In an unusual move, Democratic primary challenger Jeff Reardon collected the endorsements of 10 Democratic state legislators in his bid to unseat Rep. Mike Schaufler.
But today, a group of 10 lawmakers who will actually have to work with Schaufler if he wins re-election, showed backbone that the special interest groups lack. It's rare to see Democrats desert one of their own in a primary, but Reardon's campaign announced this morning that 10 lawmakers are doing just that.
The legislators include: State Senator Rod Monroe (D-Portland/Clackamas County), State Rep. Dave Hunt (D-Clackamas County), Sen. Chip Shields (D-N/NE Portland), Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), Sen. Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward (D-NW Portland/Beaverton), Sen. Jackie Dingfelder (D-NE/SE Portland), Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-NE/SE Portland), State Rep. Chris Harker (D-Washington County) and Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene/Veneta).
Why is this unusual? It's a primary, for one thing. In the entire time I've been paying attention to local politics, I can't think of a time when this many Dem office holders came out for a challenger AGAINST a seated incumbent.
I suspect Schaufler's history of shady, sometimes ugly, behavior is behind a lot of this. Schaufler's questionable (but legal) use of campaign donations for personal expenses prompted calls for changes to Oregon's laws governing how campaign dollars are spent.
In October of last year, Schaufler was accused of groping the breast of a Bureau of Labor and Industries staffer at an AFL-CIO event. Schaufler initially denied the allegation, but later came clean. He was disciplined by House leadership, stripped of his committee chairmanship and seat with the House Committee on Business and Labor.
Bizarrely, the AFL-CIO decided to endorse Schaufler for this race, as did Planned Parenthood and NARAL. All of them citing that Schaufler has been a solid vote for their issues.
I get that they like the way that the guy votes..but the optics on these endorsements are terrible. The specific cited incidents aside, Schaufler has a well known reputation in the Capitol for treating women with disdain and with disrespect. I've had my own first hand experience with him along those lines as well.
I'm most personally disappointed in Planned Parenthood & NARAL, who could have easily given the endorsements to the pro-choice Reardon. Or stayed neutral. As it is, Planned Parenthood engaged me earlier this year to hold a fundraising house party this summer for them. I felt obligated to send them an email this week letting them know that I could not support an organization that was endorsing Mike Schaufler. Anyone who treats women as badly as Schaufler does (even if his vote is good) isn't worthy of it.