Looking ahead to 2010 in the 5th District

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

We've talked quite a bit around here about the 2010 race for Governor. But we haven't talked much at all about the 2010 race for Congress in Oregon's 5th District.

After all, it's well-known in hackworld and in academia that the best chance you've got to knock out a Member of Congress is in their first two re-election campaigns.

And that history is borne out in the 5th. In 1994, Mike Kopetski (D) was defeated in his second re-election attempt by Jim Bunn (R). Two years later, Bunn was defeated by Darlene Hooley (D) in his first shot at it.

[Update: Kopetski declined to run for re-election, making it an open seat. Thanks to Jeff Mapes for the correction. That's what I get for late-night blogging.]

So, if the Republicans are gunning for Schrader, now's the time.

And sure enough, millionaire playboy Mike Erickson - who lost 54 to 38 to Schrader - is already talking about a third run for Congress. Congressional Quarterly reports this week that Erickson is "actively considering a 2010 campaign" despite having spent $3.7 million in his two failed attempts.

Of course, having turned into a parody of a candidate in 2008 (beset by scandal, using urban legends as campaign arguments), as Swing State Project notes, "We could only be so lucky."

And while the prospect of a third shellacking of the millionaire "humanitarian" sounds like fun, 5th District Republicans are unlikely to nominate him again.

As I noted two years ago, the 5th District has a long and deep bench of Republicans that could make a reasonable run for Congress - probably the deepest bench in the state. There's former congressional candidates Jim Zupancic, Brian Boquist, Fred Girod, and Scott Bruun. There's former county commissioner and current state legislator Bill Kennemer - and former GOP majority leader Wayne Scott. State Reps. Kim Thatcher, Vicki Berger, and Vic Gilliam are surely chafing at the Democratic supermajority. And don't forget Kevin Mannix - who may be a four-time statewide loser (and once to Mike Erickson), but who has always been strong in the 5th.

On top of all that, the 5th District isn't favorable territory. As another post on Swing State Project notes, the 5th is one of just 52 districts across the country that voted twice for George W. Bush and then voted for Barack Obama.

If 2010 doesn't turn out to be as strong a Democratic year as 2008, expect Kurt Schrader to face heavier sledding. To get involved with Kurt's campaign visit KurtSchrader.com or make a donation on ActBlue.

(Hat tip on the CQ Erickson item to Nothstine.)

Comments

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    [Full disclosure: I worked on Darlene Hooley's 1996 campaign. My firm manages Kurt Schrader's campaign website. I speak only for myself.]

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    However, Kari, if Oregon gets a 6th seat due to the census, will that influence this race before the race for the new seat kicks in after the 2010 census....or is that too far into the future?

  • Jeff Mapes (unverified)
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    Thanks for the heads-up about Mike Erickson. However, it's inaccurate to say that Mike Kopetski was defeated by Jim Bunn in 1994. Actually, Kopetski did not run for reelection and Bunn defeated Democrat Catherine Webber in the 5th that year.

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    Thanks, Jeff. I knew that. Good lord, I met Catherine Webber during that race. That'll teach me to blog after midnight.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Schrader is the right kind of Dem. for the 5th. I think he will keep the seat.

  • party animule (unverified)
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    So, I have to ask, out of perverse curiosity... A ways back, most expressed support for the spouse of a candidate running for their seat, if they move up to whatever. Some found that unseemly. How do those that support the practice feel about that spouse running for the 5th? I doubt many would see that as a +, but, frankly, I don't see the difference.

    (What is the deal with typepad having a timeout for entering a comment? If you leave to do something in the middle of typing, when you come back you get an insipid message box, when you submit, saying, "we're sorry, we cannot accept this data". Is people's adding text to an unattended post something hot to eningeer for? the way it jumps back up the page, after you scroll to the comment area, when you click in the comment area is just a groidy bug. The real long delay between posting and seeing the comment that some experience, seems to be an IE/XP problem, though that makes little sense.)

  • Marshall Collins (unverified)
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    I think that Schrader can definitely keep a hold on the seat but it will still be a very exciting and interesting campaign to watch. I am very interested to see the Republican Primary. I think with the size of the district and the deep bench it could be a good indicator as to where their party as a whole stands. Will moderation and "big tent" approaches win or will it be a race to the bottom pissing match of who is "more conservative".

  • LT (unverified)
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    As a resident of the 5th District, I wonder where you came up with those names. And yes, as someone who worked on the 1994 primary and general elections, I think Kari should blog when he is wide awake.

    Our friend who still has the Jackie Winters for Congress bumper sticker on the back bumper is unlikely to vote for Zupancic. Does anyone believe Mannix can successfully run for anything again after past performance? Is Vicki Berger just someone's surmise, or has she actually said anything publicly?

    Wayne Scott?? After what he did as Majority Leader he would think he had a chance in Marion County, the coast, etc?

    Would Fred Girod's voting record survive scrutiny outside of rural Marion County? Is Brunn known outside his legislative district? Does Boquist really want to run again in what may be a Democratic year? How well would he do in Clackamas County and the coast?

    I suspect unless there are some really dumb votes (hard to believe that could happen) or a truly serious candidate (someone like St. Sen. Frank Morse) that Kurt will probably win re-election, no matter what the national GOP may think or surmises on a blog may speculate.

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    LT -- I didn't mean to say those folks could win, but merely that they might be inclined to run. And yes, it's mostly just my surmise... which is the whole point of a speculative post like this.

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    How do those that support the practice feel about that spouse running for the 5th?

    Huh? What are you driving at? Are you suggesting that Martha challenge Kurt?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Thanks, Kari.

    "Inclined to run" is one thing--although March is less than 6 months after the previous election. How many political junkies care about this sort of thing this early?

    As a rule, speculation by political "professionals" doesn't often turn out to be accurate. For instance, who knew in March 2007 that Darlene Hooley would retire, that after a hotly contested primary Jeff Merkley would defeat Gordon Smith, that the young man from Chicago would be the first African American President? Not to mention the flameout of 5th Dist. GOP 2008 primary where neither candidate looked very good.

    As far as "the Republicans" choosing a candidate in 2010, it will not be the state party which makes the decision, it will be registered Republicans as of the registration deadline in 2010. That could include people who are not yet old enough to vote, people who aren't now registered with a party who might see a contested primary as a reason to register with that party (as some Democrats did in Dec. 1995 to support Norma Paulus over Gordon Smith for US Senate). It seems rather early to speculate who those individuals would be, much less how they would vote. Have you actually talked to any of them? If not it is rank speculation, like trying to guess who will win the 2010 World Series. And what if someone not on your list runs--a local elected official, a former legislator, etc?

    Yes, I know this blog was designed to be a home for political junkies. But my guess is you don't live in the 5th District and at least late at night have little knowledge of the history of this district.

    As someone active in the 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1994 campaigns and at least slightly involved in the others, I think I fit the category of political junkie and have the right to wonder at the worth of March 2009 candidate speculation.

  • pacnwjay (unverified)
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    I disagree, LT. I've lived in the 5th for over half my life, and find the thread both interesting and useful. Plus, if someone is thinking about running (maybe a Patti Milne) now is the time they start asking around, putting thought into who else might run, gauging their chances.
    Of course we are a world away from the 2010 election, but it very well could be the small things that happen now that would push someone into a race... or out of it!

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Kari Chisholm:

    So, if the Republicans are gunning for Schrader, now's the time.

    Bob T:

    But there's more to it than just the timing. Bunn proved to be an idiot when it came to walking the talk, and didn't it come out that Kopetski had a serious drinking problem, meaning he would have lost had he actually run again? All Schraedar has to do is remember that people are watching, often enough. Don't give your new girlfriend a high-paying staff job. Don't act like you have the job for life, and so on. (Another good example of a one-term loser is Tim Mahoney of Florida, the jerk who won Rep. Foley's old seat in 2006).

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Urban Planning Overlord (unverified)
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    Fortunately, Schrader is a pretty common-sensical democrat, a seemingly perfect fit for this district, as was Darlene Hooley. Unless he surprises and disappoints us, he should stay for a while.

    It's unfortunate that the 4th district doesn't have some Republicans willing to take on Smoot Hawley DeFazio the economic illiterate. Hopefully he'll run for Governor and get whomped in the primary, so that his seat will be open and someone who won't do as much collateral damage to Oregon's economy can fill it.

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    The fact is that most of those who are going to decide to run will do it within the next few months. After all, they need a good year or so for fundraising, and we're just over a year out from the primary right now.

  • LT (unverified)
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    " didn't it come out that Kopetski had a serious drinking problem,"

    Mike ended up in court for DUII because apparently he got lost on his way home one night from a party. None of us were there so we don't know for sure what happened. But as someone who had known him from the early 1980s, it seems just as possible that his workaholic streak plus having a few too many and being stupid enough not to take a cab home had as much to do with it as anything.

    He is not here to defend himself. He'd been around long enough to have worked on one of the last Wayne Morse campaigns, was campaign manager (as I recall) on the victorious 1976 Frank Church for President campaign, ran in the original 5th District primary in 1982 (if we get a 6th cong. district, people are going to find out what a challenge it is to run in a district which did not previously exist), was elected to the legislature, ran and lost a recount for Congress in 1988, ran and won in 1990.

    Whatever happened after that, few people here have a political resume like the above, so please do not defame a man who can't defend himself unless you have absolute proof.

    Jenni, the primary is a year away from May. It is my guess that lots of residents of the 5th District would not be happy with what would seem like a never ending campaign. We are in a time of financial upset, and it may be that people who think they have a great candidate would not be able to raise the money they thought necessary because of the economy.

    Even if Cong. Schrader did something stupid (not likely) and Republicans were able to raise a lot of money, their classic attack ads haven't worked very well recently. Even if they had enough money to run ads every hour on the hour (as it sometimes seemed Gordon Smith did in Jan. 1996), that alone would not win an election.

    I believe a new campaign paradigm may well be emerging: if a candidate can't stop attacking long enough to present a vision for the future and a plan to carry it out, if a Republican candidate couldn't win over, for instance, our friend who still has the Jackie for Congress bumper sticker on the back bumper of his van, if a candidate is not willing to show up in communities large and small all over the district, if a cmpaign can't complete the sentence, "Our candidate__ would be a better member of Congress than Schrader because__" then all the wishes of the RNC, Republican cong. campaign committee, ORGOP, etc. are not going to force those who voted for Schrader in 2008 to change their minds just because that is what the Republicans want.

    Look at the growing number of people who don't register with major parties. Look at the number of people who voted for Measure 65 (yes, it failed, but would an appeal to support a political party work with those folks?) and then talk to someone who had previously voted Republican for Congress who voted for Schrader if only out of disgust for Erickson.

    If such voters can't be persuaded to vote R for Congress in 2010, all the money and party input that can be mustered won't matter.

    Anyone here besides me who worked for all or part of the 1980s trying to defeat Denny Smith?

    Oh, and Posted by: pacnwjay | Mar 27, 2009 2:08:27 PM

    Patty Milne, are you serious?

    Do you really think a candidate can win a congressional election here without standing in front of groups of voters and answering their questions? Unless she had mellowed in recent years, I don't think Milne has that gift--esp. if someone in an audience in Clackamas County or at the coast asked a question she wasn't prepared for.

    BTW, you may be right about the small things. My advice if Berger was giving it any thought would be to have a heart to heart talk with our St. Sen. Jackie Winters about the experience of running for Congress. Having worked on all those 5th Dist. elections (before and after the district involved areas on the coast), I don't think anyone who has never worked on a cong. campaign understands the diversity of this district, geographically and otherwise.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    LT:

    Whatever happened after that, few people here have a political resume like the above, so please do not defame a man who can't defend himself unless you have absolute proof.

    Bob T:

    That's why it was a question, LT.

    And if anyone with a resume like that turned out to have a drinking problem, the resume wouldn't matter.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    Kurt is a great fit for the district, is a smart politician, won by a lot last time and will probably win by 10% or more every year. With Hooley, some people always said the sky was falling and she might lose, but she always won by at least 10 points. Bunn won narrolwy in '94 because it was a very R year and it was an open seat. The district numbers are close, and no one can take it for granted, but Kurt can expect to serve for many years.

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    LT-- Mike isn't dead, is he? If he feels a need to defend himself, he's welcome to comment here himself.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Kari--Do you know for a fact that someone roughly 60 years old (and from what I hear, working in international trade) would read this or any blog?

    Last year I had the "gall" (according to some people) to quote a friend of mine in the over 60 age group on a hot topic. He had called me and said he liked what I was writing on a hot topic here on BO and to not let critics get me down. He read BO but never commented. I suggested he post that here and he said, Blog? I barely even email!

    Now, there may be Blue Oregonians who think anyone who has an opinion should post it here because this is the center of the universe. To them I would say GET A LIFE!

    One of the great disappointments when Mike left Congress was that a bunch of us saw him at an election event (whether primary or general I don't recall) in 1994, but although he had bought a home nearby few of us saw him after that.

    Personally, I don't think it is the duty of former public figures to read all blogs and "stand up for themselves" if attacked. Seems to me that is what friends are for.

    If Blue Oregonians believe they are the center of the political universe and everyone who has ever been in public life should monitor this blog, I believe they are wrong.

    Many people here are of a younger generation than those of us in the neighborhood of 60. The lives of those old enough to remember Wayne Morse and JFK are often of the off-line variety, and they have the right to that.

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    LT... Maybe it's time for you to take a break, because you're spinning yourself into circles again.

    Now, there may be Blue Oregonians who think anyone who has an opinion should post it here because this is the center of the universe.

    Nobody said that. I said that if Mike Kopetski (or anyone, for that matter) feels he's being unfairly maligned, then he should stick up for himself.

    Personally, I don't think it is the duty of former public figures to read all blogs and "stand up for themselves" if attacked. Seems to me that is what friends are for.

    I agree. That is what are friends are for. But that's not what you said. You didn't defend Mike K, you suggested that no one had a right to say anything about him at all.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I like Mike Kopetski. I think he's a good guy. I think it's a tragedy that he's no longer in politics. I think there's no point to bringing up old mistakes.

    But you seem to keep arguing on post after post that BlueOregon is a meaningless bunch of drivel, written by people who have no idea what they're talking about, and populated by commenters who insult your intelligence.

    Which makes me wonder: Why do you read it?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Kari, you miss my point.

    "Nobody said that. I said that if Mike Kopetski (or anyone, for that matter) feels he's being unfairly maligned, then he should stick up for himself."

    For someone to have an opinion on how a blog has treated them, and in order to decide whether he needs to "stick up for himself", wouldn't that person have to know Blue Oregon exists and to have read this topic?

    I know Mike has lived in DC and overseas since leaving Congress. What makes you assume he has read BO?

    How should I have "defended" my old friend from a charge almost 15 years old? I wasn't in DC in the early 1990s, I am not privy to what went on, but is there any evidence of truth to this? Or doesn't that matter because this is just a blog and truth doesn't really matter?

    Do you really agree that anyone with a drinking problem should be barred forever from public life?

    And if anyone with a resume like that turned out to have a drinking problem, the resume wouldn't matter.

    Bob Tiernan

    Now, if someone wants to say that anyone who has ever been in court for DUII should leave public life forever, that would have spared us W--if he'd ever been in court for that old DUII which his campaign tried so hard to suppress. But who sets that standard? How to define "drinking problem"?

    Is that a standard we want to impose?

    And to your last line, Kari, sometimes I wonder why I bother reading BO.

    Maybe because once in awhile there is actual news here?

    Maybe because there I times I think I have something to contribute?

    Today I got another email in an exchange with a Democratic state rep. over a piece of legislation.

    It included this paragraph.

    "I enjoy reading your comments on Blue Oregon -- I really read them! or at least many of them -- and agree with you at least 90% of the time. In particular, I appreciate the fact you keep the public interest (not party or special interest) squarely in front. And your reminders about how "real people" -- that is, not Blue Oregon bloggers -- see politics are helpful."

    I have heard similar things from friends.

    Didn't you once publish statistics on the number of people who just read BO vs. the number who actually comment?

    At its best, BO is a forum for intelligent debate of the sort people used to have to be in the same room to carry on--the sort of discussions we used to have during state central committee meetings, not only in the meetings themselves but in hallways, during meals etc.

    But Kari, you should be aware that there have been offline and email communications from those of us not young and not living in the Portland area that sometimes this blog seems not only Portland-centric but "political consultant-centric" as if there isn't a long standing volunteer activist base in this state.

    Also, there seem to be a lot of strange posts on comments from a previous year.

    What ever happened to BO 2.0?

    It is your blog, and if you only want people here who see things from a particular perspective, so be it.

    I've always been big on rumor control. All the way back more than 30 years ago when a woman I knew said of a local legislator's spouse, "she is his second wife, you know".

    I thought about that for awhile, and remembered the wife talking about the first home they had after moving to Oregon, complete with the old, inexpensive, cinderblock bookshelves and other such furniture.

    I said "How do you know that? Was his marriage to his first wife ended before he moved to Oregon?".

    At that point, she began to wonder where she had heard the rumor and apologized for not knowing exactly where she had heard it.

    That's all I was saying here:

    a) a person can't "defend himself" on BO if he has never read BO and doesn't know he has been attacked (do you know for a fact he knows about the accusation?)

    b) Was anyone here living in DC in the early 1990s with more evidence than has so far been put forth here?

    Oh, and one more thing about DUII and public opinion.

    Years ago, I recall debate about push-polls. One such pollster made a big mistake--it truly would have been a random call because I doubt anyone would have called the number intentionally.

    The push poll asked "Suppose I told you that _(Democratic incumbent) had been arrested for DUII 3 times....".

    The call hit the phone of a radio commentator who knew the Democratic incumbent---and knew he had been stopped for DUII once, a far cry from being arrested 3 times!

    So, the radio commentary the next day was, "What are push polls? They are like the call I got last night...." and correcting the rumor started by the push poll.

    If anyone has evidence from 15 years ago that goes beyond the "anyone with a drinking problem" chatter here, by all means bring it up.

    But any blog whose administrator assumes anyone mentioned on the blog will know about it although they have left public life, and therefore should "stand up" for themselves, strikes me as the definition of hubris.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Oh, and one more thing.

    I think Kurt will win re-election to the 5th District and anyone short of the seriousness level of St. Sen. Frank Morse doesn't have a chance of defeating Kurt, absent some major mistake.

    That is the supposed topic of this post, isn't it?

  • AJ526 (unverified)
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    Jeff Kropf should be mentioned as well, and I think Rep. Cameron would be a good candidate too...

  • (Show?)

    Do you really agree that anyone with a drinking problem should be barred forever from public life? ... Is that a standard we want to impose?

    LT, somehow in all your rambling, you managed to miss the second-to-last paragraph I wrote:

    Now, don't get me wrong. I like Mike Kopetski. I think he's a good guy. I think it's a tragedy that he's no longer in politics. I think there's no point to bringing up old mistakes.

    So, the answer to your question is - quite obviously: No.

  • (Show?)

    For someone to have an opinion on how a blog has treated them, and in order to decide whether he needs to "stick up for himself", wouldn't that person have to know Blue Oregon exists and to have read this topic?

    Um, LT, how exactly would you have us this put into practice? Are you arguing that we should bar commenters from making any statements about people unless we've verified that those people are aware that BlueOregon exists? Or are you arguing that we should proactively notify everyone who is mentioned in a comment?

    What, exactly, are you proposing as a standard policy?

    Or is it enough to assume that most people know how to use Google, that public figures have Google Alerts set up to send an email whenever a new page goes up, and - barring that - that a former Congressman from Oregon might have a personal friend or two who happens to know that BlueOregon exists?

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    <h2>Let me get this straight--his Duii was due to having a few too many and stupidly driving, and then being arrested for it, by LTs admission. So...this differs from the DUI offense that we all condemn and rightly shame people for...how? And yet the intent was to write it off as workaholism? I think that's ugly.</h2>

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