Greg Walden & Tom DeLay

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Greg walden
As CongressCritter Tom DeLay slides toward his inevitable political demise, it's worth asking - Just how close is Oregon's own Congressman Greg Walden to Tom DeLay?

Here's one answer from the DCCC's House of Scandal website:

Greg Walden has taken $4,342 from Tom DeLay's ARMPAC. No surprise that Walden voted with Tom DeLay 94% of the time between Jan. 1 2004 and March 31 2005.

Funny, I thought Greg Walden was supposed to be a moderate... Of course, back in November, we here at BlueOregon couldn't get a straight answer outta the guy on the DeLay ethics vote. (He eventually voted to protect DeLay.)

Over in Connecticut, Democrats are keeping tabs on their so-called moderate, Rep. Nancy Johnson, with the Johnson Watch website. They're demanding that she join her Connecticut Republican colleague Chris Shays in asking DeLay to step down as Majority Leader.

Of course, Walden would be an even stronger voice - as he's a member of the GOP leadership. As his site points out, he's "one of only 17" deputy majority whips in the House.

So, Greg, what'll it be? Will you call on DeLay to resign? Will you lead by example - or just wait for the guy to resign before you tell us that you were really working behind the scenes to make it happen?

Methinks it's time for more phone calls:
D.C. (202) 225-6730
Medford (541) 776-4646
Bend (541) 389-4408

  • (Show?)

    This is Walden's opportunity to clear the slate with his fellow Oregonian's and demonstrate he is a moderate, by supporting true House ethical behavior. Walden swallowed the DeLay message willingly. He's got a challenge ahead of him if he thinks dancing with the GOP wolves in Washington is going to sit well with his Oregon constituents.

    Just like Senator Gordon Smith giving Frist a qualified "Yes" on the nuclear option back in Washington and then writing to his constituents, "It is my sincere hope that a change of the Senate rules will not be necessary to ensure that the Senate can fulfill it's duty to vote on judicial nomination."

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)

    I am surprised that anyone considers Greg Walden a moderate. He is part of the (large) right-wing fringe of the Republican party.

    We shouldn't help him cast himself as moderate. Given how much he spent on his last race (which he was virtually assured of winning), it's reasonable to speculate he intends to seek a statewide office, perhaps governor or senator.

    To win statewide, he'll need to appeal to moderates. He may be trying to re-invent himself so he can pick up votes in Portland. But don't be fooled; he's no Mark Hatfield. He's closer to Tom DeLay.

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    Bert... Sarcasm, my friend.

    My point is that if he's going to go claiming he's a moderate, then he ought to follow the lead of moderate Chris Shays and pitch DeLay overboard.

  • Aaron (unverified)

    To say that Congressman Walden is a close crone of Congressman DeLay and is tainted based on Delay's personal like saying State Senator Ryan Deckert and State Representative Mark Hass are sweat shop enforcers and anti-EOE...donations from Nike. I am not defending DeLay past actions, nor I am saying that Walden is the prefect liberal Republican either. But don't label someone a crone of someone for taking small amount that is less than 1% of total donations.

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    Kari, My guess is that DeLay won't resign until after the 2006 elections, and then only if the Republicans do more poorly than expected.

    Right now, DeLay is the most prolific fundraiser the Democrats have. This is what eventually pulled down Gingrich--he became an electoral liability in 1998.

    Given the depth of support for DeLay among conservative activists and fundraisers, and his success in pushing the Republican agenda in Congress, he'll have to become a liability, not just an embarassment, before the GOP boots him.

    I don't think Walden can risk alienating DeLay. Politically, this could be career suicide for an ambitious Republican. That assumes Walden wants to stay in the House. If he wants to run for Governor, it's good advice.

  • K. Sudbeck (unverified)

    When is Senator Byrd going to resign?

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    So far, I think I am the only Second District person responding here, except that Bert used to be (Prineville misses you Bert).

    Rep. Walden has had an excellent propaganda machine operating over here. The newspapers tend to only publish his press releases about the great things he is doing for our district. We are working on changing that formula some. I have a letter to the editor in for tomorrows paper, that begins to pull the covers off of Walden's real support for the extremist agenda, and we have an abbreviated summary of his partisan votes up on the Crook Co. Democratic party website. -- Walden has voted against farmers as part of straight party votes!

    In any case, what we need to do is have more noise from the Second District about Walden. I hope that all of us spread around the 20 or so Counties that make up this District start to make more noise, because the average guy on the street just doesn't know what Walden does or doesn't do - the information isn't getting through the press.

    We, the Crook Co. Dem's will be running paid ads about Walden starting next month. Our main newspaper censored our last ad about Sen. Whitsett, but we have found a well read alternative press to handle this (a weekly little paper).

    So, please, less talk, more action!

    (Contact me about making contributions to the Crook Co. Democratic Central Committee if you can't think of anything else to do!)

  • Daniel (unverified)

    Can someone please tell me what laws/rules that Rep. DeLay violated. Anyone?

    Daniel's Political Musings

  • Gordie (unverified)

    Living in the far western edge of District 2, the view in this part of Josephine County isn't any different than anywhere else in District 2. Democrats don't stand a chance of winning this seat, at least until another 100,000+ folks move from Portland to Bend. Walden's certainly not a moderate; he's a pretty vanilla religious conservative.

    If Walden has statewide ambitions, of course he's going to pretend he's more moderate than he really is. When DeFazio campaigns here in JoCo (we're split between Districts 2 & 4), he also pretends he's more moderate than he really is...what a surprise. In the meanwhile, if the average person in the WV liked him, that would probably mean he's doing something wrong to his average supporter here.

    I agree that with Walden lacking in seniority, he has to play the game, which means supporting DeLay. His voting record for DeLay is lopsided the way that the other Oregon representatives are lopsided in supporting Pelosi. Again, what a surprise with the partisanship in DC.

    But, one has to figure that Walden is playing the game pretty well with a couple of the jobs he's maybe he does like DeLay, or at least DeLay likes him. Regardless, he's certainly not going to open his mouth against DeLay.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    Gordie, Gordie, Gordie -

    So Democrats don't have a snowball's chance in the Second District?

    One word, a name actually - Wyden.

    Sen. Wyden gets great support in the Second District. He won 25% more of the vote in Crook County than did John Kerry. Democrats can win in the Second District, and often do. Half the elected officials in Crook County are Democrats. Since I have lived here, 15 years, we have been represented by Democrats in the State House of Representatives for 5 of those years. 18% of the Democrats in Oregon live in the Second District. (Five Districts, 20% per District would be even, we aren't that far behind!)

    Gordie - write a letter to the Editor there in Grants Pass or whatever part of Josphine County you are in, or Medford if you don't have a local paper; and blast Walden! We can beat this guy if we wear him down. Link him to DeLay, he votes with him 94% of the time and has accepted thousands of dollars of donations from DeLay! If its a party line vote, Walden votes against the interests of his District most of the time (see Walden's voting record on our website -

    Gordie, don't just lay back and take it, do something! Make us all proud you are in the Second District!

  • LT (unverified)

    Good for you, Steve! Let's quit this geographic stereotyping!

    As far as Democrats not winning in the 2nd district, a bit of history. Prior to the 1980 census, there were 4 Congressional districts in Oregon. Look it up--there was one which covered both Salem and E. Oregon. There was a Democrat in that seat long enough to become the Chair of House Ways and Means.

    Anytime you hear a Republican suggest a Value Added Tax, remember that is part of how Denny Smith unseated Al Ullman. And that is why some Democrats aren't thrilled by those who want to unseat a Democratic incumbent--word was that Denny Smith didn't raise serious money until after the primary, when an unknown got 45% of the vote. And as I recall, it was still a close election--if there hadn't been a 3rd party candidate, Denny might not have won.

  • CT05 Admin (unverified)

    Visit us on the web Johnson watchers, wherever you are. Nancy Johnson is a moderate in name only.

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    A I posted just the other day, "Notably, Oregon's lone Republican in the House, Greg Walden, is not supporting the Smith "no cuts to Medicaid" approach."

    In 1993, Walden led the effort to get the 10-cent tobacco tax and the Oregon Health Plan - Oregon's Medicaid expansion - off and running. Now when Oregon's and the Nation's Medicaid system is facing significant threats, where's Walden? He's helping to silence the majority.

  • Gordie (unverified)

    Wyden and Walden did share something in common when it comes to comparing their vote totals, opposition essentially in name only. Of course Wyden did better against King than Kerry did against Bush. The same is true about Walden and McColgan, except that Walden won even far more easily. The votes for legislature in Oregon are a different personality than those for DC.

    Our Grants Pass Daily Courier prints mostly blue letters here in a mostly red area, and they are mostly ignored...noise level doesn't equate to votes in this part of conservative country. Saying that Walden votes like DeLay is just asking to be's a "so what" statement--a waste of credibility, unless something turns up that implicates Walden in some sort of sordid activity.

    Not to be overly negative myself, but endless criticism won't be enough to topple a solid red incumbent in a very red district. Obviously that doesn't mean one shouldn't spend effort building towards a window of opportunity, but I emphasize the word building.

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    And that is why some Democrats aren't thrilled by those who want to unseat a Democratic incumbent... I recall, it was still a close election--if there hadn't been a 3rd party candidate, Denny might not have won.

    The same could be said for Kulongoski in 2002.

    There's a big difference between going after an unpopular incumbant in a party primary, as Pete Sorenson is doing, and running as a 3rd Party candidate or as an independent in a general election, as Tom Cox did when he helped Governor Kulongoski beat Kevin Mannix in 2002.

    I ask again, what difference does it really make whether we elect a Democrat or a Republican if the policy outcomes are still going against us? Speaking as someone who has never voted for an R, I'd vote for a Republican like Tom McCall over a Democrat like our incumbent governor any day.

    I didn't agree with him on a lot of issues, but at least McCall was a progressive who was willing to stand up for the public interest against wealthy special interests on taxes and development. And, more importantly, he was willing to break ranks and criticize powerful members of his own party when it was the right thing to do. For example he was one of the first R's to demand Nixon's resignation after the Watergate scandal broke.

    Kulongoski sent a budget to the legislature that cut $14 million from Head Start, and trimmed the Oregon Health Plan from 200,000 recipients to 30,000. If a Republican Governor did that, people on this list would be screaming bloody murder. Is it fair, or sensible to give Kulongoski a free pass just because he's "on our side of the aisle". Is partisan politics really that much more important than good public policy?

    Our governor cut revenues for schools but hasn't even put reducing tax expenditures for large corporations on the table as a possible source of revenue. This, despite the fact that these companies, which accounted for 20-25 percent of Oregon income taxes when McCall was governor, now account for roughly 6 percent, and that according to what I've seen, Oregon has one of the lowest income tax rates in the country for corporations.

    Kulongoski led the charge on PERS. Why isn't he leading the charge against the energy companies that collected something like $500,000,000 from ratepayers for state, local, and federal taxes yet payed only the minimum in state and federal taxes? As an advocate for school funding, shouldn't he demanding that these corporations hand over money they've taken under the false pretenses of paying taxes that they never paid?

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    Salvador, you write what difference does it really make whether we elect a Democrat or a Republican if the policy outcomes are still going against us?

    Do you seriously believe that the policy outcomes would have been exactly the same if Kevin Mannix were governor today?

    Sure, Kulongoski hasn't been a hardcore liberal - but let's speak a little truth here: He didn't campaign as a hardcore liberal either.

    He was dead-on crystal clear during that campaign, for example, that he would seek to 'live within our means' and prove to Oregonians that we could handle money responsibly.

    You may not like it, but he did win two very tough campaigns - first in the primary and then in the general. Oregonians knew what they were getting when they voted for him.

    Of course, I have my policy quibbles - and wishes that he would prioritize this or that, but I'm very clear on one thing: Kevin Mannix would have made for a terrible governor and would have devastated our public infrastructure.

    [Disclaimer: I built the Kulongoski campaign's website in 2002, and hope to do so again in 2006. I do not, however, speak for the campaign.]

  • (Show?)

    Of course, I have my policy quibbles - and wishes that he would prioritize this or that, but I'm very clear on one thing: Kevin Mannix would have made for a terrible governor and would have devastated our public infrastructure.

    Since when did Kevin Mannix become the yardstick by which we measure a good Democratic governor, Kari?

    Look at the policy that I'm asking for. What does insisting that companies pay their taxes when they collect money from rate-payers for that purpose have to do with being a hardcore liberal? If funding for Head Start and pre-k-12 is a hard-core liberal position, then why does Oregon lag behind progressive bastions like Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, and West Virginia in pre-k-12 enrollment? If budget is the concern, how is it that Christine Gregoire, who faces a darker revenue forecast in Washington, can find money for it?

    Is it really so unreasonable for us to expect our Democratic Governor to show some leadership on those sorts of issues in Oregon?

    As of 2004, Democrats have a 68,000 voter registration advantage over Republicans in Oregon. During the 2004 cycle, our candidate and party committees raised and spent roughly $2,300,000 more than the Republicans. Do you really believe that we can't win with a more progressive candidate in "Blue Oregon"? And by "more progressive", I mean Darlene Hooley, Peter DeFazio, Bill Bradbury, etc.

    I realize that a lot of people don't like the idea of criticizing an incumbant governor at the start of a primary season. And the truth is, if I were more concerned with my self-interest than I am with the public interest, then I wouldn't even consider doing it. But in my view, we owe it to our core constituencies to hold this governor's feet to the fire a little during this primary.

    You may not like it, but he did win two very tough campaigns - first in the primary and then in the general. Oregonians knew what they were getting when they voted for him.

    Of course I was happy that Kulongoski beat Mannix in 2002. All activist Democrats are, or should be. But why should that stop us from questioning policy decisions that he's made while in office?

    As I've said, I'm persuadable on the Governor in the primary. And I'll close ranks behind whomever emerges as our candidate when the primary season is over. In the meantime, I am, in all sincerity, begging for someone to make a case for progressives to support our governor that does not rest on "Mannix would be worse".

    Someone, please, at least give me some talking points I can believe in.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    Someone mentioned Al Ullman. He was elected in the 50's and was a moderate Democrat back when Eastern OR was much more Democratic than today. Fact is he and Democratic U.S. Reps. Edith Green and Bob Duncan (who Wyden beat in the 1980 primary) were probably more conservative than Republicans like Hatfield, Packwood, McCall, ect... The Oregonian today reported that Walden benefited far more than the rest of the delegation from free travel, but I don't think that hurts him much. Alan Bates would probably have a very slim chance of beating Walden, but I don't think there is anyone else who comes close.

  • LT (unverified)

    The point of an election campaign is to win more votes than the other party. Democrats have succeeded in doing that by having superior candidates who in many cases talked with ordinary citizens rather than pleasing everyone in the party. Walter Mondale was a dream presidential candidate for some Democrats, but he didn't carry Oregon. Bill Clinton was very different (some loved him for saying things that Mondale supporters had claimed "real Democrats" would never say) but he won Oregon. Personally, I would rather win than have an ideologically pure candidate.

    Partly that comes from the 1980 experience. It was well known that the 1980 census would give Oregon an extra seat in Congress. The 4 members of Congress then were Les AuCoin, Al Ullman, Bob Duncan, Jim Weaver. After the 1980 election there were 2 new members: Ron Wyden (mentioned above) and Denny Smith.

    Partly Ullman was defeated by being a long term incumbent seen as out of touch with his district (that can happen to those in leadership roles, and he was Ways and Means chair). Partly, as I recall, he lost a close race where there was a 3rd party candidate. But there was another factor. A local man who "never would have a chance" ran in the primary. He was a protest candidate (nice older man who died around 1996, as I recall). There was a big debate (not unlike this one) over whether people should put up with Al for one more term or vote for the protest candidate. Legend has it that when the protest candidate got 45%, national Republican money poured in. And there was an issue Denny Smith hung around Ullman's neck--a value added tax. That is why, whenever a Republican mentions VAT, some still joke "somewhere Al Ullman is smiling and Denny is snarling".

    In 1984, a much more qualified retired military man ran against Denny in the Republican primary and got about 40% or so. Had Democrats supported their nominee the way Denny was supported in 1980, we might have gotten rid of Denny sooner. But the nominee had almost won (should have won if not for mistakes, some said)in 1982 (lost by handful of Democrats per precinct) and was a colorful character in every sense of the word.

    And how we finally got rid of Denny Smith should be instructive. We didn't defeat him with a candidate who would have been every Blue Oregon poster's dream candidate. No, it was Mike Kopetski who had been a state rep. He was born in Pendleton, OR, experienced in a variety of Democratic campaign and staff jobs, who withstood all sorts of nasty ads incl. those calling him liberal and "hip". That was a source of jokes because it was hard to imagine the thin, serious, balding father of one son as "hip".

    NO, he wasn't for gun control. But talk about "framing".... he wasn't gung ho NRA, but when asked he was always honest and said something like "like every other red blooded Pendleton boy, I grew up hunting..." Not all Democrats liked that attitude. But when Mike was attacked in discussions, a friend of his would say "Did you ask him where he stands or just assume you knew? He has always been honest!".

    In the end, even with good candidates, it helps to be lucky. Sen. Santorum was wise to apologize today for the Hitler remark. The final 1990 tipping point may have been Denny's "voice of Hitler" commercial. Using that against a guy with a Polish name and a Jewish wife was the last straw with some people. Only about 5 incumbents lost that year, but one was Denny. The Honorable Michael Joseph Kopetski (as he was introduced at the party before he made his victory speech)ended up winning by 55%.

    <h2>Sure it is great to have policy debates. Anyone can say "I can't in good conscience vote for someone who...". But personally I would rather have a Democrat win who I disagreed with (but was open to dialogue) than a sarcastic Republican of the Minnis/ Scott / Richardson / Mannix variety.</h2>

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