Battleground Oregon

Jesse Cornett

At this stage in the 2000 presidential contest Oregon wasn’t even on the political map. Based on the close race (Al Gore won Oregon by just over 6000 votes) and a very evenly divided Oregon electorate, this year things are different. Senator John Kerry (along with Teresa Heinz Kerry) will be at Waterfront Park in Portland this Friday, after having stopped over in Medford the previous day. George W. Bush will be speaking at a closed-door event on the same day in Portland (sounds like it will be in the same general timeframe, too).

The timing and location of John Kerry’s visit (almost) coincides with the Bite of Oregon (that’s right it’s no longer just the Bite of Portland). The “call time” of the event is 10 a.m., with the grand opening ceremony of the Bite occurring somewhere around noon.

Kerry will speak, apparently, just south of the Bite. I hope that folks will consider meandering over to donate $5 to help support the Oregon Special Olympics, watch Oregon’s Governor Ted Kulongoski kick off the events, and enjoy, Maggie’s Choice get the festivities started right (Maggie’s choice is a great local band with a Kulongoski staffer, Marion Hammond, as a member). In addition to the food, the Bite has many other great bands playing this weekend. From Maggie’s Choice and my personal favorite Dr. Theopolis on Friday to Pink Martini, headed up by progressive ally Thomas Lauderdale, on Sunday, the lineup is good and you might want to give it a few hours of your weekend.

Back on the subject of the campaigns, I’d be a fool to predict this is the last time you get to see our current or future president here in Oregon (though this will be a good time to see John Kerry in action). The bulk of trips we’ll have from the candidates and their surrogates will be staggering. I’ve heard that Oregon can expect one of the candidates, or a well-known figure campaigning on their behalf, on the average of once every three days.

Anyhow, this is supposedly the last stop on the big post-convention tour that Kerry started late last month in Boston (which seems like it has been years), which in itself says something about the importance of Oregon in this presidential race.

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    Hmm. So what Kerry and/or Dem office to I contact to try to get press access.

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    I thinking contacting the Kerry Oregon Office is best, though I don't really have anyway of knowing for sure. I forwarded that information along to B!x via email. If anyone else needs it, please let me know and I will forward along what I know to you.

    By the way, thanks to B!x for posting the first (I think the) blog article about the trip to Oregon and urging us to post something over here also.

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    Relevant only to the wider more general issue of the election, if people have not yet read Ron Reagan's dissection of President Bush in Esquire, do so.

  • Gordie (unverified)

    Note that Kerry's visit to Medford will be the first time a Democratic presidential nominee has visited there--heck, anywhere in Jackson County in over 50 years. Oregon is indeed a battleground.

  • hilsy (unverified)

    Keeping to the non-political part of the post, playing right after Pink Martini on Sunday at 8 pm is '80s Oregon ska-party band, the Crazy 8s. I caught their reunion show this last Saturday night at the Roseland. After using the first few songs to warm up, an older, heavier, but still amazing band blew the crowd away. I wasted many brain cells and ear cilia seeing these guys back in the late '80s. And their more political songs sound all too relevant today: "Law & Order," "Don't You Really Want to Know," and "Johnny Q Public."

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    I think both candidates see the writing on the wall about Oregon's status as a "battleground state." Bush will continue to pay lip service to his viability here, mainly because he doesn't want to look like he's in full retreat.

    What's more interesting is that Portland has become a kind of safe haven for Dems. We reliably have huge, enthusiastic crowds. Sort of Little Beirut in reverse. I think the Kerry Kamp may continue to come to Oregon if for no other reason than we are a welcome friend.

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    Via email today:

    Jon Bon Jovi and Leonardo DiCaprio will now be joining John Kerry at the rally in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, August 13, for the final stop on the Kerry-Edwards "Believe in America Tour." Jon Bon Jovi will be performing live.

    Heaven help us.

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