OR-Sen: Top Oregon Dem to enter race

Dk
Come join the fun - the discussion on this has just started, it's 8:45am...

Here's the full story at DailyKos.

Leaving comments on as I imagine this discussion may spur points on our site.

Comments

  • LiberalIncarnate (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think that the more candidates in this primary race for the US Senate, the better. Whoever comes out on top will be that much stronger and well known.

    Good luck to both of them.

  • (Show?)

    This is going to be a very hard decision for me. My head says "Merkley". My heart says "Novick". Every time I listen to Steve, he seems to fill up the room with his brilliance. Jeff, on the other hand, projects a sort of humble gravitas: not entertaining, but comforting to people who think our political system shouldn't resemble the Gong show.

    I just wish all Oregon voters would actually come out and listen to these two men. Either one would make a great Senator.

  • spicey (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This comment seemed useful to re-post from KOS. God, I love that site...

    • [new] Keep the primary POSITIVE (1+ / 0-) Recommended by: Vico A primary can weaken, or strengthen, our eventual candidate. Let's make this a positive primary.

    A positive campaign will give both candidates good exposure and good press. All negatives go against the Bush-Smith team. For an example, look at the Montana senate primary in 2006. Both candidates fought clean, spoke well of the other, and went after Burns. Tester started the fall campaign in great shape.

    A negative campaign, however, will undermine the eventual winner. Anyone recall the 2006 Dem primary for California governor? The winner was left crippled for the fall.

    Beating Smith is critical. Let's make sure the candidate we nominate comes into the fall election in top form.

    by hilltopper on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 09:35:16 AM PDT

  • (Show?)

    Another good one:

    Oregon to DSCC- let us pick our own challenger (1+ / 0-) If DSCC wants to give equal money to Novick and Merkley to help get a louder and more visible Dem message out in the primary- fine, but as an Oregon voter, I do not want them trying to give one candidate a leg up. http://www.actblue.com/page/tnforedwards by Stumptown Dave on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 09:36:31 AM PDT
  • Portland Dem (unverified)
    (Show?)

    From The Hill article

    Merkley, who is credited with engineering the Democrats’ takeover of the state House in 2006, recently drew the attention of national Democrats after several others passed on the race.

  • James X. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    An interesting question from over there, is Novick an atheist?

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: James X. | Jul 27, 2007 12:15:42 PM An interesting question from over there, is Novick an atheist?

    Why is that interesting?

  • John Dempster (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Lest -- It goes to the question to the electiblity Mr. Novick. While Oregon does have many steady church goers most Oregonians do believe in God, especially swing voters that are needed to beat Senator Smith.

  • (Show?)

    I have not yet checked out the "over there", presumably KOZ, but the idea of an atheist is not unappealing. If a candidate speaks to the needs of the community he/she serves, upholds the law, listens to constituents and fights for fairness and transperency, has good judgement and clear thinking, that candidate can go all the way to the top, just like President Bush --- oh, wait, Bush claims to be a man of faith yet does none of those things I mentioned. Anyway, a person's faith is no more important than their gender, heritage or sexual orientation. The important thing is, can that person do the job with intelligence, decency, honor and competency?

  • James X. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Lestadelc: Because the only openly atheistic member of Congress is Rep. Pete Stark of California, who only recently revealed his theological position after being asked of it by a group that had to actually offer $1000 to anyone who could find a high-ranking non-theist politician. Atheism is still a taboo in American politics. To have an atheistic Senator would be a milestone that could get him and this race nationwide attention.

    Then again, maybe he's not an atheist. This is all just from some blog commenter's interpretation of some unidentified statement Novick made.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: John Dempster | Jul 27, 2007 12:31:10 PM

    I am well aware of that fucked up dynamic. The reason I ask why this is being raised is who precisely is demanding to know what ANY Candidates religious affiliation is given this:

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

    So I ask again, who precisely needs to know this fucked question which should never be asked to begin with?

    And yes, I know very well how screwed up our nation and state is when it comes to religious bigotry bias which undergirds and is reenforced by accepting the notion that someone's religiosity is related to the electability.

    I guess my disgust with why it is at all relevant simply underscores how full of shit our system and our nations principles are.

  • Outsider (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Hunt - great speaker material. Hires good staff, listens and sticks to his guns. Follows his own moral compass, like it or not. Great potential for being a great leader in Oregon for a long time.

    Majority Leader - Rosenbaum, probably not a fun kind of "night on the town type" has little humor (ok none that I have ever seen) - BUT - she works hard, is pretty smart, works hard, is willing to listen, works hard, get the it takes 31 votes, thing and sometimes a supermajority, works hard. Did I say hard worker?

    Roblan - Hard hard worker and his staff is one of his best assets. That says volumes about his abilities. People like him and he is well respected. He is from rural Oregon so maybe he can show us the way to change the way some of these people think or at least understand what they are thinking.

    Lets just win again and keep the majority. Who does that best? All are equally qualified for different reasons.

    Republican Leader????? This cokes for you - is my bet. Bruce Hanna is the next guy just wait and see. All that ambition stuck in Douglas county with no where to go...how many bottles of coke will it take is the only question.

    What seems even more interesting is the Dean Debacle and his inept ability to manage the DNC. Herding the big cats is no easier than the small ones at home. Pickets in Denver, Hillary, Obama and Edwards all looking for a different piece of your behind...good luck with this.

  • James X. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I don't care about a candidate's theological beliefs as far as my own voting goes, but it clearly matters to the general voting public, see the Christianity of all 42* presidents as Exhibit A. It's sociologically interesting to me that America might finally elect to statewide office a person professing no belief in the supernatural.

    *42 presidents, 43 administrations, hence W is "43."

  • BlueNote (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "What seems even more interesting is the Dean Debacle and his inept ability to manage the DNC."

    Huh? Dean has done a great job in an almost impossible position. Unlike the Repubican zombies that will march in lock-step and loyally vote for whoever "Reverend Bob" tells them to vote for, the DNC and local Dem parties embrace dozens (hundreds?) of quasi-independent groups, each with their own priorities. Ever try to get the GLBT community in sync with the Longshoremen? How about trying to get the Greens and the Ironworkers to agree on something? Teachers and Auto Workers? Boeing Aircraft Unions and Anti-NAFTA protestors? I could go on and on and on. All of those groups fall more or less within the Dem party and Dem umbrella but in many cases have virtually nothing else in common.

    Dean has presided over an unprecedented increase in the success of Dem fund raising and the number of state and federal political victories. He will never bring every faction into total harmony. But neither could anybody else.

  • (Show?)

    I welcome Jeff to the race. We should have a spirited primary, which can only make our eventual candidate that much better. I know I can count on both Jeff and Steve to keep things positive.

    Off topic: As a DNC member, I believe that the DNC is much better managed under Howard Dean, that he has his priorities in order, and that building a national party is more important than throwing money at media consultants and broadcasters in target races. As a state party officer, I'd much rather work with today's DNC. The difference is stark.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
    (Show?)

    So much what Jenny Greenleaf said! The coast is beautiful, BTW.

  • (Show?)

    While Oregon does have many steady church goers most Oregonians do believe in God, especially swing voters that are needed to beat Senator Smith.

    Don't be silly. Oregon is #50 in church-going. We're the least religious and least military state in the country.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
    (Show?)

    see the Christianity of all 42* presidents as Exhibit A.

    I don't believe that it true. Thomas Jefferson wasn't. Moreover, Oregon is the least "churched" state in the country. I suspect you would find a number of people elected to office in Oregon who are not religious at all. I doubt you would find many that make a point of letting people know that. But don't atheists go a step further, denying both the existence of god and legitimacy of any other spiritual beliefs?

  • (Show?)

    I've served on the DNC pre-Dean and during-Dean, I want to second Jenny's comments. Gov. Dean has done a fine job, and the Democrats (and the country) are better for it.

  • (Show?)

    As for religiosity, Oregon is the third-most secular state in the nation, right behind Washington and Vermont and tied with Colorade. See this reputable and reviewed study for more comparisons.

    Speaker Jeff Merkley does appear to be a religious man, though I concur that no candidate should have to pass a religious test, formal or otherwise, to merit election to office. See the "In God We Trust" episode of The West Wing for more exploration on this subject.

    On a more political note, I do know that the Speaker and his caucus have reached out to the 'community of faith' by bringing them into the coalition supporting SB 2 and HB 2007. Merkley often has town halls at local churches as well.

  • James X. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Ok, I think I've totally lost interest in the topic of Novick's theological beliefs already, but to Ross, I think Jefferson's theology isn't easily categorized, though he himself stated, "I am a real Christian." Whether he was a Christian by standards other than his own is completely debatable, but it's at least fair to say he was a deist whose beliefs derived from the Bible and Christianity, though he was critical of both.

    And we've wandered a bit far from the topic.

  • Pantheists for Truth (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Oregon is #50 in church-going.

    I think it would be good for the voting public if you could document that. It's certainly not true where I live and the PDX metro area where I used to live doesn't seem to exhibit that either.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
    (Show?)

    So we're 50th in church attendance, but what does that mean? I remember reading in Newsweek in the early 90's that 18% of Oregonians don't believe in God. OK, but that means that 82% do, and many of them are going to have strong beliefs. I can still remember Catholic voters cursing Tom Bruggere in '96 because he had left the church and bragged about it. In swing counties like Clackamas, Coos, Wasco, Deschutes, and Jackson, voters of faith are an important block. Not everyone lives on Hawthorne in PDX. Even in liberal Benton county, where I used to live, there are something like 60 churches.

  • (Show?)

    The poll I found said that 1.2% are agnostic and that 17% are non-religious. Christianity was about 75-79%.

    35-40% of Oregonians attend church at least monthly. Apparently Benton County has the lowest church attendance rates in the country -- 25%.

    And no, I'm not a church hating liberal. I'm actually a Southern Baptist.

    Sad as it may be, religion does play a part in politics. I've had relatives tell me they won't vote for Obama (they call him a Muslim) nor will they vote for Romney because he's a Mormon. It's funny that the same people who say that vote for Gordon Smith.

    Disclaimer: I do the web site for the Novick for U.S. Senate campaign, but I don't speak for the campaign.

  • Rose Wilde (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Can Novick be compared to Kucinich?

    Personally, religion aside, Merkley has held state office and led the legislature through a very successful year. So, that speaks volumes about competence.

    Novick's qualifications?

  • (Show?)

    Novick's qualifications?

    Extraordinary drive, leading the Justice Department through successful litigation against corporate polluters, a refusal to brook adversity, putting Bill Sizemore in his place, helping defeat the calamity-in-waiting known as TABOR, state Senate Chief of Staff, policy director for a two-time sitting governor, policy director for Senate candidate in 2002...

    that's a good start. Jeff is qualified to run for Senate, no doubt. So is Steve.

  • Pdxskip (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I still have this on going ache in my stomach that unless we find a stronger candidate than either of these two, we are blissfully handing over another 6 year term to Gordo. They are both too weak to beat a well financed sqeeky clean incumbant.

    We have the lineup of seasoned political veterans than can win....Ted, Kitz, Earl, Defazio....but they all ran away from the opportunity. It makes you wonder how much cash is in Gordo's campaign chest. It seems to have scared away the real contenders for this senate seat....leaving us with just quality, well liked pretenders.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
    (Show?)

    My guess is that Kitzhaber and SMith didn't ahve the highest name ID when they began their respective statewide camapigns. However, they held important posiitons in the legislature and had proven leadership skills. Jeff, too, has the title, experience, as well as fundraising connections. Now it is a matter of putting it all together. I think he is a strong canididate. I still wouldn't write Steve off. Using the Wellstone comparison often used for Steve's campaign, I beleive that Wellstone defeated one of two legislators in his 1990 primary win.

  • Desert Donkey (unverified)
    (Show?)

    If you want more, this has been picked up at Pharyngula.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/07/the_abomb.php#comments

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Jeff Golding has also announced. I was at DPO's SCC post-meeting party where he announced. I was interviewed by Jeff during the '06 Dem 02 CD Primary and found him quite intelligent and personable then, and further acquaintance at the party reinforced that impression and demonstrated a quiet passion for ordinary Oregonian's welfare.

    We've got some real good people lining up, remember that when they ask for monetary and volunteer help.

  • (Show?)

    Ditto lestatdelc's comment here.

    I am most definitely a theist, but politically I am every bit as much of a secularist. Novick's religious beliefs or lack thereof are irrelevant and I too find it offensive to even question them. His beliefs are no more relevant than whether or not he owns a dog. His ideas and positions rise or fall on their own merits... period.

  • (Show?)

    Kevin:

    I agree -- it's not relevant. However, you know the question is going to come up throughout the campaign. It never fails that it does. As a huge supporter of the separation of church and state, it bugs me that it does. But sure enough, the questions of what religion do you belong to, what church do you go to, etc. always come up.

    That aside, there's a lot more to holding a federal/statewide office than just having been an elected official before. A lot of what you need to know and do can be learned through working various positions behind the scenes in government/politics. It can also be learned through certain positions in the business world.

    Both Novick and Merkley are both more than qualified to run for this position. What then matters are things like the positions they take, the actions they would take during the campaign as well as in the U.S. Senate, how they would work to defeat Gordon Smith, etc.

    There are plenty of elected officials out there who have been in office for years and aren't even qualified to be in the position they have. Bush is an example -- he was a terrible governor. But he did indeed win the governor's seat and re-election to that position. Did being a governor qualify him to run for other office? No. Heck, it didn't even qualify him to be governor. The man was awful and ruined the state. They still haven't been able to recover.

    And there are a number of people out there in the business, non-profit, and behind the scenes government or political world who would make great elected officials. People who are more than qualified, in fact.

    Disclaimer: I work on the web site for Novick for U.S. Senate, but I do not speak for the campaign.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
    (Show?)

    From Businessweek:

    "The strongest link between churchgoing and voting behavior is in the least religious states, such as Oregon and Alaska, where 35% to 40% of the population attends church at least monthly. In these places, churchgoers are numerous enough to be worth attention but not too plentiful to preclude targeted messages."

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I still have this on going ache in my stomach that unless we find a stronger candidate than either of these two, we are blissfully handing over another 6 year term to Gordo. They are both too weak to beat a well financed sqeeky clean incumbant.

    Nonsense. I don't know that much about Jeff Merkley, but Steve Novick is a superb candidate, except for one problem. Too many people in Oregon don't recognize or are not yet aware of his qualities that would make him a first class senator for Oregon. He wasn't born with the proverbial silver spoon that was stuck in Smith's mouth, but he has risen above Smith in character and moral integrity.

    Smith is a "sqeeky (sic) clean incumbant (sic)"? This wretched person abandoned his Constitutional responsibilities to surrender the decision for going to war on Iraq to his leader who obviously wanted that war even though it was unnecessary and illegal which made it a war crime. That war has cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives and created millions of refugees living miserable lives. (The Iraqis are people, too. They bleed and die and feel pain just like red-blooded Americans.)

    To get the votes of Oregon farmers Smith was complicit in a plan that sacrificed fish stocks in the Klamath area for years to come and along with that the livelihood of fishermen in California, most of whom were living from one catch to another.

    Smith refused to support a ban on land mines in 2001 even though these barbarous weapons continue to kill and maim innocent men, women and children long after hostilities end. In 2001 somewhere in the world someone was killed or maimed by a land mine every 20 minutes. Chances are little has improved to date. I asked Smith by fax a few weeks ago if he held a similar position on cluster bombs that are comparable in barbarity to land mines. He hasn't responded so far so it is reasonable to presume that he is in favor of these evil weapons that have been used to litter Iraq and southern Lebanon and continue to kill and maim people, mostly children. In other words, they are not in Smith's class and don't contribute to his campaigns so Smith doesn't give a damn about them.

    How many land mines does it take to make a farmer's field unusable? The answer is none. Just the fear of a land mine in his field will do the trick. On the other hand some are driven by the need to survive that they will risk their lives to raise their crops.

    That's squeaky and clean?

  • (Show?)

    Jenni,

    I agree that in real politik terms it is part of the reigning paradigm. However it only remains a viable meme as long as the majority continue to buy into it as a relevant issue. It makes precious little sense to me for progressives to do the conservatives work for them by continuing to prop religious affiliation up as somehow relevant to whether a given candidate is fit for office.

    It seems to me that progressive continue to struggle to learn the lessons of framing which conservatives have used so successfully for many years now.

  • (Show?)

    Kevin:

    Quite true. Which is why I don't ask politicians, or anyone else for that matter, about their religious beliefs.

    Disclaimer: I work on the web site for Novick for U.S. Senate, but I do not speak for the campaign.

  • (Show?)

    I am a believing Christian, but I ask only that my candidate be well aligned with my personal values, not my religious convictions.

    I am very comfortable with the prospect of being represented by Steve Novick.

  • James X. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Wow, I spent a long time writing a very thoughtful post. Did it really just disappear like that?

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I ask only that my candidate be well aligned with my personal values, not my religious convictions.

    Stephanie, this is so well put... Values are what people of different religious beliefs, different cultures even different political parties can often have in common. We all value justice. Justice for All. The first abstract value i can remember championing is justice (in the form of a tantrum shouting, "That's not fair!").

    Steve Novick exemplifies this value, justice. As a litigator for the Department of Justice working on clean air, clean water and Superfund cases he beat the polluters in the famous Love Canal case.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Constitutional arguments aside, the reality is that religion is often a part of the political calculation. However, Oregon has a long tradition of religious libertarianism. We are also the least churched state in the country. Religion has never played a significant role in statewide elections in recent decades, although it is certainly a huge factor in the Repub primaries. Ron Wyden's Jewish affiliation had zero impact in his elections that I am aware of. That said, having the label "atheist" is not a help. It might also be said that having the label "Mormon" is likewise not a help, on either side of the political divide. So it is doubtful that religion would play much of a role in the next senatorial campaign.

  • Oregonrain (unverified)
    (Show?)

    In reading all this I am reminded what Will Rodgers said, "I do not belong to an organized political party...I am a democrat."

    Here we have two candidates and all of a sudden we are bickering about religion. Amen to that brothers and sisters! Maybe Gordon's operatives come on here to keep this going..who knows.

    What we need to do.. I think...is to encourage both of these people to spend their time pointing out all the millions of reasons Gordon Smith should not return to DC. Bill Bodden's list above is just a small sample. Then we as the D's should vote for the one who can makes the best case against him.

    This will have to be a race about why Gordon Smith should NOT be returned to the US Senate (read negative campaign). The negativity needs to be focused on issues but hold on to your hats as the R's are going to go all out to protect Smith.

    It is NOT about how wonderful these guy are. It is just a fact that "Gordooon" has danced around enough on issues that he is for everything and nothing all at the same time. It is hard to hit a moving target like this guy politically.

    The Oregonian and other "main stream" media outlets will help Gordon as much as possible. We will have to raise a lot of money on the internet and work hard if needed door to door in some areas.

    This is the number one thing we can do as Oregonians to put it to Bush and his clan other than elect a D as President. We should sure as heck should carry this state for the D for President or we are more messed up than I think we are.

    Lets get focused here. How are you going to beat Smith and send his ass home.

    Oregonrain

  • (Show?)

    Then we as the D's should vote for the one who can makes the best case against him.

    The D's aren't the ones you need to convince in order to unseat Smith. You can count on the overwhelming majority of D's to vote for whomever the D's candidate is. Focus on the persuadable non-D's and you'll have a winning strategy for unseating Smith.

  • (Show?)

    Chuck Butcher wrote, Jeff Golding has also announced. I was at DPO's SCC post-meeting party where he announced.

    First, it's Jeff Golden. Second, you must have misunderstood - because Jeff hasn't yet announced that he's running for US Senate.

  • (Show?)

    Wow, I spent a long time writing a very thoughtful post. Did it really just disappear like that?

    James, I've checked the database -- and there's nothing there. Not sure what happened there; never happened before.

  • Garlynn -- undergroundscience.blogspot.com (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I wonder if it would matter if Novick was agnostic, rather than atheist?

    Atheist: The belief that it is impossible for there to be a god. (Sometimes, Buddhists are defined as Atheists because of their lack of belief in a personal God.)

    Agnostic: The belief that it is impossible to know if there is a God or not, so why bother? (Note that sometimes, people can be agnostic but also still be religious.)

    (My own paraphrasing.)

    And finally, I agree with lestatdelc -- this question should not be asked of any candidate. Ask them after they're elected, sure. If they offer it up as a part of a conversation, well, then you know. But, don't ask them about it directly before the election, that's just not right.

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
    (Show?)

    As bright and talented as they are, neither Steve Novick nor Jeff Merkley have a Mormon prayer's chance of beating Gordon Smith. It's all about risk vs. reward.

    All four of Oregon's House Democrats chose not to take on Gordo. The current and former governors have decided likewise. SOS Bradbury? "Been there, done that, thank you."

    Novick and Merkley are 2nd or 3rd tier candidates for this Senate seat. Neither would be in this race if any of the aforementioned Democrats actually thought they could beat Smith. Instead, they weighed the potential reward of winning against the risk of losing their House seat. Novick and Merkley have relatively little to lose (low risk) and much to gain (U.S. Senate seat). But that's not what it takes to unseat an incumbent Senator.

    As for Smith's Mormonism, that only helps him in Oregon, where Mormons are second only to Catholics in numbers. That helps explain why Mitt Romney has raised as much money in Oregon so far ($325K) as have Hillary ($126K) and Edwards ($208K) combined.

    • Wes
  • Harry (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Good point, Wes.

    I can see why somebody would not want to give up their Congress seat, but why would Kulo take a flyer?

    If he wins, he adds US Senator to his already padded resume. If he loses, he still has 2 more yrs as Governor, and can take it easy.

    It seems to be a no risk move for the Kulo, eh?

    What am I missing here? I must be missing something?

    Maybe it is the integrity thingy, where he actually wants to do what he said he was going to do (ie this (governor's race) will be my last election as a candidate)?

  • (Show?)

    What am I missing here? I must be missing something?

    You're missing the fact that the Governor just had back surgery and though he may be able to recover enough to perform the duties of Governor, he may not be able to jump right back on the campaign trail for another year-and-a-half.

    Kulongoski has much more work to do in the 2009 session. He started that work on June 29, 2007--the day after the 2007 session adjourned.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Novick and Merkley are 2nd or 3rd tier candidates for this Senate seat.

    While true, this doesn't fill me with the same absolutist pessimism as it seems to Wes. In as much as the so-called first tier candidates are either silent or ineffectual on the 2 issues that matter to me most (impeaching Bush and ending the Iraq occupation), i'm glad they're all staying out of the race. I doubt i'd vote for them anyway.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Novick and Merkley are 2nd or 3rd tier candidates for this Senate seat.

    If Novick is a 2nd or 3rd tier candidate then that doesn't say much for the voters of Oregon. Smith's negatives are abysmal. Novick's positives should define him as the superior person. If he is not the winner in the election, then the election will be another in a long history of farces.

  • Oregonrain (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Sometime in this state 2nd and 3rd tier people win.

    Well 2nd or 3rd tier. That was what people said when Ron Wyden ran against Bob Duncan and what people said when a barkeep named Bud Clark ran for mayor and a 2nd tier guy ran against Ullman. I could go on.

    I view the fact that Earl, Peter and the others are not running as nothing short of a dereliction of duty. (also spelled being pussies as one fake news caster would say).

    To me it just shows how sad the "leadership" of our party has become that not a one of them is willing to leave a "safe seat" and run a campaign based on what they believe in.

    Each one of the above especially, have not been out of public office for as far as the eye can see. While to some degree you can say they are "dedicated public servants" I see people who have grown comfortable with power and their position and do not want to take any risks. For if they were really the "public servants" they profess to be one would run against Gordooon.

    Again, I had never seen the issue of what Novick believes or does not believe about God until I read it here. Hello. Maybe we can get off that now. Who cares? That is the case the R's are certain to make if Novick is the nominee.

    To the person that says that we have to persuade people other than D's I agree. But, what I said was that we need to see which of these two people can make the best case about why Gordon should not go back to Washington. then vote for that one. That is because the person who can make the best case against Gordon will be the person who has the best chance to win and reach people.

    This election will be about change. It is an election where "outsiders" have a chance. It is an example of an election time when 2nd and 3rd tier candidates can WIN.

    Oregonrain

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
    (Show?)

    By "2nd or 3rd tier" I certainly was not criticizing Novick's or Merkley's talent, skill or character. But to call Steve Novick, who has never been elected to anything, a "1st Tier Democratic Candidate" is the real farce and is not objectively credible.

    Dem's "1st Tier" would include all four House members (in this order): Blumenauer, DeFazio, Hooley and Wu. Kulo and Kitz would round out that group, as would Bill Bradbury. All of these men and women have proven something Novick has not: they have won local, regional and/or statewide races in this state.

    Merkley, of course, is the first-time Oregon House Speaker and has owned House 47 for more than a decade. That doesn't necessarily translate into a statewide win against a well-funded incumbent U.S. Senator.

    Let's be realistic here, folks. The only reason Novick, Merkley and ???? are even in this game is because the most experienced, electable and well-funded Democratic candidates in this state unanimously chose to remain on the bench instead of taking on Gordon Smith, whose Senate seat is supposedly free for the taking by any Democrat willing to run. The 1st Tier know better, and chose to let the minor leaguers make their Major league debuts.

    • Wes
  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I just checked a couple of biographies of Wayne Morse that indicate he was not elected to political office before becoming senator. His biography and Steve Novick's have some points in common.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Let's be realistic here, folks. The only reason Novick, Merkley and ???? are even in this game is because the most experienced, electable and well-funded Democratic candidates in this state unanimously chose to remain on the bench

    Wes, you seem to be elevating "first tier" status to some sort of absolute must-have quality. It would be foolish to discount the fact that the name recognition of a US congressman or state-wide elected official is generally beneficial, but it is equally as foolish to describe other challengers as "farces" with no chance to win. Indeed, history proves you wrong whereas Novick and Merkley supporters have many reasons for hope.

  • verasoie (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Wes, how can you ignore the fact, oft-state here, that Merkley is starting from the same position (okay, actually it's legislative counterpart but equivalent) as both Smith and Kitzhaber before him, i.e. Speaker of the House?

  • (Show?)

    Not everyone lives on Hawthorne in PDX.

    Hey...we've a church in the 'hood right on the corner of 20th & Hawthorne!

    As for Smith's Mormonism, I have a Baptist ex Father-in-Law who thinks Mormons are evil, unGodly, and the work of the devil. Then again, he didn't think too much of Unitarians either! I don't recall him commenting on Shiites...but I have my guesses.

    I don't think Steve Novick's religious leanings one way or another are going to mean squat. As they shouldn't. It was Jefferson who refused to sponsor a day of prayer and insisted on the separation of Church and State. That's a very American and honorable position to take.

  • (Show?)

    I don't think Steve Novick's religious leanings one way or another are going to mean squat.

    Bingo. We have a winner.

    I haven't got the foggiest clue how this thread got hijacked by this irrelevant conversation.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I haven't got the foggiest clue how this thread got hijacked by this irrelevant conversation.

    Religion, like scandal, will get people pontificating in the proverbial heartbeat.

    Back to electibility. Harry Lonsdale, a businessman and physicist who held no prior political office, came close to beating Mark Hatfield for the Senate. I understand he didn't get much help from the ODP.

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Wes, how can you ignore the fact, oft-state here, that Merkley is starting from the same position (okay, actually it's legislative counterpart but equivalent) as both Smith and Kitzhaber before him, i.e. Speaker of the House?

    Granted, both John Kitzhaber and Gordon Smith vaulted from Oregon Senate President into winning a statewide election. But the similarities to Speaker Merkley end there.

    In their elections, neither Kitz nor Gordo faced off against an incumbent opponent. Kitzhaber beat Denny Smith in 1994 and later thrashed Bill Sizemore in 1998. In 1996, Gordon Smith beat Tom Bruggere, whose policy director, ironically, was Steve Novick.

    Smith's incumbancy has iced Oregon Dem's 1st Tier candidates. If Smith's seat were vacant and open, it would be an entirely different matter. And of course, no one would be talking about Steve Novick or Jeff Merkley because they wouldn't be in the game.

    • Wes
  • Neal Patel (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Granted, both John Kitzhaber and Gordon Smith vaulted from Oregon Senate President into winning a statewide election. But the similarities to Speaker Merkley end there.

    We also have to realize that Gordon Smith is not personally vulnerable

    Smith is not an extremist ideologue ala Rick Santorum(PA)- Had Smith been another Santorum. Kitzhaber,DeFazio,or Bluemenaur would be running.

    Smith is not in a situation Burns(MT)- Scandal plagued or Controversial.

    Smith's problem is he is running in a Presidential election cycle which tends to be favorable to Democrats in OR and 2008 will be anti GOP wave due to Bush's unpopularity. DeWine(OH),and Chafee(RI)

    looking at the 2008 US Senate Races.

    The easy pick ups in Neutral Environments are 1)CO(OPEN) 2)VA(OPEN) 3)NM(OPEN) 4)MN(Coleman)- Freshman GOP incumbent narrowly won in Blue State 5)NH(Sununu)- Freshman GOP incumbent narrowly won in Blue State

    Democratic Waves 1)KY(McConnell) 2)ME(Collins) 3)NC(Dole) 4)OR(Smith)

    Non Freshman,Red State. Republican incumbents who are just unpopular might loose due to a Macaca Moment. 1)OK(Inhofe) 2)TX(Cornyn)

  • Oregonrain (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Whoever "Wes" is (and I am sure he is a very important party leader) he does not do himself, this state or this country any good by saying that these fine people who have the guts to run against or to potentially run against Gordoon are 2nd and 3rd tier candidates.

    In my way of thinking we should pin a metal on those that rise to this challenge. You can be sure that many of our "leaders" will not be seen helping whoever chooses to run against Gordoon until it looks like its "safe".

    They will think about some project that they will need Gordoon to support or they will think about how the Oregonian will view them if they back some "2nd or 3rd tier candidate" against this great US Senator.

    No our "leaders" will likely cower in the background (as Earl and Peter have done) until it looks like it is likely that Gordoon will lose. Then they will come out from their hiding places put their arms around Steve or Jeff and pretend to have always been there for them.

    So my view is that while Steve or Jeff may be "2nd or 3rd tier candidates" and Earl and Peter I assume "1st tier candidates" the former are 1st tier leaders and the former are who they are.

    Oregonrain

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
    (Show?)

    No our "leaders" will likely cower in the background (as Earl and Peter have done) until it looks like it is likely that Gordoon will lose. Then they will come out from their hiding places put their arms around Steve or Jeff and pretend to have always been there for them.

    You'll get no argument from me on that point. I never criticized Novick or Merkley for having the courage to take on an incument U.S. Senator when every top Democrat in this state feared to do likewise.

    But you're killing the messenger here by faulting my honest assessment of Steve Novick and Jeff Merkley as "2nd or 3rd tier" candidates for the office of U.S. Senator. That's not their fault; they just haven't risen to the top tier by winning a statewide or congressional race.

    And no, I'm not an important party leader. I'm just a long-time observer of Oregon politics who calls 'em as I see 'em. And I see Oregonians sending Gordon Smith back to the senate while simultaneously voting overwhelming for the Democratic presidential candidate.

    • Wes
  • (Show?)

    I don't think you can argue that Merkley and Novick are 2nd tier at best (or that Jeff is 2nd and Steve is 3rd).

    That doesn't necessarily translate into a victory for Smith in this case, however. And I and others have argued that the more traditional politician-esque candidates aren't likely to do as well against a professional slimebag...er, Senator whose main strength is his politician's pedigree.

    Both in generic and named head to heads, Smith does very poorly at this stage. Hovering at 50% against either Jeff or Steve 18 months out, with sub-50 job approval ratings, are the key signs of incumbent vulnerability.

  • spicey (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Posted by: James X. | Jul 29, 2007 3:18:50 AM

    Wow, I spent a long time writing a very thoughtful post. Did it really just disappear like that?

    Hi James, the person who started this thread can delete, erase, edit posts. He accidentally deleted yours. Apologies.

  • Neal K. Patel (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Gordon Smith belongs to the same category like other blue state Republican Senators with a moderate to conservative ideology.

    1)Mike DeWine(OH) 2006 2)Slade Gorton(WA)2000 3)Robert Kasten(WI)1992 4)Rudy Boschwitz(MN)1990

    All of those incumbents lost their seats DeWine- lost to an opponent that is a Senior member of the US House of Representatives and a former Statewide elected office.

    Gorton- lost to an opponent that is a former one term US House member that lost during the 1994 revolution. Become CEO of a tech industry.

    Kasten- lost to a obscure progressive state legislator who is now a respected member of the US Senate.

    Boschwitz- lost to a college professor who is now a progressive icon.

  • Oregonrain (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I will ease off a bit.

    I agree with Wes that we have to be realistic about the challenge ahead. I personally think that Steve Novick will have a hard time winning. I think anyone who can be cast as a "politician" will. No one said this was going to be easy. So I am in total agreement with torridjoe. The more this person can be seen as a total but creditable outsider the better.

    If I were at the DSCC I would want an Iraq vet. Preferably one who was an NCO or officer. I would want them to have some business background. I would want them to be so clean personally that they would make Gordoon look like a Nevada.... well you know. I would want them to have a great education like Steve Novick. If they had a science background even better. I would ideally prefer that they had NEVER run for anything but nonetheless had demonstrated they were committed to the community through volunteer work or giving. I would want them to have a track record in business or law or medicine that showed they were a leader and a doer. If they were a millionaire..all the better. But it would have to be money they had made on their own and again....CLEANLY.

    That is the candidate profile that I think can beat Gordoon. IF I were in their camp this is the candidate I would be very worried about.

    If you know anyone like that have them email me...oh did I mention the job pays $165,000. I am thinking there is someone in this state that looks like this that is willing to do this.

    Oregonrain

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I agree with Wes that we have to be realistic about the challenge ahead. I personally think that Steve Novick will have a hard time winning. I think anyone who can be cast as a "politician" will.

    Oregonrain, except for your for comment above, i've been much illuminated by your comments above, especially your details of what makes for you the dream candidate. Wes, though with all due respect isn't being realistic, he's being defeatist. Again, his premise is that only a first tier candidate (in his mind a state wide pol) can knock off the very wounded Gordon Smith, fruit packer from Pendelton, friend of McCain and Bush.

    I disagree.

    Jeff Alworth offered a compelling introduction for a Merkley candidacy. Novick also is gaining traction. Heck, he's even gotten Bill Sizemore's goat

    Courage, Blue Oregonians...

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I would want them to have some business background. I would want them to be so clean personally that they would make Gordoon look like a Nevada.... well you know. I would want them to have a great education like Steve Novick. If they had a science background even better. I would ideally prefer that they had NEVER run for anything but nonetheless had demonstrated they were committed to the community through volunteer work or giving. I would want them to have a track record in business or law or medicine that showed they were a leader and a doer. If they were a millionaire..all the better. But it would have to be money they had made on their own and again....CLEANLY.

    OK . . . Oregonrain just launched the U.S. Senate bid by . . .

    Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler . . .

    • Wes the Defeatist (I've been called worse)
  • Oregonrain (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I agree Wes...that name came to mind as I wrote it. Too bad Ted has a job now.

    But I promise you that that kind of candidate is the worst nightmare of Gordon Smith and the people that run him.

    Frankly, its someone who looks kind of like Gordoon but who is a vet of the Iraq II war. They would look like Gordoon but be well...a progressive leader. So they would not really be like him at all obviously.

  • (Show?)

    That's not their fault; they just haven't risen to the top tier by winning a statewide or congressional race.

    Hmmm, well, actually - I suppose it depends on how you keep score - but I'd call leading the Oregon House Democrats from a 25-35 minority to a 31-29 majority a "statewide" campaign. Sure, Merkley's name wasn't on the ballot - but that operation was as extensive as any statewide campaign; and in some ways, more complex.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Since when are Wes's criteria actual prerequisites? No doubt somebody from Congress or a Guv or SOS would count their prior political experience as an advantage. But you don't need that kind of resumé to win. We all know that.

    ///steps away from the dead horse...

  • Clarification Please (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Requesting clarfication on two points:

    1) Although some have attempted to give some cred to Merkley by saying he is the son of a millworker, the front page on his new website ambiguously suggests his family may have moved to Portland while he was in grade school, and perhaps early in his grade school years:

    "While still in grade school, my dad got a job as a heavy equipment mechanic in Portland. He took me to the grade school and said 'Those doors are the doors to opportunity. Study hard and you can pursue any dream.' "

    What are the actual facts, as this suggests additional influences in his formative years on his character and political development than the "son of a millworker" elsewhere in Oregon alone suggests? (He repeated exactly this story, with no dates to provide specifics, at 8:10AM on KPOJ.)

    2) What is his specific position on health care reform in this country, a la the issues raised in Sicko about the role of insurance companies, since none of his public pronouncements in the last several years have included any specifics of his views on this or other traditional Democratic Party positions?

    As House Speaker in the Oregon Legislature, he has had plenty of time in a prominent position to establish his cred by taking clear and specific positions on the defining issues for the Democratic Party, so any argument that he is just getting started in this race has absolutely no merit.

    <h2>(Kari, I note his website says it is done by "Powered by Mandate Media.", and you certainly have been doing PR for him here, so maybe you can give us some facts on these questions. Also, given this business connection, is Merkley now obligated to declare mentions by you or Carrie Wynkoop of Merkley on Blue Oregon as a "donation-in-kind" in his FEC filings? As there is a limit on donations by corporations, profit or non-profit, which I know you and Blue Oregonians strongly advocate, this is not easily or ethically waved-off.)</h2>
elsewhere

connect with blueoregon