Dueling ads in Senate race

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Gordon Smith has a new ad out - this time featuring an on-camera endorsement from former Congresswoman Elizabeth Furse and outgoing State Senator Avel Gordly. Smith touts their endorsement to suggest that he's got bipartisan cred. Apparently, the Republican brand is so bad that he's going to try and steal ours. (A tall order for the Oregon chairman of the McCain for President campaign...)

Some context: These two have blue-washing Republicans for years. In 1990, Furse led Democrats for Mark Hatfield - and in 2002, she was also a Democrat for Gordon Smith. In 1998, Avel Gordly endorsed John Lim over Senator Ron Wyden - and endorsed Gordon Smith in 2002. Of course, while Gordly just became a Democrat again (to vote for Barack Obama), she renounced the Democratic Party a long time ago.

This is nothing new and just as inexplicable as ever. (I'm still waiting for a reporter to probe the financial relationship between Furse and Smith. I won't hold my breath.)

Meanwhile, an independent group called Majority Action has started running two ads taking Gordon Smith to task for his support from the oil industry - and his inaction on energy independence.

As this campaign gets hotter (and the Washington Post's Chris Cilizza just moved Jeff Merkley up his chart), we're going to see more and more of this over the summer.

Comments

  • LiberalImage (unverified)
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    I think the Majority Action ads are a spot-on way to challenge Smith. Support for Merkley is strong, but the larger challenge is going to be convincing those who don't pay such close attention to politics that Smith does not have our best interests at heart.

  • Emily George (unverified)
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    As a former friend of Elizabeth Furse, her ad makes me want to retch. It's as if she's living in a parallel universe. Giving a speech one-time opposing the way the war is being conducted is NOT working to end the war, as evidenced by Smith's repeated votes to continue funding it and his early and strong support for "100 Years in Iraq" McCain.

  • Bob R. (unverified)
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    Could the font used in the Majority Action ads be a homage to the Great Gordon Smith Font Mystery? :-)

  • Peter Bray (unverified)
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    What's the story with Furse's uppity accent? Where is she from?

  • Peter Bray (unverified)
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    Ah yes, South Africa.

  • jamie (unverified)
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    uppity accent?????? What's that supposed to mean?!

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Bob, I noticed that as well.

    Jamie, it's not exactly Cockney, is it?

  • Robin in Portland (unverified)
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    I just saw those 2 on Smiths commercial and wanted to throw up, how the hell much did they get paid. I emailed that Avel, she will not be re-elected if she dares to run again! I am spending my hard earned money giving to Merkleys campaign only to have these 2 old biddies say they're Dems! They're no more Dem's than Dan Boren in Oklahoma or the rest of the traitors who won't endorse Obama, I am shaking!

  • Robin in Portland (unverified)
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    I just saw those 2 on Smiths commercial and wanted to throw up, how the hell much did they get paid. I emailed that Avel, she will not be re-elected if she dares to run again! I am spending my hard earned money giving to Merkleys campaign only to have these 2 old biddies say they're Dems! They're no more Dem's than Dan Boren in Oklahoma or the rest of the traitors who won't endorse Obama, I am shaking!

  • Robin in Portland (unverified)
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    I just saw those 2 on Smiths commercial and wanted to throw up, how the hell much did they get paid. I emailed that Avel, she will not be re-elected if she dares to run again! I am spending my hard earned money giving to Merkleys campaign only to have these 2 old biddies say they're Dems! They're no more Dem's than Dan Boren in Oklahoma or the rest of the traitors who won't endorse Obama, I am shaking!

  • Jackass (unverified)
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    Wait, did Gordly formally renounce her Democratic affiliation? If so, that means that the premise of this ad is patently false.

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    Avel Gordly left the DP a few years ago and recently rejoined, reportedly to vote for Obama in the primary. I don't know all the ins and outs but I believe her move to NAV partly was a matter of trying to fight against Democratic tendencies to take African-Americans for granted. Anyway, characterizing herself as a Democrat at present is true.

    Elizabeth Furse was born in Kenya of British parents and raised in South Africa, then moved to England when 19 or 20 in 1956, and was in the U.S. by the mid-1960s at latest, according to Wikipedia. I'm not sure her accent would be regarded as particularly posh in English or Anglo-South African class terms.

    As I recall, when she was in Congress representing CD 1, some of her relatively more conservative votes were spoken of in somewhat the same way as some of Darlene Hooley's have been -- it was a swing district in which she had to guard her right flank.

    It appears that the central theme of her work in the U.S. since the 1980s has been on Native American issues. Wikipedia (mis) reports part of that work this way:

    After dropping out of law school [Lewis & Clark PNSL, apparently ca. 1980], she led the efforts of several Oregon-based American Indian/Native American tribes to win federal recognition, successfully lobbying the U.S. Congress to grant federal recognition to the Coquille, Klamath, and Grand Ronde tribes.

    At least in the case of the Klamath, though I am unsure about the others, this was a restoration of federal recognition, the prior-recognized Klamath having been "terminated" in the rather chilling bureaucratese of federal forced assimilation policies in the early 1950s, one of only a handful of tribes upon whom that policy was fully enforced before it was reversed. In some ways it resembled a latter-day Dawes act, the 1880s law that among other things expropriated a great deal of prior reservation land by converting tribal tenure to private property in "severalty," defining a smallish quantum of individual property need, and selling off a consequent "surplus" to whites. Still further, borrowing against land as an expedient in the face of impoverishment in the market economy led to a great deal more land passing from Native to white hands via market mechanisms. Something of the latter happened to lands of "terminated" tribes in the 1950s.

    Anyway, since leaving Congress, Furse apparently has been Executive Director of the Institute for Tribal Government at PSU. These interests may reflect her South African background, as key elements of South African apartheid policies and their segregationist antecedents, especially in rural areas, resembled U.S. dealings with Native Americans more than U.S. anti-black racism, and in fact U.S. BIA officials used to participate regularly on international conferences on "Native Policy" with British colonial officials from territories like Kenya, and with South African "Native Affairs Department" officials prior to World War II. When Nelson Mandela visited the U.S. in the 1980s, he expressed a profound identification with Native situations and issues he encountered in the U.S. Southwest.

    Gordon Smith has been endorsed by all 13 Oregon tribal governments, and has worked assiduously to develop his influence in the relevant Senate committee. I am not sure to what extent the preservation of that seniority may influence the tribal endorsements. Although Furse stresses the peace issue in the ad, with which she also is strongly identified in the state, it may well be that politics relating to Indian policy and tribal government issues are a more substantial source of her ties to Smith.

    Native American politics tend not to fall out neatly along party lines, partly for reasons of trying to provide insurance against falling victim to shifts in partisan power, insofar as they have been able, and this in fact may also be a link between Gordly and Furse, if I am right in understanding Gordly's move to NAV as reflecting a feeling that being too "reliable" for Democrats has cost black people negotiating power within the Democratic coalition.

    The other piece is that Furse is a vineyard owner, with her husband, and it may be that they share economic interests with Smith around commercial agricultural production of non-staple grain products.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    The other piece is that Furse is a vineyard owner, with her husband, and it may be that they share economic interests with Smith

    I can guarantee you that John Platt is not supporting Gordon Smith. He's more of a Steve Novick guy.

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    back in the 80s, Furse had impeccable peace creds. she was one of 4 women who started the "Peace Train" project in which nearly 500 people went to DC to lobby on behalf of a "People's Budget" in opposition to the Reagan Administration's uber-military efforts. me, my then-wife and our 2-year-old son were part of that project: we travelled to DC from Portland on Amtrak (with hundreds of other from the West Coast), spent 3 days lobbying Congress before taking Amtrak home. it was an exciting project and i learned a ton about how our government works.

    Sen Hatfield was a major backer of our efforts, and his staff helped us make appointments to visit many members of Congress. (one very cool part of the trip: we were greeted at the Capital by Carl Sagan, who gave us a pep talk.) this was 1986, and Elisabeth's efforts to not merely protest the Reagan Administration but teach hundreds of Oregonians how to take effective action are something that had been sorely missing.

    i understand her devotion to Mark Hatfield; i understand how a Democrat could support him. but Smith? what is so disappointing about Furse's on-going support of him is that it undermines all the work she did in the peace community in the 1980s. Gordon Smith has been a major enabler of Bush's war machine, and it simply baffles me that she would be party to that (and that Gordly would, given how terribly African-Americans have suffered at the hands of Republican Administrations stretching well back before her own lietime; and if she quit the Dems for not caring about African-Americans, what the hell is she doing supporting an R?) is beyond my ken. if either is a Democrat these days, it is surely in name only.

    endorsements tend to be weak motivators, and the endorsement of two women most Oregonians don't even know won't help Gordo a bit.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    Furse is a traitor...and should be treated as such.

    Shame...shame...shame...

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    Portland State U. bullsh*t at its finest.

  • backbeat (unverified)
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    These ads make you want to throw up yet you deify Tim Russert, the guy who played lead snare drum in their march to war? This is nothing compared to what Russert did.

  • Nick from Eugene (unverified)
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    Guts on the war? That statement made me sick..guts would have been standing up to his Party's President when it mattered, not when he had to after the 2006 drubbing to reposition himself for this year's race.

  • Joe (unverified)
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    Avel Gordly left the DP a few years ago and recently rejoined, reportedly to vote for Obama in the primary. I don't know all the ins and outs but I believe her move to NAV partly was a matter of trying to fight against Democratic tendencies to take African-Americans for granted. Anyway, characterizing herself as a Democrat at present is true.

    Why don't you do the responsible thing Chris, and ask her directly before engaging in unfounded speculation about something you obviously don't have any knowledge about? I have heard reasons, that I can't verify and so won't gossip about, but which you evidence here that you truly don't have near the personal or intellectual depth to grasp.

    Actually, the ad demonstrates pretty clearly there is something terribly fetid in the DPO, and particularly the PDX metro area segment of which both Furse and Merkley are part and the leadership in the legislature, that has a lot of us who have been Democrats longer than many of you very, very concerned.

  • selenesmom (unverified)
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    "there is something terribly fetid in the DPO"

    Well Joe, this may be. Now how about helping out us newcomers with (a) a few links, so we don't have to take the say-so of some poster on the Internet and (b) your reasoned argument as to why the apparent defection of some people that I at least, as a person who is no insider but who reads the papers, had no clue even existed, is worth more of our time.

    DPO may suck [fill in your best noun here], or it may not. But what I want is to elect more and better Democrats, not to have arguments as to the motivations of some people who appear to be perhaps not all that relevant.

  • Dylan (unverified)
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    However disgusting we all think the Furse/Gordo commercials are, they seem highly effective. I don't think the gas ads included in this post are nearly as effective.

    With Gordon Smith's giant campaign warchest, Merkley and his allies have to at least win the creativity and effectiveness battles when it comes to campaign ads and they haven't done so yet.

    Alas, unless something drastically changes this will remain Smith's seat.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    (I'm still waiting for a reporter to probe the financial relationship between Furse and Smith. I won't hold my breath.)

    Willamette Week did exactly that some months ago.

    Smith has secured funding for some of Furse's pet projects.

    Here's one.

    The information is out there, Kari, if you just take time and effort to look before dissing reporters.

  • Coastal Indy (unverified)
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    Before you hit Congresswoman Furse too hard for endorsing a few Republicans, let's not forget that Congressman Blumenauer was also a chairman of Democrats for Hatfield.

    Also, who pays the bills for Majority Action? Does anyone else hate the way that these shadowy "independent" 527 pac's operate so as to give candidates plausible deniability when going negative?

  • rural resident (unverified)
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    I just saw this ad for the first time. At first, because it mentions opposition to the Iraq War, I thought it was an ad for Barack Obama. I almost fell off my chair when .... GORDON SMITH (!!!???) appeared.

    This guy's been about as opposed to the war as has Dick Cheney. Where are the Merkley folks? They should be running ads showing Gordo's many statements showing how consistently he aligns with Bush. All they have to do look at almost any statement he made from 2001-2006. If they don't become more aggressive, Gordo's going to wrap up this election by the 4th of July.

  • heartsick for my PSU (unverified)
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    Jack Bog got it right. This is how these two ex-politicians earn their keep for PSU. Furse and Gordly endorse Smith, Smith is then on the hook for delivering appropriations for PSU. Smith delivers for PSU, Furse and Gordly continued to get paid (without having to get those time-consuming PhD's).

    One more nostalgic reminder about Avel. Gordly endorsed John Lim over Wyden in 1998, but Kate Brown begged people not to run against her. She has withdrawn from the Democratic Party, I think, on several occasions (more than once) and she likely re-registered a Democrat this time, not to vote for Obama, but to cut this ad for Smith.

    It's all about Avel. It's always been all about Avel. I'm glad we're rid of her in the Senate, but if she ever runs for office again . . .

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    i understand her devotion to Mark Hatfield; i understand how a Democrat could support him.

    Can someone kindly fill me in on exactly what the Mark Hatfield cult of personality is all about? I ask as someone who moved to Oregon only a few years before Hatfield left the US Senate. My sole impression of Hatfield is as a VERY effective pork-barrel politician, as witnessed by the way his name appears on more damn buildings and public-works projects than you can shake a stick at. Yes, I know he spoke out forcefully against the Vietnam War, but so what? As far as I know, he was also perfectly happy to promote any number of wingnut policies during the Reagan and GHW Bush administrations. You sure never saw Hatfield queueing up to buck his party and endorse any Democrats, right? And wasn't he an outspoken opponent of reproductive freedom for women?

    I hear all sort of paeans to the good old days of Tom McCall, Mark Hatfield, and the Oregon GOP of yore, but quite honestly, I don't get it. Someone fill me in, please.

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    So I've been lurking about forever not saying anything (oh, don't die of shock Kari), but this one threw me so much that I had to say something. I just saw the ad and I still can't quite believe what I saw. I rewound it. Watched it again. And I'm still not quite believing it. It's incredibly surreal. It's one thing to branch from "your party" - being Americans, that's kind of the point - being able to act and speak as you see fit no matter what anyone thinks. But it's not like going from left-to-center or going from left-to-even-further-left; it's doing a 180 and, in a sense, spitting on every vote ever cast for them. Including mine.

    I'm not really sure how they sleep at night.

    As a side note - even though they're both Republicans and one has endorsed the other - you can't even compare Mark Hatfield and Gordon Smith. As Governor and a Senator, Mark Hatfield was - before anything else - an Oregonian. Agree or disagree with his politics - he was something far greater than political. Smith... I'm still not sure what Smith is, but he's no Mark Hatfield. No comparison whatsoever.

    What bothers me most is how freakin' stupid people are that they're going to buy this "bipartisanship" hook, line, and sinker. And that we're all going to be subjected to so much more over the next four/five months that our ballots will need to come with a shovel.

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    Joe, You're right, I should have left Senator Gordly out of it.

    Care to elaborate about what's fetid?

  • in the building (unverified)
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    posting anonymously so I'm not interpreted as speaking for anyone at the legislature...

    My understanding of why Avel Gordley left the Democratic Party was that the Senate Ds closed their caucus. In the 2005 session, the Senate Ds experimented with open caucuses, which means the meetings where they debated everything from whether they had the votes to pass a bill to strategy on how to handle Senate Rs procedural maneuverings was open to the press. The caucuses were closed again because many believed it didn't allow for frank discussion, and weakened their use of procedure. Gordley believed that open caucuses were vital to open government, and left the party. It was a final straw after a number of frustrations.

    As for supporting Smith, I wonder if it's because of his support for mental health programs. I don't know the details of his support (anyone?), but I've heard he's good on that issue, and it's a huge issue for Gordley.

    Over and over, I saw Gordley do things because she believed they were right, whether or not they were popular. Sometimes it was frustrating, and often her effectiveness as a senator suffered, but you kind of had to respect her because she acted on principle.

  • Joe (unverified)
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    Can someone kindly fill me in on exactly what the Mark Hatfield cult of personality is all about? I ask as someone who moved to Oregon only a few years before Hatfield left the US Senate.

    In fact, joel dan wallis, I would suggest you should do less reading here and go to the library to study Oregon's economic and political history to find out the reasons. I was not the biggest fan of Hatfield, but I respected him because the kind of "leaders" our fellow Democrats persist in elevating to office are incompetent at doing much of anything. That is, except for stroking most of those who cheerlead for them, like most of the voices you read here, by telling them how "special" they are. Frankly your willingness to shoot off your mouth in the smug way you did rather than get off your obviously lazy, ignorant butt and doing some research is further evidence of that.

  • Joe (unverified)
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    Some of you might also remember his proposal, revived during the First Gulf War (he voted against authorizing because he is genuinely pro-life) only half tongue-in-cheek, that Oregon, and I think Washington and northern California, should secede from the Union and form the nation of Cascadia because we send more dollars to D.C. than we get back. (Which is why, joel dan wallis, his "pork barrel" politics was not quite what it seems to historically uniformed people like you who don't bother to inform themselves.)

  • MKD (unverified)
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    Hey Joe, the next time you're at the library pick this up. Maybe you'll learn something.

  • Erik Sorensen (unverified)
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    Interestingly enough, Lars Larson has been blasting Sen. Smith all morning over his apparent new blue appearance. Angry "conservatives" have been calling in blasting Smith on his stance as well namely his fairly recent statements against the war and drilling in ANWAR. My question is, when a conservative like Smith is working so hard to convince Oregon voters he comes in shades of blue, what does that say about conservatism in general in Oregon?

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    <iwillamette week="" did="" exactly="" that="" some="" months="" ago.="" smith="" has="" secured="" funding="" for="" some="" of="" furse's="" pet="" projects.<="" i="">

    Pat... yes, I knew about that item in WW. But when I said "probe" I didn't mean "casually mention off-hand".

  • Dave Lister (unverified)
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    The wonderful irony of all this is that Smith's supporters are as angered by these ads as his detractors.

  • JC (unverified)
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    I have known and worked with Senator Avel Gordley for years. She is a woman of incredible integrity and passion for the issues she believes in, regardless of whether it is popular or unpopular, or if someone has an R or a D behind their name. If we had a lot more elected officials like her (regardless of party) things would look much better in Salem and Washington, DC.

    Those who worked with Senator Smith in the Oregon legislature generally speak highly of him, regardless of whether they always agreed with him or not. He was a good legislator. He was instrumental in getting the Oregon Health Plan up, running and fully funded (which is more than Jeff can claim). I'm not sure if this is why Senator Gordley supports him, or if it is because of his good work on mental health issues (a very important issue to her). Either way, regardless of her reasons why she supports Senator Smith, those on this board attacking her come off as uninformed partisan hacks.

    Avel is one hell of a lady and she can endorse whoever she wants.

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    Avel is one hell of a lady and she can endorse whoever she wants.

    Agreed. But that doesn't mean we have to like it.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    "Avel is one hell of a lady and she can endorse whoever she wants"

    <h2>Even if it means becoming a traitor to the D Party?</h2>

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