Open thread: U.S Senate

The polls are about to close. Use this space to talk about the U.S. Senate race. (Note: Off-topic comments will be deleted.)

Comments

  • Senate Guru (unverified)
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    Allow me to kick this Open Thread off with a call for Democratic unity once we know who will be the Democratic nominee and Oregon's next U.S. Senator.

    Let's work together to Stop Gordon Smith!

  • bridget (unverified)
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    Yeah, tonight should be the kick-off party for the Stop Gordon Smith campaign! I'll tip my left-hook lager to that (and if Merkley had a beer, I'd tip that one too). :)

  • TroyB (unverified)
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    We'll be drinking some Left Hook Lager for sure... Either out of celebration or sadness, but either way Smith is going down in November.

  • (Show?)

    What Smith wants is a divided Democratic Party. He won't get it!

  • Lou (unverified)
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    A Novick victory is the only path to unity for me. He's the only reason I came back to the NAFTAcrats. A loss means a trip back to independence for me which might not be a bad thing.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    That's the unifying spirit, Lou!

  • Sooshigirl (unverified)
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    Here in Pendleton we are toasting Novick and anxiously awaiting the numbers...

  • LT (unverified)
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    About a 10,000 vote margin around 8:23 according to the Oregonian

  • Chris #12 (unverified)
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    Looks like Candy Neville might be the spoiler here, assuming most of her votes would have gone to Novick.

  • ameeks (unverified)
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    For the sake of those people without a TV, can someone post the current percentage and nominal differences? its so easy to find info on the presidential and not so much with the local races. A link to a constantly updating ticker would be even better, since Blue Oregon hasn't updated since 8:05 ;-)

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Looks like Neville managed to be more important of a candidate than I thought. She became the spoiler. F**k!

  • Harry (unverified)
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    Novick loses, Jeff wins the battle, but Smitty will win the Nov war against the mild Merkley. Too bad, it would been fun seeing the Hock carve up Smitty like a Thanksgiving Turkey.

  • sooshigirl (unverified)
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    Watch the oregonlive.com coverage...they are showing county by county results and updated regularly.

  • ameeks (unverified)
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    Neville became the "spoiler"? It's easy to believe that your candidate was somehow entitled to any vote that wasn't for Jeff Merkley, but the truth is a pill even more bitter than you. Check the map and you'll find that Multnomah is the only county that Novick wins with over 50% (51 to be specific), while Jeff Merkley take Marion (53%), Lane (52%), Douglas (52%), and Coos (50%). That has noting to do with Candy Neville. That is quite simply a superior ground campaign.

    When this race started Novick and Merkley were equal footing in all of these areas. Jeff Merkley decisive victory is proof that he is best qualified to run a state wide campaign and best qualified to take on Smith in the general.

  • (Show?)

    Calm down folks, nobody has won a decisive victory here, it's still very much up in the air. All depends on the late vote in Multnomah County, and whether it can close the gap for Novick.

  • Lou (unverified)
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    I'm checking the map ameeks. I think Multonomah at the end of the night either makes this a push or puts Novick over the top by about a thousand votes.

  • ameeks (unverified)
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    Update: In Lake County (with 75% reporting) the score is Merkley-57%, Neville-15%, and Novick-4% Who's the spoiler now?

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    The saddest thing I saw tonight was an inteview KATU did with Merkley. They said the interview took place about 7 p.m. So it wasn't going to air until the station's eelction coverage began at 8 when the POLLS WERE ALREADY CLOSED.

    Yet there's Merkley, denigrating Novick as a "political insider" who does nothing but run campaigns, etc, etc.

    What's a person supposed to think for Merkley after seeing that? So defensive. The word "turd" comes to mind.

  • Hello (unverified)
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    The idiot who thinks Lake County means anything?

  • Harry (unverified)
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    "The idiot who thinks Lake County means anything?"

    Yes, Lake and the other counties where the "loser, bitter hicks with guns" live will mean something.... not tonight, but come November they will either help Jeff win against Smitty, or return Smitty to DC.

    That battle will be won or lost not in Multno, but the other counties like Lake.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Lake County with 75% reporting: 438 Total votes

  • Chris #12 (unverified)
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    I'll vote for Merkley in the general, but that's it. No yard sign, no donations, no volunteering, no nothing. His "unite the party" ad disgusted me, and I will have hard time forgiving him for that.

    Speaking of being disgusted, is anyone else incredibly disappointed with OPB's coverage? That Think Out Loud host is awful.

  • Hello (unverified)
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    No, the battle as ever will be won in Washington and Clackamas County.

    Lake will still be a sparsely populated country inhabited by sheepshaggers and shitkickers. I'm sure all 15 dogs in Paisley will be disappointed.

  • ameeks (unverified)
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    So the sentiment I'm hearing is that Lake County doesn't mean anything because it's a small county that always votes republican.... Strange, that argument sounds so familiar... but where does it come from?

  • Thewayoulikeit (unverified)
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    I was a new Dem voter this year. I came over from the darkside. I voted for Novick because I like how he stood up to Lars on his show and stood up for what he thought was right. He expressed him self very well. Did Merkley ever go on Lars show? I think if Merkley wins we end up with gordo again. They are to much alike

  • (Show?)

    This was a tough vote for us but in the end we went with the candidate who had earned the personal endorsement of two people we hold to be two of the most decent, loving and justice seeking people we know. When we got their letter asking our support, that weighed heavy on our minds. While BOregon has definitely had a Novck bent, and many excellent points were made, we ultimately went with Merkley.

    I'll throw another crazy thought out there. When we defeat Gordon Smith in November, let's do it on the basis of ideas and issues. There are plenty of issues and votes to take him on with. But I don't believe he's a bad man. He's not perfect. He's made errors and lied. He also lost a son to mental illness and suicide and I believe he really does want mental health coverage to have parity with the physical health. If this primary season has done anything, it has reminded me of just how much our party has contributed to the current state of affairs. Slash and burn. Game playing for the sake of game playing.Let's be better than that. Let's be the party of better ideas.That's what attracted me to the Obama campaign in the first place. With all the drama of the last few months, I have sometimes lost sight of that and been guilty in indulging my frustration.Let's appeal to our better selves. In listening to and about Sen. Kennedy's tragic news, I was reminded of all that he has accomplished and in awe of all the real, tangible ways his legislation has improved lives and the human condition. There's a reason he is so beloved by his colleagues while he is maligned on talk radio and right wing blogs. He never stooped to their level. He just got stuff done. I really hope that is the path the NEW democratic senator from Oregon will take next January.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    On the excellent Oregonian map, Novick had early leads in several smaller counties like Columbia and several on the coast, Merkley ended up with the advantage in those counties. Looks like he got more "late" voters possibly swayed by his late ad barage. Mortgaging the house paid off.

  • (Show?)

    I just came from the Merkley party, where Jeff gave a wonderful speech praising Novick and Neville for "making me a better candidate." He's a class act, and now he's the nominee.

    I agree that Novick made him a better candidate, and I think Oregon voters got it right. Merkley has a helluva chance to beat Smith. Onward!

  • Rulial (unverified)
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    Lake County might only have several hundred votes, but that could make the difference in the fall. The residents of Lake County are our fellow Oregonians and deserve our respect.

    I voted for Novick--it was a hard decision--but now that Merkley's the nominee, I am ready to help him defeat Gordon Smith.

  • Blue Dave (unverified)
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    A Class act??? I'd say Merkley is anything but a class act. But hey, he's got national money and negative advertising sure pays off.

    Congratulations on uniting democrats.

    And Kari has a meal ticket for another 6 months. What's not to like about that?!

  • Blue Dave (unverified)
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    Oh and Neville wasn't just a spoiler candidate. She was a complete embarrassment - and she kept the best guy from winning. Sort of like if that opportunist Edwards would've stayed in the race and secured the nomination for Clinton.

    Gee if only Neville wouldn't have re-written her school's escape plan in 6th grade, she might have tried to run for another office before the US SENATE!!!

    Read her story on the DPLC's website if you don't know what I'm talking about. I dare you to honestly tell me that it is not a complete embarrassment for Dems running for office - especially for a federal office. Neville is a joke and she f*cked things up for everybody. Cause she is "anti-war".

  • verasoie (unverified)
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    TJ, where are you? How's that crow sandwich?

  • orexpat (unverified)
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    Class act?

    No, he's not. You don't attack fellow D's like that and talk crap about them on the night of the election (8 pm news) and come out of it as a class act. You come out of it as a survivor.

    Like Kari and this blog.

    Blue Oregon has been sullied by this race.

  • (Show?)

    I wouldn't have voted for her for Senate, but I admire Candy Neville very much. If more Americans had the courage and sheer grit of Ms. Neville then this would be a better nation, IMHO. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak in person three times. Clearly she was in over her head, politically speaking. But her sheer, unadulterated passion was infectious and admirable.

    Jeff, I agree about Merkley's speech. When I left KGW I headed over there and got there just minutes before he began to speak. I thought he went above and beyond the call of duty in his graceousness towards and praise for both Novick and Neville.

  • Blue Dave (unverified)
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    Blue Oregon usually comes out sullied after every major primary.

    Funny for Merkley folks to come in here and act like Steve has been all class the whole time when he wasn't even class during his interview tonight.

    Merkley wasn't able to run an issues based campaign against a fellow Dem, what makes anyone think he will be able to run a good campaign against Smith?

  • (Show?)

    Apparently unintentional self-parody is Blue Dave's specialty.

  • Blue Dave (unverified)
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    Something like that Lestat. I must have made a Neville supporter angry.

  • DanOregon (unverified)
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    I hope Steve Novick sticks around. KPOJ sure could use him. His concession speech was fantastic. I'm thinking Merkley should be counting on Obama's coattail in November, with the Dem presidential race netting 500,000 votes to the GOP's less than 300,000 (w. about 75 percent in), Gordon Smith will have to push for an impeachment of Bush or endorse Obama in order to stay in office. He is in a lot bigger trouble than I thought.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Blue Dave | May 21, 2008 1:15:01 AM Something like that Lestat. I must have made a Neville supporter angry.

    Stay away from Vegas, you won't do so well.

  • Blue Dave (unverified)
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    Ahhhh the joys of anonymous "cheap shots" on the internet.

  • (Show?)

    Congrats to the Merkley campaign.

    Now we have to work out asses off, because right now people I'm talking to feel as if their vote for Merkley is going to be a vote against someone they don't like. They feel like it is the 2004 general all over again - voting for a candidate because they want the other guy out of office. That "anybody but..." type mentality. That didn't work in '04, and it's not going to work now.

    I really, really don't want to see 2004 all over again. It is going to take every single one of us working together and some really good talking points and such from the Merkley campaign to win over the voters.

    There are a lot of people like my husband who voted Novick but are going to vote Frohmeyer, Smith (heaven forbid!) or just not even vote in the race at all. They're going to need a lot of work over the next 5 months to get them to understand why we need to elect Jeff Merkley - and not because he isn't Gordon Smith.

    I can only hope that the campaign has already been working on this and will have something ready for us soon so that all of us can start working on all those people who aren't wanting to vote for Merkley in the fall. We can't afford to lose a single person who voted Dem in this race.

    I know that I'm going to work on every single such person I know, because it is extremely important to expand our majority in the U.S. Senate so that we can get things done. And it is extremely important to elect a U.S. Senator who actually represents the positions of Oregonians.

    And I hope that everyone here will join with us to elect Merkley this November.

  • From afar (unverified)
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    Congrats to all - I find some of the comments from Novick supporters odd, but only because I know Jeff well (I worked for him for two years, ten years ago). I could not think of a better person to represent the State. I know the campaign was ugly, but campaigns are.

    I don't understand why so much vitriol is aimed against someone who will be an effective Senator. Why didn't Novick run against David Wu, who I can tell you from a DC perspective, is a boob. Wu has done nothing for his party, nothing for his district. This will not be the case with Jeff, who knows how to operate in the Senate.

    Did Jeff do such a poor job in the Legislature? If Novick supporters could have shown me substantive issues on which they based their choice, then maybe their opposition to Jeff would make sense.

  • (Show?)

    Steve Novick's concession speech unequivocally called on us to support Jeff Merkley beat Gordon Smith, gave Jeff props for his work in the legislature, and said he'll beat Smith. He didn't cite Candy Neville as any kind of spoiler; he didn't talk about the content of advertising; the closest thing he came to saying anything negative was to attribute Jeff's victory in the end to a lot of late national ad money. Most of the speech was praise for the audience for supporting an underdog campaign & joking about that, and a long list of thank-yous.

  • (Show?)

    From Afar: I'm afraid I have to leave thinking I'm not sensible. What you ask is no longer relevant to me as a Novick supporter who intends to do as Steve asked and focus on electing Jeff Merkley and defeating Gordon Smith. Rehashing the debates now seems entirely pointless. Looking for Charlie Burr's Novick past posts here would be a good start if you want to do your own research.

    <hr/>

    Jenni, for me personally Iraq is going to be a key issue. Jeff has a strong position about the future, and the contrast needs to be made. While Smith is slippery about it, claiming to be a co-author of the "responsible plan" that is Jeff's foundation position, he has the great disadvantage on this issue of endorsing John McCain. Going after him on the war thus can also be a route to stripping away the bipartisan veneer -- that we need a reliable Democratic vote to get us out of Iraq and overcome Republican war support in the Senate. Smith at present has nothing like Jeff's section on veterans.

    Healthcare and the environment also offer strong opportunities. On healthcare Smith offers only that he has defended Medicaid and SCHIP working with Democrats, and vague statements about lowering costs. On Smith's currently rather skeletal website he has a radio ad attacking Jeff as generally anti-rural and specifically citing a vote against a bill that is characterized as giving tax breaks to doctors who "volunteer" in rural Oregon. In addition to Jeff's general pro-universal healthcare position, it might be good if he developed a position on addressing the rural healthcare access crisis, which is not only about costs but facilities and doctors -- it would fit logically with his extant position on addresssing the nursing shortage.

    Smith's "environmental" position on his campaign website is almost exclusively about energy. On his Senate website he aligns himself vaguely with Oregon's environmentalist heritage. The crucial piece may be this: "While I believe environmental protection is important, I do not believe that it should result in economic hardship." On the campaign website this appears in stronger form in a thumbnail section on Smith "fighting for rural Oregon," which emphasizes support for timber sales.

    Jeff's environmental website section also focuses on energy and global warming, which he calls "energy independence and conservation". Over in the jobs section he talks somewhat vaguely about promoting "the green economy." That could be beefed up, maybe. Also I think it would be good to take on pollution and toxics issues -- e.g. Hanford, which is an issue for the whole Columbia valley west of the Tri-Cities -- and LNG. Pollution and its health effects are also a dimension of fighting greenhouse gases. There are serious local health issues about mercury deposition in northeastern Oregon from the Boardman coal-fired power plant, which has been "grandfathered" in some funky ways from the Clean Air Act. Taking on aspects of our ecological issues beyond renewable energy and the fuller meaning of sustainability (including both heatlh and sustainable employment) in more detail would be another area for contrast with Smith.

    Oh, and congrats to Jeff -- onward to November!

  • (Show?)

    Oh my, what a night.

    I'm still a little dizzy from it all, but this is a great step. Gordon Smith has indeed been enabling Bush policies during his time in Washington, and that time is at an end.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    From the Willamette Week:

    Moments earlier, intense booing from the Merkley crowd had drowned out the words of opponent Steve Novick's concession speech, broadcast on television from the Benson Hotel across town. "Sore loser," someone shouted. "Fuck yourself," someone else yelled as Novick compared the last days of the campaign to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

    Go unity go

  • Mike Schryver (unverified)
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    I almost had to flip a coin to decide between Steve Novick and Jeff Merkley, so I don't have a partisan bias. Please keep that in mind as I say what I'm about to say -

    The comments Pat describes by a couple of Merkley supporters definitely show a lack of class on the part of those individuals, but at this point, it's much more important for Novick supporters to get behind Merkley than vice versa.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    My question is: How long is Jeff going to just sit on his duff before he actually gets around to what he is saying he will do if elected to go to Washington. It took him 16 years or so to finally get him to be active in anything significant in the Oregon legislature, do we have the patience to wait that long with him as a senator? He will have to convince me he will hit the groud running in Washington and not sit in the back and wait for years to finally do something significant. We need action in Washington now, not waiting later for 'the good fight'.

  • (Show?)

    Eric Parker:

    It took him 16 years or so to finally get him to be active in anything significant in the Oregon legislature

    Considering that Jeff has only been in the legislature for 5 sessions (since 1998) and not 16 years this is kinda a ridiculous statement

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    Sorry 'bout that...it just seemed longer.

  • alex (unverified)
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    This is an open call to Merkley supporters: Please convince me that I should be enthusiastic about your candidate.

    By all means I will vote for Jeff Merkley in November. My impression of him is that he is an effective and pragmatic legislator, qualities that will serve him well in the Senate. His positions on critical issues seem to be in line with those of the majority of Oregonians (and the overwhelming majority of my own), and this definitely helps his chances to defeat Smith.

    That said, it bothers me somewhat that he was "recruited" by national Democratic party, if only because it makes me question how strongly he really wanted to run for this office. I wonder whether Merkley is running out of a sense of duty-or perhaps simply because he was presented with the opportunity-rather than because he intends to actually go to bat for Oregonians and the progressives throughout the nation. I worry that if elected he will go with the flow and take opportunities as they come (read: sponsor convenient legislation he can tout to get reelected), rather than actually introduce bills or fight strongly for the issues he believes in.

    Obviously sending Merkley to DC would be a far, far better alternative to Smith. But the thought of sending a junior version Ron Wyden excites me about as much as tepid bath water.

    So please, Merkley supporters, convince me that rather than just apathetically give Merkley my vote, I should battle alongside you to get him to Washington. If you can't do better than resorting to an argument resembling, "at least he's better than Gordon Smith," you have failed. And so will Jeff Merkley.

  • JohnH (unverified)
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    I second Alex' comment. Having Merkley as a wholly owned subsidiary of Chuck Schumer, the DSCC, and the corporate-owned DLC does not excite me one bit. Corporate America 1, Oregon 0.

  • LT (unverified)
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    John, you know for a fact that if Merkley is elected to the US Senate he will be a 100% reliable vote for Schumer and the DLC ?

    Where did you derive that information?

    Alex, I was dubious about whether Merkley would be a great speaker, then I heard him give a speech in 2006 at a dinner and I knew he would do a good job.

    Someone I knew who was a Bruggere supporter in 1996 was at a Merkley town hall and thanked the Speaker for specific actions as Speaker getting legislation passed and a problem solved. Maybe not a problem Novick supporters were big on, but important to this person.

    You have to find your own reasons to be inspired by any politician.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Oh, and another thing. I would not hold Steve personally accountable for everything his supporters wrote here on BO unless I had evidence he knew about it.

    Please don't blame everyone who voted for Merkley for the actions of no-class drunken louts yelling at a TV at a party.

  • (Show?)

    Congratulations to Speaker Merkley. I listened to Steve give that magnificent speech last night and call on all of us to support Jeff and that's what I am going to do.

    So he's got my vote, and he's got my commitment to do what I can to persuade anyone I know who's unsure about why we need to get rid of Gordon Smith.

    As of right now, that's all he's getting.

    We've got a President to elect and my top priority is going to be delivering Oregon's electoral votes to Barack Obama.

    It's possible that between now and November Merkley could show me a reason or reasons to do more for him. If he does, I'll respond accordingly. But neither he nor his supporters have endeared themselves to me in recent weeks and months, and -- as LT always likes to point out -- no one is "entitled" to another's support, as people have different priorities.

    So Merkley's got my support. But he'll have to earn any degree of enthusiasm.

  • JohnH (unverified)
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    LT--Merkley could not possibly have won without the $400K dropped by Chuck Schumer into his campaign coffers. No, Merkley may not be a 100% reliable vote for Schumer, but in the quid-pro-quo world of politics, Schumer gave Merkley a pretty big quid--if elected, he owes his Washington career to Schumer. It just doesn't get much more beholden than that.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    I think the editors of BO (Kari, et al) should consider having Jeff respond to alex and the others who have the same concerns dirctly with a Post from him and only him....if his handlers would let him.

  • Gene Victor (unverified)
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    Smith just got re-elected! Merkley doesn't have a chance. In a race between two professional politicians, pretty boy Smith and all his money win for sure. Even if it's a Democratic landslide in November, Oregonians like to split their ticket, and Smith will win. DSCC and SEIU made a big mistake.

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