Humane Society Legislative Fund endorses?

Kevin Kamberg

The Humane Society endorsed Jeff Merkley today. He's their only endorsement in Oregon and they only made two other Primary Election endorsements this year - Kucinich in Ohio and Lautenberg in New Jersey.

Now this is an endorsement which intrigues me. Mostly because either I've never noticed their endorsements before or I just never thought of The Humane Society as the endorsing kind of organization. Either way, this one came out of the blue for me.

Perhaps this explanation from their website is why:

HSLF is a nonpartisan organization that evaluates candidates based only on a single criterion: where they stand on animal welfare. HSLF does not judge candidates based on party affiliation or any other issue.

But it turns out that the HSLF does endorse General Election candidates in most states. In 2006 they endorsed (by my count) 447 candidates in 45 states, including our own Representatives Wu, Blumenauer, DeFazio and Hooley - all of whom won their respective races. This too is interesting to me because in the FAQ section of the HSLF's website they note that a candidate's "chances for winning the seat" is part of the endorsement criteria. Which, frankly, understates the HSLF's emphasis on endorsing winning candidates.

Doing a bit of rudimentary math - 447 endorsees, 44 lost - yields a winning ratio for the 2006 HSLF endorsee slate of over 90%.

I don't know of any other endorsing entity which boasts that high of a win ratio for endorsees, do you?

Comments

  • (Show?)

    This is interesting, Kevin, though I really don't know what it means. I do understand clearly what you hope and are suggesting it means.

    "Human Society" endorses? Is that as opposed to the fabled ponies of world peace? ;->

  • (Show?)

    Kari, this man is playing you for a fool--repeatedly violating the rule about exclusivity, and the other promise to write about SOMETTHING ELSE.

    For fuck's sake--the Humane Society? Not to bust on them--they're fine--but really, this is absurd. Merkley gets his profile highlighted as "news" and we're literally begged to marvel at what an amazing life he's had--and then Novick's not exactly run of the mill bio piece shows up as scheduled the following day...crickets. Meanwhile, Oppo Jones here is ready with another force job for Merkley.

    It sure made canvassing easier today to skip all those houses with a Novick sign already. And not once did I have to circle the "supporting the other guy" number on the tracking sheet. (I'm sure perhaps some opted not to say, but it's the fastest way to get someone off your porch if they don't interest you, and I sure as hell would tell a Merkley person he was wasting his time at my door...)

  • (Show?)

    Seems like a rush job to benefit a campaign in need of some good press.

    Check this out (from Kevin's link above):

    (May 1, 2008)— WASHINGTON — Citing his support and active leadership on animal welfare policies in the Oregon state legislature, the Humane Society Legislative Fund announced that it has endorsed House Speaker Jeff Merkley in Oregon's Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

    The bill is now headed to the Governor's desk for her signature.

    What bill?

    And what female Governor are they referring to? What state?

    (If it gets changed and anyone is interested in seeing the original, I've taken a screen shot.)

    C'mon, this post is a serious stretch. What, the Portland Tribune endorsement of Novick doesn't count as an "in the news" post, but this warrants posting? Or the Ashland Daily Tidings? Or the East Oregonian?

    The Human (sic) Society? Right.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Please note that this is NOT the "American Humane Society," but rather the "Humane Society of the U.S."

    This is not your local animal shelter. The HSUS is a lobbying group closer to PETA than the AHS. If that floats your boat, then great. (Personally, I enjoy eating my burgers and wearing animal products.)

    But the HSUS has been trading on the phrase "Humane Society" for too long, so let's not get confused.

  • (Show?)

    Thank you, JHL, I was certainly confused by it. Lame.

  • roxanne bruns (unverified)
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    Wow. This just gets worse. I'd call this post a stretch, but somehow that doesnt even really get at it. I think B.O. readers should get the chance to vote just one contributor off the island. I have no doubt that Kevin would be the first to go.

  • (Show?)

    Actually, I thought this post was fairly interesting. Why would the Humane Society endorse a U.S. Senate candidate?

    One data point that's really worth noting here: The Humane Society has 140,000 members in Oregon. Nothing to sneeze at.

    TJ, you're right - I don't know why Novick's profile didn't get posted. I'll check on that. I think Nick's in finals week.

    Last note: Kevin, I fixed the typo in your headline. :)

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    Well, I'm a vegan and I endorse Novick. But if the Humane Society has pictures of Steve attending dog fights, then you've got a story here.

  • Masterpiece (unverified)
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    Lots of Novick partisans here downplaying this. Interesting.

    I'm sure if Novick had been the recipient, it would be the best thing since sliced bread....

    I'm curious as to how many members this group has in Oregon and how much advocacy they do for the candidates they endorse.

    This seems like it would play well in the Portland area. Lots of very devoted pet lovers who like those who've done work on animal cruelty issues.

  • (Show?)

    I don't know what this endorsement means, either. But I guarantee you if this organization had endorsed Steve Novick, his friends here would be all over it. Since they didn't they have no choice but to criticize Kevin.

    Oh, and TJ - I don't know what world you live in, but what Novick signs? I was driving all over Portland yesterday and saw only a handful. You might want to leave your block every once in a while.

  • (Show?)

    Well, now the difficulty proves to be that there isn't a "the" Humane Society at all, but two. So which one has 140,000 Oregom members and is it the same one that endorsed Jeff Merkley. If the American Humane Society is the longstanding charity it seems likely that may be the one with the big membership, and no endorsements. But maybe that's wrong.

  • Masterpiece (unverified)
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    It would appear that HSLF is a separate political arm of the Humane Society of the US. But they're clearly affiliated, according to the FAQ.

    I would guess that this group has access to whatever membership The Humane Society of the US keeps.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Uh, masterpiece, that's pretty much what JHL's post said. That the Humane Society of the U.S. has been playing off the name of the much larger group the American Humane Society.

    And the rest of you lay off Kevin.

    He can't help it if he's got a crush on Merkley's wife.

  • Masterpiece (unverified)
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    Pat:

    Did you not bother to click on the links I provided?

    The HSLF is not "playing off" the Humane Society. They're the Humane Society's political arm, according to the group's website. They are directly affiliated.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    masterpiece, of course HSLF is the political arm of the Humane Society of the U.S., I never said it wasn't. I pointed out that JHL said HSUS is playing off the name the larger group, The American Humane Society.

    That's what JHL said: That the American Humane Society and the Humane Society of the U.S. are not one and the same.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Right, when will the coveted PETA endorsement be forthcoming?

  • (Show?)

    Personally, I don't give a whit about the internal politics of the various organizations that put "Humane" in their name.

    All I know is that an organization with 140,000 members in Oregon is wading into this race. That's good news for someone, right?

    Full disclosure: My firm built Jeff Merkley's website, but I speak only for myself.

  • Masterpiece (unverified)
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    The Humane Society of the US has 10 million members in this country.

    I did a quick check of the Oregon Humane Society, which doesn't appear to be affiliated with the American Humane Society or Humane Society of the U.S.

    Interestingly, both the AHS and the HSUS appear to operate shelters and advocate against animal cruelty, etc.

    According to Wikipedia, the Humane Society of the United States is the largest animal welfare organization in the world.

    They work closely with legislators on the local and national level, which is likely why they endorsed Jeff Merkley. The American Humane Society is dedicated to the welfare of animals and children. They are the group that works closely with those who make movies to ensure that animals are treated humanely and safely on movie sets.

    The contention that the American Humane Society is "larger", appears to be shaky at best.

    Either way, Merkley just recieved the endorsement of a group that boasts 10 million members, apparently 140k are in Oregon. That's great for him, especially since endorsing groups tend to advocate with their membership for those they endorse.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    I will argue about the dueling humane societies no more again forever.

    And of course, any endorsement is a plus ... ... well, within reason, I guess.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Or, perhaps the almost 90% "win rate" indicates popcorn endorsements; as in popping in when the outcome is virtually known?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    The Humane Society has been involved in politics for quite some time, and is not a "fringe" organization. Wayne Pacelle flew from DC to interview me along with Oregon director, Kelly Peterson, before they endorsed me in 1996. I made it clear that I was not supportive of some of the more extreme PETA-like activities of animal rights supporters. They seemed impressed that I was interested in working to improve the conditions of animals raised for food.

    Several of their members were active volunteers for my '96 and '98 legislative campaigns.

  • (Show?)

    Kari, this man is playing you for a fool--repeatedly violating the rule about exclusivity, and the other promise to write about SOMETTHING ELSE.

    For fuck's sake--the Humane Society? Not to bust on them--they're fine--but really, this is absurd.

    What would be really cool is if there were some other progressive blog that got a significant number of eyeballs. That blog could be a champion for candidates that they felt weren't getting a fair shake here on Blue Oregon.

    Seems to me there used to be a blog like that until its owner destroyed his own crediblility with over-the-top rants, obscene and mean spirited rhetoric and innuendo all over the blogoshpere. The result seems to have been that no one bothers to pay attention to that guy any more.

    Seems kinda sad, but we must all follow our own unicorn I guess, even if it leads to the destruction of our own personal credibility.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    The Humane Society of the US has 10 million members in this country.

    Yeah. Most of those are probably little old ladies who think that they're giving to their local AHS animal shelter, but are in fact giving to a DC lobbying organization that's trying to tell me what I can and can't eat.

    Fact is, it's easy to get members when you send a brochure of a puppy on it and say, "Would you like to give to the Humane Society?"

    However, most people who see this endorsement will probably think it's AHS anyway, so it's probably a wash for Merkley.

  • (Show?)

    Thanks for the fixed typo, Kari.

    Tom's comments above are interesting to me because I'd honestly never noticed them as an endorsing entity before. That's probably mostly because I'd been NAV from 1990 until a few weeks ago and thus tuned some aspects of partisan politics out as a matter of course.

    From having dug through their 206 endorsee data I can report that they do in fact endorse some Republicans and I saw at least one Independent too - so that part of their FAQ assertion does match up with the reality on the ground. However... the overwhelming majority of the HSLF's endorsees were Democrats.

    As for "popcorn" endorsements... I would expect a win ratio much closer to 100% if that were the case.

  • (Show?)

    I was just looking through the HSLF's 110th Congress scoring data and saw one state's Senator scoring which strongly underscores the non-partisan nature of the HSLF - Nevada.

    Senator Ensign(R) received a 100. Senator Reid(D) recieved a big fat 0.

    Some were reversed. Like Ohio's delegation.

    Brown(D) recieved a 100+ Voinovich(R) received a big fat 0.

    Here in Oregon...

    Wyden(D) received a 75. Smith(R) received a 25.

    Our Congressional delegation...

    Blumenhauer(D) - 100+ DeFazio(D) - 100+ Hooley(D) - 83 Walden(R) - 17 Wu(D) - 83

  • Samuel (unverified)
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    What a silly tangential discussion. Is THIS Humane Society legit?

    A better question ... Did Jeff violate his in session fundraising rules by soliciting this contribution and then working to pass a meaningless dog fighting bill? Since few of us would ever suggestion that the dog fighting bill was on our short list of bills worth bringing up during the special session. I guess we know what the D K bought this Humane Society.

  • Samuel (unverified)
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    What a silly tangential discussion. Is THIS Humane Society legit?

    A better question ... Did Jeff violate his in session fundraising rules by soliciting this contribution and then working to pass a meaningless dog fighting bill? Since few of us would ever suggestion that the dog fighting bill was on our short list of bills worth bringing up during the special session. I guess we know what the D K bought this Humane Society.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    As we all know [correct?], non-profits are limited in acting politically, so they often have separate political affiliates, sometimes called "action committees." Since many local humane societies are independent entities, it makes sense that the political organization that supports their interests would be a stand-alone group.

    There are, indeed, some "little old ladies" among society members, some of whom are dedicated, hard-working activists.

    Don't dis' a group just because they have endorsed the candidate you are not supporting. The situation may be reversed someday, and you will need to deal with the gnawing realization that you are hypocritical.

  • (Show?)

    I bet it's not a "meaningless dog-fighting bill" if you're a dog! Or a person who likes dogs, or a person who doesn't like illegal gambling (or, in my case, gambling of any kind - legal or illegal).

  • Dr. JHL (unverified)
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    Samuel, the dog fighting bill was Senate President Courtney's priority bill.

    Thanks for the baseless accusation though.

    (Oops... I forgot to reflect my PhD in my name. I'm a Doctor now, as long as Tony Marino is.)

  • Dr. JHL (unverified)
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    Tom:

    Your local animal shelter = American Humane Society DC Lobbyists = Humane Society of the US Humane Society Legislative Fund = Humane Society of the US American Humane SocietyHumane Society of the US

    I dis the HSUS because I don't like their policies. I am supporting Merkley in spite of their endorsement.

  • (Show?)

    LOL - Dr. JHL

    I love it!

    I actually do have a "PhD" from an online diploma mill. Albeit from one that was set up as a deliberate spoof of... well... diploma mills.

    Although I must express disappointment in BBU having lowered it's standards. I had to buy a six-pack of beer for my academic advisor to secure my PhD. They've since dropped that requirement. But then again... there is a certain internal logic to having lowered their standards.

    ;-)

  • (Show?)

    "Oh, and TJ - I don't know what world you live in, but what Novick signs? I was driving all over Portland yesterday and saw only a handful. You might want to leave your block every once in a while."

    I wasn't on my block, I was in NE. And nobody in any race has more than a handful of signs as you drive around (I think Sho has the most, interestingly). In six blocks of NE around Irvington, I documented 6-10 Novick signs, which I know because I didn't bother dropping lit. I saw two Merkley signs on the ride from Hawthorne up 15th to NE, but none in the turf area I was on.

    And in riding through chunks of SW, it was 5-0 Novick.

    And I actually saw as many Hillary houses as Obama houses in that little turf area...2-2.

  • (Show?)
    Seems to me there used to be a blog like that until its owner destroyed his own crediblility with over-the-top rants, obscene and mean spirited rhetoric and innuendo all over the blogoshpere.

    Do you mean Carla? I wasn't the one who coined the term "Double Dealing Douchebag of Dirt." When it was she who was being obscene, over the top and mean spirited to Republicans, I guess you laughed along.

    I'm not claiming piety; Carla's writing style didn't bother me. She writes her way, I write mine. But I think any reasonable analysis would show I'm no stranger to tough rhetoric, but you're describing Loaded Orygun BEFORE Carla left, not after.

    And really, calling Merkley out on policy is mean spirited, but what you're doing here--repeatedly, with really no reason--isn't?

  • samuel (unverified)
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    Local mom- are you seriously suggesting that when I make you speaker for the day right before the special session ... That you would identify dog fighting as a top 10 issue in Oregon? I am not suggestion that nothing needs to be done ... But we already have laws on the books and other issues are more important to me.

    JHL-

    Yes, I am aware that this was a Peter priority but that doesn't mean that the Humane PAC didn't need to make this a priority on the House side.

    But regardless ... He was seeking (and received) PAC money from a special interest needing favors DURING the special session. A pretty clear violation of his orginal ethics law. Why isn't this the discussion?

  • (Show?)

    "Double Dealing Douchebag of Dirt" is funny and demonstrates a natural gift for creative writing.

    "Anal cancer" is neither funny nor demonstrates any sort of gift for for anything other than being gratuitously nasty.

  • Rulial (unverified)
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    I’m getting kind of tired of this. Does every discussion of the U.S. Senate race have to degrade into petty childish bickering? Seriously, some of you seem to be forgetting that after the primary ballots come back in, we’ll all be back on the same side and have to work together. I’m ready to help either Steve Novick or Jeff Merkley beat Gordon Smith this fall, because I know either one of them would make a better senator than Smith

  • (Show?)

    Anyone else read this fascinating piece in today's Oregonian: When volunteering, Oregonians pick their favorite causes instead of joining clubs ?

    It illustrates why causes such as animal rights represent such strong political force.

    It also cites a very interesting statistic which I wasn't aware of:

    The good news is, more Americans donate time to their communities than they have in decades -- especially in Portland. Only five metro areas in the U.S. have higher volunteer rates, a study shows, with Oregonians in every age group out-do-gooding their peers across the country.
  • (Show?)

    Well, as far as I can tell from the above, it does seem likely that Kari's 140,000 Oregonians number is tied to the endorsing organization.

    Wayne Pacelle has an Oregon connection -- he was an undergraduate at Reed, graduated in the early '90s I believe. He moved very quickly into the center and upwards in the animal rights world. He was a vocal advocate as a student. In addition to being charismatic, he's bright, organized & energetic, & there seems to be a substantial likelihood that the HSLF has a sophisticated database and will communicate its endorsement directly to its constituency. So this could be a useful name-recognition plug for Jeff.

    At the same time, the non-partisan character of the group probably means that a lot of its members are humane Republicans and NAVs unable to vote in the DP primary.

    Supposing for the sake of argument that Jeff won the primary, I wonder what this endorsement would augur for the general? On the one hand, if Smith has a 25% rating from HSLF, it seems clear that they'd prefer Jeff. On the other hand, either Jeff or Steve is going to have a tough race against Gordo just because of money, so if they only endorse with a high likelihood of success, is it certain that a primary endorsement would be followed by a general election endorsement?

    On my left foot, given the state of the polls between Steve and Jeff, there is evidence that they don't always bet only on sure things, so perhaps the endorsement would be renewed despite the tough fight.

    Bottom line this is nice for Jeff.

  • (Show?)

    I don't find Hillary personally akin to cancer; her behavior in he primary is akin to a cancer, however. I chose the phrase properly. Her actions are spreading a toxic sickness, that we need to stop immediately before more damage is done.

    The word douchebag is always funny. But it's an easy name that bears no relation to chuck adams' actions. It was just calling him a name.

    Which as I said I'm ok with. But it's still over the top and obscene, so pat needed a reality check on what LO was and wasn't like.

    And in about six months it may just become known as the blog that backed the guy who flipped Oregon's Senate seat, when it was said that couldn't be done. Hell, even if he doesn't win it's pretty obvious we made the right choice in April 07. This was no vanity candidacy of quixotism.

  • (Show?)
    Supposing for the sake of argument that Jeff won the primary, I wonder what this endorsement would augur for the general?

    It wouldn't augur much of anything in the General because it's a Primary-only endorsement - which the HSLF endorsing statement says at the end of it.

    Now, given Smith's 25 rating and given that Merkley is the sole Oregonian to receive a HSLF Primary endorsement, I'd guess that the odds are extremely good that they'd give Merkley a General endorsement too. But there is no guarantee of that or even that they'd endorse anyone at all in the General Election.

    Keep in mind that the HSLF only made GE endorsements for 2006 in 45 states, with another 6 states only getting a single HSLF endorsement.

  • (Show?)

    Personally, I'm still waiting for Jeff to announce the coveted NAMBLA endorsement.

  • (Show?)

    Please tell me this is someone impersonating Stephanie V.

    Because the Stephanie I know surely wouldn't equate the Humane Society with an organization that promotes pedophilia.

  • (Show?)

    I'm not equating them at all, Kari.

    I'm just observing that there's been a parade of interest group and organizational endorsements of varying significance, each one trumpeted from the housetops, and idly wondering where it ends.

    But you knew that. %^>

  • (Show?)

    Funny.

    Try this one, ok?

    I'm just observing that there's been a parade of newspaper and celebrity endorsements of varying significance, each one trumpeted from the housetops, and idly wondering where it ends.

    Personally, given a choice between an organization with 140,000 Oregon members and some hipster band -- I'll take the former.

  • George Okulitch (unverified)
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    Just for clarification.

    The Oregon Humane Society is a non-profit entity completly separate with no affiliation with HSUS.

    Secondly, despite what people think about the dog-fighting legislation during the special session and it's importance, over 4000 phone calls and emails were made to the various shelters in Oregon asking that a dog-fighting bill be passed. That may suggest some type of public outcry.

  • (Show?)

    Dr. JHL:

    Your local animal shelter = American Humane Society DC Lobbyists = Humane Society of the US Humane Society Legislative Fund = Humane Society of the US American Humane Society ≠ Humane Society of the US

    I misread the good doctor's "not equal sign" on the last line which led to my accepting Kari's statement that "the Humane Society" has 140,000 members in Oregon.

    But now I see that Dr. JHL is say the same thing as George Okulitch:

    "The Oregon Humane Society is a non-profit entity completly separate with no affiliation with HSUS."

    This suggests that that Kari may be conflating the membership of the non-political organization with the political one, and that my comment about the likely political skills of the HSUS may not apply to the large number of members listed by Kari, since they seem likely to be members of an entirely different organization.

    Kari, can you clarify which Humane Society has 140,000 members in Oregon?

  • (Show?)

    "Personally, given a choice between an organization with 140,000 Oregon members and some hipster band -- I'll take the former."

    Not in this election, I wouldn't.

  • The Truth (unverified)
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    Wow, I can't believe how many wrong 'facts' there are in a thread populated by 'insiders'.

    Check it out, last time around HSUS via their PAC endorsed Gordon Smith. (Don't you remember Elizabeth Furse endorsing him as well....short memories?)

    Neither HSUS or AHA or any of the 'nationals' operate animal shelters.

    Your local humane societies like Oregon Humane Society, Humane Society of Central Oregon, GreenHill Humane Society, etc. etc. are all independant, separate, non-affialiated 501c3 charities, having their own governance and boards of directors.

    No way does HSUS have 100,000+ paid members in Oregon - no way.

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