willing to tell the truth and act boldly.

I am stepping forward to run for, and serve, in the US Senate for Oregon, by telling the truth and acting boldly.

Who is Steve Novick? A few years ago, Willamette Week described Steve Novick this way:

Oregon native, U of O grad, Harvard Law. Big law firms in San Francisco and New York. U.S. Justice Department's environmental-enforcement division. Lead counsel in the eventual Love Canal lawsuit, in which the feds won $129 million against Occidental Chemical. Back to Oregon to be the issues director for Tom Bruggere's failed U.S. Senate campaign (and, later, Ted Kulongoski's successful [2002] bid for governor). Caucus administrator for the Senate Democrats in Salem, policy advisor for Multnomah County Chair Diane Linn and then legislative coordinator for the Oregon Department of Education. ... Novick gives you the feeling that he will never be outworked or outstudied. Add to that a Howard Dean-like combativeness and the punchline skills of a sitcom writer. ... Novick is the kind of guy who follows his convictions--damn the consequences.

Since then, he's been Oregon's leading activist keeping the Oregon Lottery accountable and fighting to cut payments to restaurant owners with video poker machines. He's also a consultant with Pyramid Communications.

Learn more at Steve Novick for US Senate. Donate. Volunteer.


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    [Important administrative note: As a candidate in a competitive race, Steve Novick will no longer be a regular contributor here at BlueOregon. His past columns will still be available.]

  • Michelle (unverified)

    Yea! A Novick-Smith debate - that is what I want to see.

    I certainly hope long-time Bush-enabler Smith is feeling the heat now for all of those lock-step votes and speeches. Speaking of which:

    "I plead with my colleagues, patriots all, be careful in the words we use, be wise in what we say, so we do not give aid and comfort to the enemies of that country, the fomenters of terrorism; that we do what we have set out to do, and that is to remove a regime that was bent on tyranny, fomenting terror, and financing it wherever it could; and that we follow through with the promises made by this Government and the previous one, President Clinton and President Bush, that democracy can have a new beginning-in fact, a first chance-on the streets of Arabia. This is our purpose, and may we win. We will win sooner if we watch our words and we weigh them on the scales of wisdom." Sen. Gordon Smith, 04/07/2004

    There's nothing like accusing your political opponents of enabling terrorists in order to quash dissent. That's straight out of the McCarthy/Rove playbook. "Patriotism means don't ask questions!" Maybe Smith can use that as his campaign slogan. Too bad Smith didn't appreciate that having no war plan, failing to provide proper equipment to the troops and failing to listen to the sound advice of experts is what actually emboldens the enemy.

  • Murphy (unverified)

    Oh lord, please tell me this isn't the best we can do. A self-gratifying, ego-driven, no chance candidacy is not what we need. How did Mark Weiner convince anyone that this was a good idea?

  • Murphy (unverified)

    The fact that he announced rather than doing everything possible to attract a better candidate shows that this is a guy who cares more about his own potential fame and chance at the microphone than he does about beating Gordon Smith or helping turn around the Country.

    This is such a terrible idea if we want to beat Smith. It's good for the little consultant mafia - Novick is like their pet - and they'll get to keep some of the money that misguided friends give for mail, t.v., and polling.

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    I disagree with Murphy. I'd rather see someone who is going to put their heart and soul into this campaign to help make the US a better place. I don't know Steve, but I applaud his willingness to stand up and run. It takes courage and commitment to do that.

    As of lately all we've been hearing is DeFazio, DeFazio, DeFazio. Let's talk about someone who is actually in the race and in it to win.

    Steve I admire you and urge you to stand tall and stay in the race no matter what anyone says or does.

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)

    The Portland Freelancer endorses Steve Novick. I've talked to him on Mt. Tabor and he is very intelligent. After the Bush/Smith era in Washington, it could be time to give intelligence a try.

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    A self-gratifying, ego-driven, no chance candidacy is not what we need.

    Good grief. Why not save your bile for Smith, Murphy?

    I'm glad to see someone finally stepping to the plate to start taking Smith head on. I see no downside to this candidacy whatsoever, whether Novick becomes the offical Party candidate or not.

  • RinoWatch (unverified)


    What will these folks do if a "better Democrat" jumps in?

    Does this spell it for DeFazio?

  • josh (unverified)

    The partial birth ruling on the US Supreme Court is the exact reason why DeFazio should forgo his seniority in the US House and run for the US Senate. Peter, you are the only one who really as a realistic chance in defeating Smith. I wish Steve Novick luck but the kind of money he is going to have to raise just to buy name ID will be enourmous.

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    After reading Gordon Smith's full page ad in today's big "O" listing Democrats by name who support him, it's clear Gordon Smith is feeling the heat. The ad was paid for by Friends of Gordon Smith. Follow the money.


    Meanwhile Wyden says he won't campaign against Gordon Smith.

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    I disagree with Murphey's tone, but his point is unfortunately spot on. To defeat Smith we need a candidate with credible statewide, and preferably national, stature.

    And Mr. Novick simply doesn't have that. Not even close. Nobody, other than us political junkies, know about him. Even among Democratic PCPs, his name recognition has got to be in the 30s - at most.

    Nor, judging by this initial announcement, am I impressed with his political messaging skills. "Hard Left Hook?" Smith is vulnerable because he's voted like the Bush-Republican that he is. But at least he's got the sense to lie about it. The last thing we need, in running against his extreme record, is someone who brags about being extremist in the other direction. That kind of campaign simply doesn't play well in Oregon.

    Steve is a good Democrat, an excellent speaker, with brilliant ideas. But if we don't get Kitzhauber or someone from our congressional delegation to run against Smith, we'll have wasted our only real opportunity to unseat him in the next 20 years.

  • Garrett (unverified)

    Don't be surprised if a nobody can unseat a sitting Senator. If I remember correctly a nobody won the Presidency in 1992.

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    I am thrilled to see Steve jump into this race. I've wanted to see him run for a long time and think Oregon would be well-served by his representation.

    No one has made a more compelling case for removing Smith. There's been a lot of discussion about potential candidates and strategies, but the one indispensable trait for any candidate challenging Smith is to have a passion for the race. Novick meets this test.

    Novick will bring clarity to the contest. He's scary smart and capable of running a campaign Democrats can be proud of. Novick's going to let it rip, and I can't wait to watch. I know he'll be underestimated by pundits and Smith, just as he was when he helped take down Sizemore in 2000 or when he held deep-pocketed polluters accountable for poisoning Love Canal more than a decade ago.

    The campaign to defeat Smith starts today. Go Novick!

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    Oh, by the way Kari, I fail to see why Mr. Novick should be barred from contributing to Blue Oregon. You wouldn't do that to anyone else in the race, I don't understand why you'd do that to him.

  • carol b (unverified)

    I think and fear that Maurer and Murphy are correct.

    Steve entering the race makes it slihtly less likely that a better candidate will enter. Novick will be working to get commitments from donors, volunteers, etc. -- and that will suck up potential resources from someone else who is considering it.

    Also, the prospect of running against the "mean-boy" Novick cannot be very attractive for too many people.

    I hope everyone saves their money and time for someone real.

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    Oh, by the way Kari, I fail to see why Mr. Novick should be barred from contributing to Blue Oregon.

    We'll take guest posts from Novick and encourage him -- as we do with other candidates -- to send in dispatches from the campaign. Also, if he posts something interesting on his campaign blog, we'll cross-post if appropriate.

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    1. You're now the arbiter of "best?" Glad to know--I thought that was for the voters to decide.

    2. How do you konw Novick hasn't been working has ass off to get a new candidate. Matter of fact, the WW article that came out weeks ago said his interest in the campaign was designed precisely to provoke other candidates. But hey, you're on a roll.

    As to Steve's candidacy, there's every reason to think it will help Dems take the seat, whether Steve is the winner or not. Consider the "Decoy Effect":

    Front-runners are usually focused on racing each other. They often do not realize that when people cannot decide between two leading candidates -- and it doesn't matter whether we are talking about politicians or consumer appliances -- our decision can be subtly swayed by whoever is in third place. Psychologists call this the decoy effect: In a perfectly rational world, third candidates should only siphon votes away from one or both of the leading contenders. Under no circumstances should they cause the vote share of either front-runner to increase. In the actual world, however, third candidates regularly have the unintended effect of making one of the front-runners look better than before in the minds of undecided voters.

    Demonstrating that there are a lot of smart, dedicated Dems is a net gain in the effort to unseat Smith.

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    I'm thriled that Steve is finally making it official and I am honored to support him.

    As I have said elsewhere, Steve is smart, funny, solidly progressive, quick on his feet, a great speaker, and utterly fearless. Of course he's got an uphill battle ahead of him, but he will prevail (and will be a GREAT senator) if he gets the respect, cooperation, and support he deserves.

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    First of all I will state that I believe that Steve is a great candidate and would make a terrific Senator.

    For those who claim that we can only win by having a candidate that is already well known to every voter I suggest that you take a closer look at what happened in the last election across the country. Unknown candidates came from nowhere to win because the public was angry with what has transpired in this country for the past six years.

    Our nation has changed in my lifetime from a vote for the candidate to a vote for the party culture. A vote for Smith is a vote for the Bush governing party. As long as the candidate is "clean and articulate" the vote will come down to who do you want leading the investigations; the Democrats or the "see no evil" Republicans.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    I'm happy to see Steve run. Someone needs to start going after Smith, just like Wellstone went after Rudy B. in MN in 90. Murphy said we can do better. Maybe so, and candidates have until early March of next year to declare. Sometimes a candidate entering will entice others in. Ross Perot wasn't going to rerun in '96 until Richard Lamm announced as a reform candidate, and Perot jumped in the next day. I hope that we will have a competitive primary and Steve will make it more interesting. I think he has a shot at winning.

  • Intercaust (unverified)

    I'll vote for any Dem over Smith.


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    Steven Maurer asked, Oh, by the way Kari, I fail to see why Mr. Novick should be barred from contributing to Blue Oregon. You wouldn't do that to anyone else in the race, I don't understand why you'd do that to him.

    Let me clarify. Steve's no longer a regular contributor - with a password and stuff. He's still perfectly welcome to contribute guest columns, and we'll "elsewhere" stuff on his campaign blog, and we'll talk about him in the news.

    We've done with all the other contributors (one, Lew Frederick) that have run for office - and will continue to do so.

    Why? Because I know campaign staffers, and they won't be able to resist flooding the blog with multiple daily posts. Also, because it's important to maintain our sense of neutrality on the Democratic side. If Steve were a regular contributor, we'd have to allow any and all other Democrats to be as well. And then, we'd be completely overwhelmed.

  • TomCat (unverified)

    Frankly I don't know Novick, but as long as he opposes the Bush Reich, I'm all for him.

  • Miles (unverified)

    Steven M. and others, please get over your infatuation with Kitzhaber, DeFazio, etc. They're not running. If they choose to enter the race later, then we can reassess, but we are wasting valuable time trying to convince people to run who don't really want to -- a sure way to fail.

    Novick wants to run. He is probably one of the 10 smartest people in Oregon. He is funny, articulate, and a dedicated progressive. It's an uphill battle for anyone against Smith (yes, even DeFazio!) and this is no different, but Novick has a solid chance.

  • Sid Anderson (unverified)

    When is Elizabeth Furse going to admit she's a Republican?

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    Given Steve's good Oregon Dem party connections, I wonder if we should interpret the timing of his announcement to mean that Earl and/or Peter have told the Oregon Dem "inner circle" that neither will run against Gordo? That would explain a few things to me.

    Good Luck to any Dem who will try to beat Gordo, including Mr. Novick.

  • Harry (unverified)

    Hey, I think that Steve is a good placeholder for now.

    I originally suggested Kari, but he thought I was on meds.

    Steve will do for now...start softening up Smitty until the big guns arrive.

    And if no big guns ever arrive...hey haven't you heard of the underdog? (not likening him to a canine) or long shot? or upset artist?


  • Joe Piucci (unverified)

    Novick's entry into the race is serious, and he has a serious shot. He's in this for Oregon, not himself, and he has the tencity to take on Smith. Let's not let Gordo get any breathing room.

  • joe (unverified)

    His web site is crap! If he doesnt want to be seen as a second rate candidate he needs to do a better job on communication and media!

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    I agree! It would be okay for a low-key GOP candidate running a few years ago.

    But then again, he did just announce today. Hopefully he will hire Mandate Media to put something good together...

    And with that being said, go Novick! He's got my support.

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    Steve has the intelligence, and the experience with how legislative bodies work to bring real creds to the table (he was Democratic Chief of Staff for the State Senate, cleaning up after the mess Gordon Smith left in his wake when he moved to the U.S. Senate).

    Steve can differentiate himself well form SMith, and is not your typical candidate. That is a plus. The GOP will already be facing a stiff headwind, and Steve has the command of the issues and the personality to be both engaging, and to hold Smith to account for his middling (and that's being charitable) record.

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    For those who have seen Steve Novick in action, imagine how great he would be in the US Senate. If you haven't yet seen him speak - make sure you do. Steve's knowledge of the issues, his progressive ideals, and his quick wit will get you excited about his candidacy.

    While I don't deny the appeal of various other democrats who may enter this race, the effort to unseat Gordon Smith with a candidate that will make Oregon proud begins now.

  • Anthony (unverified)

    I've been waiting for an announcement from whomever would be running against Smith for some time now. If Novick wins the primary I will volunteer for him next summer and through the election. I would hope others will do the same. Smith will only be beaten through a strong grassroots effort. As an incumbent, Smith has enormous resources on his side.

  • Angela (unverified)

    How serious is he? I met Steve once, and he was working to draft another unlikely candidate... At Al Gore's inconvenient truth presentation at the rose center in Portland.

    from my blog:

    ...Chants of “Gore ’08! Gore ’08!” came from a little rally. I spoke to the organizer, political activist Steve Novick, who was holding a “Draft Gore” sign. “We’re a very superstitious group,” he said. “In 1960, a vice president was robbed of his election, and in 1968 he was elected. 1968, 2008!”

    Novick’s blog explained his opinion in more detail: “I have four words for Mr. Gore: Not your choice, dude. Gore has no right not to run. And he should know that.”

    Anyways, good for him! I encourage political debate, let's keep it clean.

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    I was at the announcement event working as a volutneer and I have to say, this is a real campaign -- nothing half-assed about it. Randy Leonard introduced Steve, and Erik Sten and Jeff Cogen were also there in support, along with well over a hundred grassroots activists. We raised money right there and then, the announcement speech was constantly punctuated by tumultuous cheers, and the energy was there that we CAN and WILL use to beat Gordon Smith.

  • Harry (unverified)

    But was Earl the Bowtie there?

    I am hearing that Steve is just the placeholder for Earl the Pearl (he doesn't really live there, does he?), and once Earl jumps in, then Steve is the front runner for Earl's seat in Congress.

    That makes more sense...Steve should learn the ropes first before he jumps into the Senate...leave that job to the Earl.


  • John Forbes (unverified)

    I was at a PDX progressive event at the Hilton in early '04 when Steve smugly told Sara Gelser that she was going to lose to Kelley WIrth in Corvallis and should drop out. Sara should have given him the finger, but was nice, kept going, almost won the first time and was there to save the seat when Wirthless totally self destructed (she had only 75% self destructed before, but labor and other groups were too stupid to realize that and wasted boatloads on a useless dingbat.) My point is that Sara showed what an underdog can do, so don't listen to people like yourself, Steve. Hang in there... for now. (Are you going to ask Sara for an endorsement? How bout Kelley??!!)

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    His web site is crap! If he doesnt want to be seen as a second rate candidate he needs to do a better job on communication and media!


    I agree! It would be okay for a low-key GOP candidate running a few years ago. But then again, he did just announce today. Hopefully he will hire Mandate Media to put something good together...

    C'mon guys. Easy there. The website is just fine. The campaign is on Day One. Most all websites are light on content at the beginning. Most of the "content" hasn't happened yet.

    You may not have noticed, but it's got all the requisite elements in place -- online donations, newsletter signup, online volunteering (with the kickass CiviCRM backend), and full blogginess via Drupal. Heck, it's even got a photo gallery - which is a rare plus.

    Is it the most kick-ass and innovative graphic design ever? No. But you know what? Campaigns aren't won on graphic design. They're won on organizing. And NovickForSenate.com is geared up and ready to go.

  • sean cruz (unverified)

    Get into a room with Steve one time, and you'll know he's your man. No need to worry about waiting for someone else to show up. He has brains AND smarts, and my money is on Steve. I'm looking forward to the debates.

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    Is it the most kick-ass and innovative graphic design ever? No. But you know what? Campaigns aren't won on graphic design. They're won on organizing. And NovickForSenate.com is geared up and ready to go.

    Exactly. At least it doesn't have annoying flash animations, loud music, and similar crap in it. Clean and straightforward.

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    Go Steve Go!

    About the democrats for smith...that's the best they could do..Elizabeth Furse? Where on earth has she been for the last decade? Please run that ad against the Democratic party's eventual nominee. I think they're going to have to try a bit harder than that if they hope to pull Democratic voters.

  • LT (unverified)

    With all due respect to Steve--a very bright guy with lots of political experience--such a statewide campaign, esp. against an incumbent is like nothing else. Whatever else happens, my guess is that Steve will finish the year 2008 with a very accurate sense of who his true friends are--the folks who stick by through thick and think because they are Steve's friends first and political activists second.

    Not only does a statewide candidate need to do well in Linn and Benton counties and Marion, Polk, Yamhill, a serious statewide campaign needs to include Jackson and Josephine and Deschutes and Crook, Curry, Lincoln, Lane and Clatsop counties. In other words, all over the state.

    A statewide campaign must win over Steven M., Murphy, Carol B. regardless of whether some Blue Oregonians don't like what they wrote.

    Even if everyone in the Portland Democratic establishment (or statewide, for that matter) thinks Steve is the best candidate, that alone doesn't win votes in the other counties. For the power of a truly insurgent campaign, look back to 1984 when "everyone" supported Mondale but Hart got 59% of the vote. That could happen to Steve if there is a better known candidate.

    How do Steve's speeches go over speaking to Rotary or some other civic group in all corners of the state? Can he attract volunteers in all areas of the state? Does he know the officers or State Central Comm. delegates from rural counties, or folks in those counties who worked on US Senate campaigns other than the Nov. 1996 election? Does he have strong opinions on why Bruggere lost to Smith in 1996? Where does he stand on the various campaign finance reform ideas?

    Is Steve able to stand up in front of a group in whatever town (as Ron Wyden did in Jan. 1996) and answer questions for an hour--even if they are questions about the farm bill or veterans health care or whether he agrees with Sen. Webb or Sen. Obama or Sen. Salazar, or any other Senator on a number of issues? Did he ever meet former Congressman Jim Jontz who represented the Midwest (Indiana, I think) but apparently moved to Oregon after being defeated for re-election? The Jontz obituary was recently published as local news (on the SJ website, as I recall).

    It is great that Steve is running, and that he has so many high powered friends behind him (heard something on the radio about Liz Kauffman and Lisa Grove being volunteers on his campaign).

    But elections aren't won simply by attracting votes from Democrats in the Metro area. Those of us who live downstate have friends who may have voted for Kitzhaber for Gov. but Gordon Smith for US Senate, or to re-elect Bush but also re-elect their Democratic member of Congress, or a mostly Republican ballot but against Measure 36 because they belong to a tolerant church.

    Those of us who have been involved in multiple statewide races know the pitfalls of running a statewide campaign.

    So if we sound "world weary" or "been there, done that, got the teeshirt" because we know Will. Week is a Portland publication and there are people across the state who vote but may never go to the website to read it, and that in many areas of the state there are voters who are skeptical of anyone they don't know, that doesn't mean we are criticizing Steve. Just that we know the reality of fighting for those votes from folks who are not activists and may decide their vote for Senate on who they and their close friends decide makes the most sense.

    And Democrats for Smith may turn out to be very interesting--Furse was a Democrat for Hatfield as I recall. If I remember correctly, one of the other Democrats for Hatfield ran for some major office in the early 1990s and couldn't understand why there wasn't more support for the campaign. The answer was "you were a Democrat for Hatfield in 1990, so why should anyone who supported the Democratic nominee that year support you?".

  • Erik Sorensen (unverified)

    Now I see all of Steve's friends on here defending his honor by saying he is "intelligent", "will do a better job than Smith" and all that--I would like to see some more about why Novick is the "best" choice the Oregon D’s can come up with. There is no doubt that Steve is a smart guy, but most Oregonians, unless you pal around with PDX politicos and/or union folks, don't even know who he is. They need a little more than to go on than the constant “Smith sucks” line. Enlighten us.

    As for disparaging Elizabeth as being "the best they (Demos for Smith) can do". I am sorry Carl, but Elizabeth Furse has a lot of accomplishments and credibility. You may not think so, but you probably don't really know a whole lot about what moves people anyways. And, since Oregon Independent voters will weigh-in heavily on this race, there is no doubt that as the Democrats for Smith get press, Independents and moderate Democrats will be listening. I guess what I am saying to you and others is, just don't be dismissive of them, yet. You might be surprised of the influence they have on the outcome of the race.

    In the end, I see Defazio being the one to have the best chance at unseating Smith. He seems to be able to garner the support of Ds, Rs and Independents.

  • pat malach (unverified)

    Thanks, LT, for once again boiling your thoughts down to a nice, concise, focused 5,000 words or so.

    Seems to me John kerry got a lot of support in 2004 precisely because he was seen as the candidate with the best chance at unseating Bush. And that worked out well for Democrats ... or did it?

    I think Oregon and the good ol' USA would be darn lucky to have Steve Novick in the Senate.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    LT's comments were well founded.

    Only 1/3rd of Oregon is West of the Cascades. Of that area, about 1/3rd is north of Eugene (Eugene is at mile post 110 of I-5, out of 300 or so miles in Oregon). Of that area, roughly half can be considered to be the Willamette Valley strip/I-5 corridor where our major cities are located with the rest being the Coast Range, ocean front areas, and Cascade foothills.

    In other words, Steve Novick ignored about 90% of Oregon with his I-5 city selection with his announcement to run.

    So, LT is very correct that Steve Novick needs to see all of the State to run this campaign. No Statewide Democratic candidate can take for granted that they will get that third of voters from East of the Cascades or that 40% from Southern Oregon that will along with the 70% from the metro areas put them over the top. You can campaign all you like amongst your friends, but you need to convince strangers to vote for you if you are going to win in Oregon.

    So, I am looking forward to seeing Steve Novick in Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon, Coastal Oregon, the I-84/Columbia River area, the Cascade foothills - in short from that last sage brush on the southeastern slope of Willow Creek Butte at the Idaho/Nevada corner of Oregon to the sand spit at the Columbia River bar northwest of Warrenton. That's what it takes to win.

    It was a real oversight to ignore 90% of Oregon with the announcement.

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    It was a real oversight to ignore 90% of Oregon with the announcement.

    Steve was in Astoria and Medford just last week, visiting with supporters and talking to the media. On Friday, he'll be speaking to the AFT convention in Bend. He may not have done a formal announcement everywhere--after all, it's an insurgent campaign that's just getting started--but he will be in coastal, Southern and Eastern parts of the state regularly and often.

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    Thanks for the comments, Kari.

    As I've disclosed already, I'm the one working on Steve's web site.

    The web site is just in its beginning stages. The hard and time consuming work is what you can't see -- what's running behind the scenes. There's a lot more to a web site than what you see.

    You'll see the look of the site evolve over the coming weeks.

    I focused first on the most important pieces -- getting the content basics online, contributions, a way to sign up to volunteer, a database to contain that information, etc. There's more to come, I promise.

    And feel free to send me comments about the web site here: http://novickforsenate.org/contact/Web+site

    I have a pretty thick skin, and comments about improvements, things you don't like, etc. just make me work harder. ; )

  • John R. (unverified)

    Campaigns aren't won on graphic design. They're won on organizing.

    Too bad Novick isn't much of an organizer. Not a major turnout for his kickoff, particularly given all the work put in and the lack of competition.

    The key problem with Novick IS NOT name recognition, it's skill set and persona.

    • He's not warm. And warm counts. At the same time he isn't commanding. Not a great combination.
    • He is an advocate, not a problem solver. He doesn't bring people together. He doesn't have a habit or record of accomplishment as a leader. He is a gadfly and a supporting player.
    • He is NOT INDEPENDENT. He is a relative slave to establishment-consultant-orthodoxy. More witty, yes, but NOT more innovative or more . How the Willamette Week ever got fooled on that score, no one will ever know.
    • And of course he is not an organizer. Not many people have got involved in politics because of him.

    SAVE YOUR MONEY!!! Give to the draft Defazio. Give to the Stop Gordon Smith fund instead, not the "waste-money-on-Novick's-ego-trip" fund.

  • John R. (unverified)

    Only the first line was supposed to be in italics. It was a quote from earlier. Guess I am not good at the html.

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    I don't know Steve Novick from Adam and am not a party insider.

    I don't get all the lecturing about the necessity of appealing to independent-minded Republicans and independents in order to unseat Gordon Smith. You don't have to be the smart guy even his detractors say he is to understand that. Announcing in more than one place is a gimmick. Campaigning is another story. Sounds to me like he's committed to campaigning all over the state.

    So far the opposition here sounds personal.

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    "I was at a PDX progressive event at the Hilton in early '04 when Steve smugly told Sara Gelser that she was going to lose to Kelley WIrth in Corvallis and should drop out."

    Obviously I can't comment on Steve's tone or alleged smugness...but the detail left out here is that of course Gelser DID lose to Wirth. Just to keep the facts straight...

  • John Forbes (unverified)

    Torrid- First of all use you real name. Wirthless won with few indivual donors leachign off of unions locked in her room on meth.

  • Jeanne R (unverified)

    I can't understand all of the in-fighting. Perhaps some of the Progressive Blue Democrats posting on this blog are really Republicans. I know nothing about Novick, except that he has declared to run against Smith. Until we get to know him and any other Democratic candidate, we should be open to their candidacy. Smith has been detrimental to our Nation and our State.
    Do we have a Candidate who will bring the troops home, restore the rights of the Constitution, stand tall against torture and spying on citizens, renew the confidence of the world in the US abillity to work internationally for human rights, and to represent Oregonians with honesty for the benefit of all Oregonians?
    Secondly, Sara Gelser is presently the Democratic Representative for Corvallis, and we are very proud of the great job she is doing.

  • Adrian R (unverified)

    Personally, I don't have anything against Novick. However, I don't think he's the best candidate. Since it's possible whoever runs won't have huge name recognition, it's important to run a populist candidate who can draw in the tri-county area AND greater Oregon. Someone who's a veteran would have a much better platform to challenge Smith on the war issues and would also be harder to Smith to attack. I'm sure Novick would be a great Senator, if he can't win then it's all wishful thinking.

  • (Show?)

    Perhaps some of the Progressive Blue Democrats posting on this blog are really Republicans.

    Jeanne, your skepticism is warranted. We've clearly got some rightie sockpuppets pretendin to be Ds. They're usually marked by concern-troll behavior -- "Gosh, I'm just so concerned about so-and-so's position on such-and-such... is it really strong enough to win?"

  • LT (unverified)

    As someone with background in federal campaigns (Congress, US Senate, President)working with Democratic candidates, I want to thank Steve for his comments.

    Also, it might be in Steve's best interest to read Harry Lonsdale's book (I think the title is RUNNING) and perhaps talk to Harry Lonsdale about his experiences in 1990 running an "impossible" race against Hatfield. To paraphrase the great Lloyd Bentsen, Gordon is no Mark Hatfield.

    Then take a serious look at the rural vote in Nov. 1996. Outside Multnomah, Smith carried Clackamas and Washington counties, but what about the other 33? What was the 3rd party vote in those counties, and did it reflect the statewide result that the Smith/ Bruggere margin was smaller than the number of voters who chose neither? "The fastest growing party is no party at all" is even more true now than then. It might be a good idea to look for Brent Thompson when Steve goes to Ashland. Former city council member Thompson was the top vote getter among 3rd party 1996 US Senate candidates because he made sense to the people who voted for him.

    Money can buy many things: ads, transportation, printing and mailing, salaries, etc. What it cannot buy is word of mouth ("have you heard about...?") or the invitation to attend a local civic event in a community smaller than Portland or Eugene or Bend. Sometimes even major campaigns benefit from the supporter with the large living room having 30-60 local folks come to someone's home to listen to a candidate. That generates conversation in a community, and the same folks may tune out all political ads.

    Seems to me it was much remarked at the turn of the century that Hillary Clinton paid a lot of attention to upstate New York, starting with quiet local meetings to hear what mattered to the local folks. If it worked for her, it could work for Steve. Of course, he'd be wise to remember what someone once said about Wyden's 36 town hall meetings a year in the 36 counties. Someone in one of the rural counties said "Ron doesn't have to come here wearing a big belt buckle and cowboy boots. He respects us and listens to what we have to say, and then answers questions. That impresses many people."

  • Sean Rains (unverified)

    Having grown up in one of those rural counties (a city called Stayton in Marion County), I have to say LT's comment is dead on. Novick has a good chance of finding support in those communities so long as he can convince them they're important, and reading some of what he's written, he's convinced me they're important, and I think he can convince others. Even more, by not trying to run as a moderate, he can point out that he respects Oregonians' intelligence (rural and otherwise) and ability to see through bullshit. That's important there. Any democratic candidate that wants rural support here, in my humble opinion, really needs, beyond any broader messaging strategy, to focus less on trying to convince those voters that they're not THAT progressive, so they're ALMOST on their side, and to focus more on stirring up the pot in these places. Encourage what supporters you have to be as vocal as possible, and draw on that anti-establishment sentiment so close to Oregon's populist heart (because yes, where I come from farming, churches, traditional values, and Mom and freaking apple pie are the damned establishment). Steve's style and positions seem like they might be just the stirring mechanism to do that, so I think he's not only a good candidate, but may be the best possible candidate.

  • Sean Rains (unverified)

    I should point out that I'm aware Steve has not expressed strong opposition to farming, churches, traditional values, nor either Mom or apple pie. That was obviously a symbolic note more than anything, if a somewhat immature one. But he would, it seems, force supporters of Smith, who are the majority the area, to check their priorities. Smith has the support of those first three groups (Mom support probably varies, and apple pies can't vote, so they don't count), but on tangible things like health care, which rural Oregonians need desperately, and the poor/rich gap, Smith's credibility isn't so great. Its that conversation that I think Steve's running has the potential to force people to engage in, and that is what is to his credit.

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