More on the DeFazio/Smith Poll

We told you Monday about the DSCC poll that shows Peter DeFazio leading Gordon Smith 42 to 38. In the comments, lots of people asked why the DSCC would conduct and release such a poll.

From the Washington Post's politics blog - by Chris Cilizza:

So, why put out a poll like this one? The purpose is two-fold: First, to ensure that local elected officials and other supporters of DeFazio will put increased pressure on him to consider the possibility of running. Second, to make sure DeFazio knows that he would have an even-money shot at the Senate if he was willing to take the plunge.

It's candidate recruitment 101. Many potential candidates -- especially those who already hold an elected position -- are skeptical about risking it all for a run at higher office. In 2006, Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) wavered for months before eventually deciding to run. Both won election to the Senate.

Put simply: Things change. And a "no" today may wind up turning into a "yes" down the road.

And from The Hill:

But that hasn’t stopped the DSCC from polling DeFazio and apparently holding out hope that he can be recruited. “The poll shows that DeFazio would be an excellent candidate and could beat Gordon Smith,” DSCC spokesman Matt Miller said.


  • BlueNote (unverified)

    The folks on this web site know more about politics than I do. My uninformed opinion is that Peter D.'s seat in Congress is much more vulnerable to the Repubs than Earl B.'s seat. It is hard to imagine that any Repub could win in Earl's hip-urban district, but I can forsee that the Repubs could win an open seat election in Peter's district. So my preference is for Earl to run for Senate and for Peter to keep his seat in Congress.

    Too bad I do not control the world!

  • IndependentAndy (unverified)

    As one of the only, or at least the few, people frequenting this website who have voted for both of our current senators, I probably have a different perspective on this race than most. I think that the Smith/Defazio race would be a very interesting one....couldn't say immediately who I'd vote for. If Blumenauer runs, I will vote for him over Smith. If Wu, Hooley, or Bradbury runs, I'd vote for Smith in heartbeat (sorry, I can't stand the party line that all Democrats are worthy of voting for...).

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    Just curious as to why you'd vote for Smith over Hooley, Wu, or Bradbury.

  • OWHN (unverified)

    I still think Ben Westlund would be the best person to run against Smith. Isn't he still considered a real possiblity?

  • IndependentAndy (unverified)


    I think Bradbury lacks integrity. Wu and Hooley are benchwarmers...I don't think they actually do anything - typical career politicians. Unlike most of the regular posters here, I don't see a problem with having the Oregon delegation split between Rs and Ds. I think all Ds in power would be just as bad as all Rs were in DC for the last number of years. Wait for it, it will come back around again.

    OWHN - Westlund is intriguing...I might have voted for him in the Gov race if he'd stayed in...but Ted was a good choice too.

  • Patricia Turley (unverified)

    A devoted Democrat, I cannot help but think that detractors are overlooking the possibility that Gordon Smith is an honorable man who is representing his constituency. So many people express the skepticism that he is doing the political "thing", but he is an Oregonian, and was elected to represent us. Take a close look.

    I absolutely believe that Peter DeFazio is a wonderful representative, and I would vote for him in a heartbeat, but he has expressed his preference to continue in a senior position in the House. I believe that it benefits Oregon, and keeps him sane (he doesn't have to fundraise and sell his soul).

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    Patricia --

    Don't get bamboozled. Gordon Smith may be voting as we would on the war this year -- but he strongly supported the war even AFTER he "personally had doubts" last spring.

    And it's not just the war.

    Gordon Smith voted to overturn the will of Oregon voters and cut the minimum wage for Oregonians whose compensation includes tips.

    He told Oregonians in his 2002 re-election that he would fight the Bush administration on drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. And Oregonians believed him. But he cast the tiebreaking vote to drill.

    There are so many, many reasons to turn him out of office - and they almost all include him NOT doing the will of Oregon voters.

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    Cilizza's comments seem more insightful than the Hill's. Surely eveyone in Oregon recognizes that, this side of Kitzhaber, DeFazio has the broadest base of support outside Portland. We know he can win--the question is, can we convince him to run?

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    Even if he had opposed the war from the beginning, Smith should be turned out for the reasons Kari cites, for sponsoring a one-year tax holiday for multinational corporations that stash their money overseas, supporting all the Bush tax cuts, voting against a windfall profits tax on oil companies, voting against investigating Halliburton, saying that scientists are evenly divided on whether global warning is real, saying the economy is better under Bush than it was under Clinton, saying Bush "is trying to take care of the veterans, more than any other President" ... A populist candidate like DeFazio would whip Smith with the "Who are we for -- waitresses and waiters, or multinationals" message.

  • Ernie Delmazzo (unverified)

    This just in from Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

    Smith is on his list of 20 potential VP candidates in '08.

    Possible Nominee: Sen. Gordon Smith of OR

    Advantages: Centrist appeal, could make OR competitive

    Disadvantages: Too liberal for most in GOP, likely loss of his GOP Senate seat (up in 2008)

    I have to question why supossedly politically intelligent people insist he's a moderate or even a liberal compared to a typical neo-con.

    The report is here.

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    Ernie, don't mis-use "neo-con". Remember, a neo-con is a socially liberal war-hawk. Gordon is much more of a plain ol' traditional conservative - anti-tax and socially conservative.

  • Anon (unverified)

    Smith must go as much for what he did as to what he did not do.

    By inaction, by failing to speak out, he enabled all the abuses of the Bush Administration for the past 6 YEARS. Make no mistake, he did this with full knowledge of what they were up to. We all knew but we couldn't begin to stop it until we took power away from his party.

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