From the Washington D.C. newspaper The Hill:
Of all the bands Mike Erickson could have chosen for his May 20 victory-night party, it had to be Cuban.
Less than three months later, the GOP candidate vying for Congress against Democrat Kurt Schrader got slammed in his hometown newspaper, the Portland Oregonian, for what he claims was a humanitarian trip to Cuba in 2004.
During the trip, the newspaper reports, Erickson visited the Tropicana Nightclub, attended Fidel Castro’s Annual Gala Cigar Dinner and Auction and was slated to go to a cockfight. Erickson’s campaign manager, Jeff Harvey, said his boss did not attend the cockfight, although it was on his itinerary.
Erickson did visit museums and the Tropicana, described by the Oregonian as a “Ricky Ricardo-style club with showgirls.”
The Erickson campaign's explanation?
Harvey sees nothing ironic about Erickson hiring the Cuban band for his victory party. “I wouldn’t say it’s ironic or ask him why he’d do it,” Harvey told ITK on Tuesday. “If you like a certain kind of music, you hire a band. It’s Cuban-Latin fusion-type music. I don’t think you have to be born and raised in Cuba to appreciate good Cuban music.”
The Schrader campaign's response?
Schrader’s office did not seem surprised that Erickson had hired a Cuban band. “We’re going to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that a third of the music they played was strictly for humanitarian purposes,” said Paul Gage, Schrader’s campaign manager.
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