Wayne Scott muscles lobbyists and legislators into skipping tribute event; Starr drops out

According to a press release sent by the Chuck Lee for State Representative campaign, Senator Charles Starr has now pulled out from the tribute event organized for him and former State Rep. Vic Backlund.

This happened after Republican majority leader Wayne Scott sent an email warning lobbyists and legislators to stay away from the event.

On Saturday, Majority Leader Scott sent an e-mail to lobbyists and legislators who received the invitation putting them on notice that attendance at the event would be scrutinized by the House Republican Leadership.

“I strongly encourage you not to attend this event. By attending this event, you will only be contributing to a candidate who is working to defeat a member of our caucus,” said Scott in his e-mail.

“Chuck Lee demonstrated his leadership skills and strong ability to work in a bi-partisan matter with this event,” said Backlund, who served Keizer, Newberg, and St. Paul for six years as a State Representative. “It is unfortunate that there was political pressure to have Charles Starr withdraw from this event that would have recognized his commitment to service and leadership.”

More about the event here. Discuss.

  • Karen P. (unverified)

    I just don't understand, and nobody will answer the question raised numerous times already.

    How is it that Senator Charles Starr, who just this year declared homosexuality a "mental disorder" (that is just the tip of the iceberg of his crazy public statements), was going to be honor by the House Democrats and a Democrat candidate. He has made numerous bigoted comments, yet nobody will tell me why this is not offensive.

    I am offended, and I question the judgment of this Mr. Charles Lee.

    Mr. Lee is anti-choice and I want to know if he supports the bigoted statemetns of Mr. Starr. Why would anybody who cares about civil rights pay tribute to this outgoing extreme right-winger?

  • Big Miss (unverified)

    Starr is telling people that the Lee campaign mislead him. This is taken from Starr's statement posted on www.NWRepublican.blogspot.com:

    "I was contacted a few weeks ago about a tribute but it was not characterized as it now appears. Had I known the intention I would not have participated."

    Sounds like the mistake was by our candidate. You have to tell people the whole truth here. First time candidates can make fatal mistakes, and this is pretty bad, and embarrassing. You just can’t play fast and lose, it will burn you.

  • JHL (unverified)

    I really, really hope that the Dems take the House this cycle, and I have put my money where my mouth is in a few choice races.

    But truth be told... it just sounds to me like Rep. Scott is doing his job as Republican leader -- the fact that I'd like to see him defeated notwithstanding.

    It's part of his job description to encourage lobbyists and supporters and party members to stay on their side of the line. How is this any different from when the Dems put pressure on their people to stick within the party during endorsement time?

  • Kenneth (unverified)


    That is because your party finds no problem with bigots if they support Democrats.

    As a Libertarian I find this whole thing hilarious! Senator Starr, known as the biggest anti-gay legislator in Salem is being honored with a tribute by a pro-life, anti-tax Democrat, and all of that is fine with the Democrat leaders.

    This is why major parties must fail. No principles. There should be across the board condemnation for a tribute to Starr just for the public statements he made just this year. The question was asked on the earlier post: WHY?!

    Karen, I will answer the question for you. The Democrats are willing to tolerate bigots if it gains them a political advantage. This whole ugly episode brought together a very bitter Vic Backland, and very bitter Charles Starr, and the political whores in the Oregon Democrat party machine.

    Backland got to strike back at Thatcher (who beat him in 2004), Starr gets to strike back at Republicans who defeated him (May 2006), and the Democrats will honor bigots to get a political advantage.

    The question for you is: Are you proud of your party???!!!

  • (Show?)

    This is why major parties must fail. No principles.

    Don't be silly. Of course the Democratic Party has principles, but it's not a single-issue party. I'm pro-choice, and it's just about my #1 issue, but that doesn't mean that I can't support a candidate that's right on everything else but wrong on that issue.

    One more time, from Crashing the Gates:

    Here's where things get complicated. We want an America where a woman, not the government, has control over her own body. We want a world where a woman's doctor, not the theocons, can care for her reproductive health. We support the party that has enshrined abortion rights into its platform, not the party that has vowed to criminalize it. And who is in a better position to protect those rights -- a lone pro-choice Republican or two within a governing party hell-bent on destroying those rights, or a lone antiabortion Democrat or two in a governing party determined to protect those rights?

    With Jeff Merkley as speaker, we're more likely to see progressive change on lots of issues - including my #1 issue. Even if Chuck Lee is part of that majority.

    Or are we just so polarized that we have to have a 500-question purity test just to qualify for the D after your name?

    Now, I personally don't understand doing a tribute to Charles Starr - I think he's flat-out crazy - but Vic Backlund? Sure... after all, he lost his seat in the Leg when he voted for school funding.

  • kenneth (unverified)


    Sorry, I was using hyperbole.

    Look at Charles Starr's statements about homosexuals THIS YEAR. Simply outrageous.

    I ask the same question asked by another in an earlier post. Would you hold a tribute for a Klu Klux Klan member because it made you look bipartisan? NO! The same is true of someone who hates gays.

    The House Democrats agreed to do this tribute out of pure politics. I thought that progressives would be as mad as I am over this, but they aren't. Why, because they are just too happy some Republicans are helping a Democrat, so they ignore principles and endorse Senator Starr very appalling career.

    It is wrong, and I am willing to state it, but the Democrats on this site have no problem. So next time someone on blueoregon says anything about Republicans and gay rights, environmental issues, union issues, I won't believe them. Because the Republican is ok if they just support one Democrat. Great, we know the standard now.

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)

    In an earlier thread (before it was hijacked by Harry Lonsdale and campaign finance reform), "The Other Shoe" wrote:

    "...from what I hear the House Dem's fearless leader [Jeff Merkley] told Mr. Lee in no uncertain terms he would see no support from the caucus because of his pro-life stance. So much for a big tent and your much-flaunted "tolerance"... "

    Well, in terms of financial support, that appears to be a true statement, notwithstanding how well Mr. Lee plays with others at FuturePAC meetings.

    According to Charles Lee's C & E Reports he has received a whopping $144 in In-Kind contributions (for a voter list) from FuturePAC. Meanwhile, FuturePAC has given thou$and$ in cash and in-kind to virtually every other Democratic challenger.

    But at least the FuturePAC Web Site has purged all references to Charles Starr from its earlier announcement. All that's left is a disgruntled, bitter Vic Backlund.

    Tell me again who's going to pay $100 per plate for that sad scene? Apparently no one from the Democratic House Caucus.

    • Wes
  • Bob (unverified)


    The seat is 14% Republican advantage, and the incumbent has made no mistakes. The Republicans and Independents in that district are VERY Republican. Mr. Lee can't even run his campaign in a way to make sure he gets commitments from speakers for his events. The campaign looks like it is in total disarray, and their "big draw" to the fundraiser is a bitter, angry man who has spent the past two years of his life stewing about how to get revenge (really sad actually -- have you ever heard of such a bitter reaction before?). I would be angry with the Democrats if they spent money in this seat, it is dumb. They have ZERO chance, they are pushing a Democrat who is anti-choice, apparently anti-gay, rumored to be anti-government (from NWRepublican I am told). What Democrat is going to vote for this guy, most Democrats will just skip that race -- I predict big undervote for Mr. Lee.

  • LT (unverified)

    They have ZERO chance, they are pushing a Democrat who is anti-choice,

    Bob, who did you recruit to run in District 25? Or is it that you have no problem with Kim Thatcher?

  • Vox (unverified)

    What has been said that would imply that Mr. Lee is anti-gay? Ohhh....is it because he included Charles Starr in his campaign event? Yes. I see. Charles Starr has made anti-gay comments. Charles Lee tried to have a bipartisan event that included Charles Starr. Therefore, Charles Lee must hate all gay people. Socrates must be proud of the chain of logic here.

    No wonder we can't get good people to run for the legislature. Who in the world wants to put up with this cannibalistic bullshit from people who are supposed to support you?

  • Jonathan Singer (unverified)

    If you are interested in helping out the effort to get rid of Oregon's own Tom DeLay wannabe Wayne Scott, you should check out Mike Caudle, the Democratic nominee in HD 39. To learn more about Mike, check out regularly updated campaign blog, his biography, and his issues. If you like what you read, consider heading over to his ActBlue fundraising page to show your support.

  • Jonathan Singer (unverified)

    I should note that I am Mike's campaign manager and am commenting in that capacity, not as one of the occasional writers for Blue Oregon.

  • Chuck Paugh (unverified)

    Funny, I always thought that US law banned racketterring. I am curious why no one has chosen to use our nation's federal anti-racketterring laws against Republicans such as these.

  • Karen P. (unverified)

    This question has been asked for days now, and nobody from the Democrat Party, the House Democrats, or Mr. Lee's campaign will answer. Above I asked:

    I am offended, and I question the judgment of this Mr. Charles Lee.

    Mr. Lee is anti-choice and I want to know if he supports the bigoted statemetns of Mr. Starr. Why would anybody who cares about civil rights pay tribute to this outgoing extreme right-winger?

    Why is the Democrat House campaigns paying tribute to Charels Starr in the first place. PLEASE EXPLAIN! This is making me mad, and I know you read this blog, so explain to me how this idea EVER passed the smell test.

    Excuses about how great Mr. Lee is, or how he is the candidate with the best chance, does not explain why we would EVER pay tribute to Senator Starr.

  • (Show?)

    Wayne Scott has gone beyond the traditional role of majority leader here. It's one thing to urge lobbyists and Republican supporters to stay away from a Democrat's fundraiser. But his statment that "the list of attendees would be scrutinized" comes very close to being illegal. The clear implication is that lobbyists who contribute to a Democrat will be punished- not getting appointments to see him, not getting their bills passed, etc. This is very dangerous to our open system of government. Had he specifically said attendees would see repurcussions, criminal charges could be brought.

  • Anon (unverified)

    These have been the most interesting comments ever on Blue Oregon:

    So here is what we have:

    The post was for "Wayne Scott Haters"

    Then the "He's not a real Democrat Chuck Lee Haters" took over

    Then the "Chuck Lee Lovers" came to fight the "Chuck Lee Haters."

    Mean while two major issues are being missed by you so called progressives:

    Wayne Scott is taking control of the Oregon Republican Party (i.e. "I strongly encourage you not to attend this event," gets people to drop out of an event).

    There is a major divide going on in the Oregon republican party right now that Portland Liberals should be fueling as opposed to creating new rifts in our party.

    Wayne Scott understands power, but he clearly is not politically savvy. This e-mail proves it, again.

    But you F***ing Portland liberals would rather give your "the right way to be a democrat" speech rather than help destroy the Republican Party.

    You think Chuck Lee is going to be more harmful to a woman's right to choose than Speaker Scott? Have you even thought this through enough to realize that by bashing Lee you're going to get Speaker Scott?

    Please pull your heads out of your @sses and leave Chuck Lee alone.

    If you are Portland progressive who thinks he/she knows what's best for all of Oregon do the Democratic party a huge favor: for the next 100 days only say "who do I make that check out to?"

  • DifferentSalemStaffer (unverified)

    But his statment that "the list of attendees would be scrutinized" comes very close to being illegal. The clear implication is that lobbyists who contribute to a Democrat will be punished...

    It's adorable that nobody thinks that Democrats regularly do the same thing. :) How is this any different than a message to Dem campaign workers that they'll never work again if they volunteer for, donate to, or otherwise assist non-D candidates?

  • (Show?)

    SK wrote... The clear implication is that lobbyists who contribute to a Democrat will be punished- not getting appointments to see him, not getting their bills passed, etc.

    Exactly. Especially given the heavy-handed (ham-handed?) approach he took to Arnie Roblan and the Bandon airport. The implication is clear. Basically, Wayne Scott is playing the same sort of "K Street Project" politics that has gotten Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, Ralph Reed, and the rest of the gang in so much trouble back East.

    DSS wrote... How is this any different than a message to Dem campaign workers that they'll never work again if they volunteer for, donate to, or otherwise assist non-D candidates?

    Because you're talking about campaign jobs, not official government action. There's a difference, and it's the failure of Republicans to see the difference that's getting them in so much trouble.

    When you're acting on behalf of the government, the rules are different than when you're acting on behalf of a private organization like a campaign or a party.

  • DifferentSalemStaffer (unverified)

    I concede -- Kari makes a good point. It's one thing to pressure people with private resources, and another to threaten them by withholding public resources.

    So... hypothetically... would you denounce a candidate who used his or her public-office staff/resources/title to pressure other public employees (on the basis of future public employment prospects) into not supporting a particular candidate on their free time?

    It's a rhetorical question... just something to muse over.

  • Anon (unverified)

    C'mon. You nuts? The leap of logic from "scrutinized" to "not getting appointments to see him, not getting their bills passed" just isn't there. EVERYONE: Kulonogoki, Saxton, Courtney, Brown, Minnis, Merkley... EVERY PARTY LEADER scrutinizes C&Es (along with the media).

    To suggest Scott's email says anything beyond what is standard operating procedures for all partisan people is beneath you on a blog which I (usually) find informative and educational.

  • Suzy Q. (unverified)

    The real problem is that Charles Starr was apparently misled (read on the Republican blog his statement). So the defense is that the whole event was misleading and Scott was simply letting people know that it was not a Republican event. I think our candidate really stepped in it here, so I am glad it is not a really competitive race that could actually affect the leadership of the House.

    Above it was mentioned that we should write checks. But I realized that we don't know who the candidates are that need the help. Could someone list a few (two or three) that might need a little money? I don't have much but I am always interested in helping if I can. (By the way, don't list Charles Lee because the best argument so far is how did this candidate ever get into the position of honoring Starr and Backland in the first place, and then screw-up his campaign so much, I want potential winners where I can make a difference).

  • Anon (unverified)

    Anon above:

    It is not that we are Portland progressives (I live in Washington County) that hate Charles Lee because he is anti-choice, get that through your #$%#$ head.

    Mr. Lee thought it was appropriate to hold a public tribute for a right-wing nut job Republican who, just this year, made some of the most hateful, narrow-minded statements on the Senate floor EVER! That is our problem.

    I would have attended an event (and given money) for anti-choice Mr. Lee that celebrated the fact that the Republicans got rid of the SOB. But to pay tribute to him?????

    Remember, this is a Senator who attacked his very conservative primary opponent for being too open-minded on gays and choice. I celebrated his loss in May (not that his replacement is a much better vote, he is not, but he doesn't spew hate speech). My problem is that Mr. Lee thought that this type of event was appropriate at all. I would be angry no matter how liberal or conservative the guy is.


    (BTW: his being anti-choice and being in a 14% R seat is just the cherry on the top on why Democrats should let this guy swing in the wind).

  • (Show?)

    Anon (immediately above...the one from Washington County)

    What are you trying to accomplish?

    If you believe that Lee is actually worse on gay rights or abortion rights than Kim Thatcher, then say so, and make an argument.

    Interpreting Lee's tribute to Starr as an endorsement of Starr's specific views is preposterous. I'd describe it as opportunistic, except that I can't for the life of me figure out what your goal is. It sounds more like pointless idealism.

    I'm not trying to say your concerns are without merit - I have also been repulsed by what's come out of Starr's mouth. But making this kind of post here and now can only have one kind of effect: reducing Lee's chances of beating Thatcher this fall.

    Communicating directly with Lee or his staff would be much more likely to get you the kind of answer you're looking for. If they're unresponsive to your concerns, that might be worthy of more public discussion. But if you're polite and direct, I doubt you'll have that problem.

    Your post is so counterproductive, my guess is that you're a Republican trying to throw some gas on the fire over here.

  • Anon (unverified)


    Sorry if I came out of the blue, I really am not trying to be counterproductive. Washington County progressives have had to put up with Senator Starr for over a decade. There is some frustration here.

    The tribute just made me really mad. A few people above asked the question how and why did this event happen, and nobody answered. It was just my frustration that noboday answered ligitimate questions. Sometime you post and then regret the tone or a line or two, but my overall points are still real concerns.

    I really don't care if we have anti-choice Democrats, but some campaign tatics cross lines. That is my point.

  • (Show?)


    Why would a campaign manager or party strategist get into a strategic discussion with an anonymous poster (or anybody at all) in a public forum? They would have everything to lose, and nothing to gain. Plus, they're pretty busy right now trying to get their guy elected.

    In fact, Jon Isaacs went into far more detail (see the last blog on this comment) than I ever would have expected. I enjoyed the insight into how these kinds of events are planned out, but I'm sure he realized his time is better spent elsewhere.

    Have you tried asking Lee or his people about this privately?

  • Anon (unverified)

    Anon for Washington County,

    Thank you. In one sentence you illistrated why Democrats lose elections: "but some campaign tatics cross lines."

    Wrong. There are no lines only winners and losers. Our job right now is to make sure people with D's next to their name are elected.

    We can debate right and wrong later.

    And if you say, "well what kind of party will be left with" I will just retort with "well what kind of country do you want to live in?"

    <h2>Anon for Washington County this might hurt your feelings, but it is people like you that have let GW Bush republicans take over the country. Please get out of the way a let us take our country back.</h2>
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