Club for Growth confirms "possible" challenge to Gordon Smith

The Associated Press reports on a developing story first discussed here at BlueOregon - the possible primary challenge to Senator Gordon Smith, funded by the Club for Growth.

From the AP:

There are rumors that Smith might draw a primary challenge from the party's right wing. A national group that promotes fiscal conservatism is making noises about possibly bankrolling such an effort. ...

David Keating, the executive director of Club for Growth, said the group doesn't think Smith has done enough to control federal spending.

For that reason, Keating said "it's possible" the group might financially back a GOP challenger to Smith -- although he notes that no such candidate has emerged yet.

Of course, Gordon Smith is once again pretending to be a moderate:

At the same time, though, Smith has established a track record of running successfully as a blue state Republican -- and he said he's confident that Oregon voters will once again endorse his brand of "less partisan posturing and more problem solving."

He thinks that his stand against the war in Iraq, and his positions in favor of raising cigarette taxes for children's health insurance and protecting gays from hate crimes reflect his willingness to cross party lines to "solve problems."

The AP also turned to Congressman Peter DeFazio for comment - who did a great job drawing distinctions and telling the truth about Gordon Smith:

DeFazio said he thinks Smith is vulnerable as a "flip-flopper." He noted that Smith had voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq and supported President Bush's Iraq policy until last December, when he spoke against it.

"What stripes is he wearing today? Is he the right-wing Bush backer, or the newly converted advocate for ending the war in Iraq?" the Democratic congressman said. "That's a real vulnerability for me or somebody else to go after."

If you want more of this, head on over to Draft DeFazio and join the movement - tell Peter that you've got his back. Sign the petition and make a small donation.


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    This is the part that lets me know what we're doing is working:

    "I don't know who or how many opponents I will have," Smith said this past week. "But I am ready to run a competitive and winning campaign. I'd hate to be my opponent."

    You can tell he's nervous--he announced his team of state GOP heavyweights, is pimping the oh-so-accurate Riley Poll, is having Russ Walker (the noted anti-tax guy) poo-pooh the idea of a challenger from a group specializing in hammering Republicans on taxes and budget, and is pretending his opponents are in for a world of hurt if they run.

    Glad to see that Gordon had time back home to stop by a graveyard long enough to whistle past it...

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    I don't find it hard to believe that Smith is nervous. But I do find it hard to believe that CFG is doing anything more than posturing. Smith is the GOP's best chance of controlling one of Oregon's two Senate seats. Any number of wingnuts could give him a very difficult primary battle. Some of them might even be capable of unseating him under the right conditions (strong backing by CFG and other major wingnut organizations). But I just don't see any of them being capable of beating the Dem candidate if Smith were to be unseated. And particularly not DeFazio (although I think Kitzhaber or Westland could be plugged in there and still win under that scenario).

    Sizemore is unelectable. Likewise, Walden and Bruce Starr are, IMHO, unelectable. Few others have the name recognition necessary, IMO. Saxton has a big "L" tattooed on his forehead. Atkinson would be the second coming of Dubya (i.e., an idiot who would require very good handling to succeed)

    Here's the bottom line as I see it: I don't think Oregon voters are done giving the GOP the B#tch-slap we started this last November. With Bush in the White House I just can't see how the GOP powerbrokers take the risk and try to unseat Smith in the primary.

    To my way of looking at it this is Smiths/Dems race to lose. Nobody else has a chance. And I think the wingnuts know it. They'll suck it up and back Smith.

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    "Smith is the GOP's best chance of controlling one of Oregon's two Senate seats. I just don't see any of them being capable of beating the Dem candidate if Smith were to be unseated."

    Replace "Smith" with "Chafee" and "Oregon" with "Rhode Island," and you'll see that CfG IS that crazy, despite the famously long odds. They knew that Laffey had no chance whatsoever in the general, but that didn't keep them from challenging Chafee, knowing he was vulnerable. They forced the RSCC to spend a bunch of money in the primary. Oh, wouldn't THAT be sweet, to have a repeat of that!

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    Well yeah. The Right's prediliction for fratricide is well known. But Smith has always been a reliable vote for the Right, unlike Chaffee. That doesn't mean that the CFG won't cut Smith's throat. I wouldn't put it past them. But if they do it will be because they're trying to set up something for down the road. In 2008 Smith is their best chance and I'd bet good money that they know it.

    Just to follow up re: Atkinson... I don't see him being well suited to something like the U.S. Senate where he would have to think on his feet far more capably then he has ever had to in Salem. I think they're saving him for a future Goobernatorial run with an eye to something beyond that if the numbers look good.

  • verasoie (unverified)

    If part of the political calculus working against Peter is that he's the chairman of an important subcommittee (Transportation) that could greatly benefit his district (and the whole state), perhaps a deal can be struck wherein he gains similar clout in the Senate, or that another Oregon rep. (preferably Blumenauer) gets Peter's seat after the next election?

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    Blumenauer is on Ways and Means now. I doubt he'd want to give that up.

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    So-o-o-o-o-o should I send my contribution to Grover Norquist through Act Blue?

  • Flannery Cleveland (unverified)
    <h2>This is sad. Looking at Smith's voting record, he OPPOSES the Iraq war. He is a cooperative liberal republican. Shame on the Club For Growth!</h2>
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