GOP: Oregon No Longer a Swing State

Oregon may not be getting the attention from Presidential candidates in 2008 that we've grown accustomed to. The Statesman Journal reports that Republicans do not necessarily view Oregon as a swing state in 2008, unlike in 2000 and 2004 when campaigns spent significant amounts of time and money courting Oregon voters:

Will the state become a battleground again in 2008, or has Oregon's trend toward choosing Democrats - including Al Gore and John Kerry - erased it as a target for multimillion dollar ad campaigns?

It depends on the nominees, said Robert "Mike" Duncan, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who was in Oregon meeting with state Republican leaders on Thursday.

"I can make a case that it will be in play because some of our top-tier candidates match up well," Duncan said in an interview with The Register-Guard newspaper. "We're making contingency plans depending on who the nominee is."

Duncan declined to say which Republicans might do well in Oregon and which Democrats might be vulnerable in the state.

So which Republican candidates might have a chance of winning Oregon?

Jim Moore, a political scientist at Pacific University in Forest Grove, said Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would seem to be the Republicans with the best chance of putting Oregon's seven electoral votes in play.

McCain is from the West and Romney has ties to Utah, where he headed the 2002 Winter Olympics. But with Romney hardly a sure thing to capture the nomination, and McCain's campaign struggling to gain momentum, Moore said there's a strong chance that Oregon will not be on the national radar next year.

"This is going to be an election where the West Coast states look pretty solidly blue unless something remarkable happens," Moore said.

Read the rest. Do any of the republican candidates have a chance of winning Oregon in 2008?


  • James X. (unverified)

    The headline here overstates what the GOP is saying, but Oregon definitely is blue. We haven't voted for a Republican since 1984. If Dukakis could win Oregon in what was otherwise a 426-111 electoral drubbing, and if Gore and Kerry could win with increasing margins, Republicans would be foolish to sink much money here. It's not like they have a ton of money to spend these days.

  • Inthewoods (unverified)

    Daddy's Poem

    Her hair was up in a pony tail, Her favorite dress tied with a bow. Today was Daddy's Day at school, And she couldn't wait to go.

    But her mommy tried to tell her, That she probably should stay home. Why the kids might not understand, If she went to school alone.

    But she was not afraid; She knew just what to say. What to tell her classmates Of why he wasn't there today.

    But still her mother worried, For her to face this day alone. And that was why once again, She tried to keep her daughter home.

    But the little girl went to school Eager to tell them all. About a dad she never sees A dad who never calls.

    There were daddies along the wall in back, For everyone to meet. Children squirming impatiently, Anxious in their seats

    One by one the teacher called A student from the class. To introduce their daddy, As seconds slowly passed.

    At last the teacher called her name, Every child turned to stare. Each of them was searching, For a man who wasn't there.

    "Where's her daddy at?" She heard a boy call out. "She probably doesn't have one," Another student dared to shout.

    And from somewhere near the back, She heard a daddy say, "Looks like another deadbeat dad, Too busy to waste his day."

    The words did not offend her, As she smiled up at her Mom. And looked back at her teacher, Who told her to go on And with hands behind her back, Slowly she began to speak. And out from the mouth of a child, Came words incredibly unique.

    "My Daddy couldn't be here, Because he lives so far away. But I know he wishes he could be, Since this is such a special day.

    And though you cannot meet him, I wanted you to know . All about my daddy, And how much he loves me so He loved to tell me stories He taught me to ride my bike. He surprised me with pink roses, And taught me to fly a kite.

    We used to share fudge sundaes, And ice cream in a cone. And though you cannot see him. I'm not standing here alone.

    "'Cause my daddy's always with me, Even though we are apart I know because he told me, He'll forever be in my heart" With that, her little hand reached up, And lay across her chest. Feeling her own heartbeat,

    And from somewhere here in the crowd of dads, Her mother stood in tears. Proudly watching her daughter, Who was wise beyond her years.

    For she stood up for the love Of a man not in her life. Doing what was best for her, Doing what was right.

    And when she dropped her hand back down, Staring straight into the crowd. She finished with a voice so soft, But its message clear and loud.

    "I love my daddy very much, he's my shining star. And if he could, he'd be here, But heaven's, just too far.

    You see he is a Marine And died just this past year When a roadside bomb hit his convoy And taught Americans to fear. But sometimes when I close my eyes, it's like he never went away." And then she closed her eyes, And saw him there that day.

    And to her mothers amazement, She witnessed with surprise. A room full of daddies and children, All starting to close their eyes.

    Who knows what they saw before them, Who knows what they felt inside. Perhaps for merely a second, They saw him at her side.

    "I know you're with me Daddy," To the silence she called out. And what happened next made believers, Of those once filled with doubt.

    Not one in that room could explain it, For each of their eyes had been closed. But there on the desk beside her, Was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.

    And a child was blessed, if only y for a moment, By the love of her shining star. And given the gift of believing, That heaven is never too far.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)

    The only down side I can see is that Mrs. Clinton gets the nomination, energizing the wingers to come out enmasse to vote for smith.

  • Miles (unverified)

    Moore's analysis seems. . . well, trite. Romney and McCain simply because they're from the West? Outside of the South, does anyone actually vote for president based on geography?

    I think an argument could be made that Guiliani would play well in Oregon with moderates and right-leaning independents, as well as blue collar Democrats. Primary campaign positions aside, Guiliani is a pro-choice, pro gun control, pro gay rights, pro-immigrant Republican. His law and order stands go over well with blue collar workers and soccer moms, and he's moderate enough on social issues to not scare the soccer moms away.

    Enough to win the state? Depends on the Democratic nominee, but I wouldn't discount it altogether.

  • (Show?)

    The GOP have nobody at the top of the ticket who can put Oregon in play. Guiliani might play better among moderate leaning GOPers, but his stances on social issues would depress the "values" GOP base turnout more than he would peal-off "blue collar" Reagan Democrats.

    Romney standing a chance at all is a laughable assertion. In national polling he gets his clock cleaned by any of our top three (even by Gore who is not in the race) by healthy double digit margins. Hell even Richardson beats him and he is floundering.

    But hey, I hope the RNC sinks money into the state. Every dollar spent here means a dollar NOT spent in Ohio and other more vulnerable states.

  • (Show?)

    Posted by: Inthewoods | Sep 21, 2007 2:34:00 PM

    Thanks for the OT cut & paste spam.

  • Big Barton (unverified)

    Our nominee for Senate would probably benefit if Oregon remains a battleground in the national election because DNC/Presidential campaign money would contribute to our coordinated campaign and would attract staff to supplement our field efforts. Smith will have more than enough money to send an army into the field.

    A strong field campaign updates and expands the DPO voter database and volunteer network, which will assist in the 2010 gubernatorial election (against Walden?).

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Big Barton | Sep 21, 2007 3:49:43 PM Our nominee for Senate would probably benefit if Oregon remains a battleground in the national election because DNC/Presidential campaign money would contribute to our coordinated campaign and would attract staff to supplement our field efforts. Smith will have more than enough money to send an army into the field.

    Fair point, and one I agree with. But the top of the ticket for the GOP will not carry Oregon, no matter which of the top three on the Dem side we nominate, and if Romney is the nominee, it really andtruly won't matter who we nominate at all since even 2nd tier Presidential candidates beat him in head-to-head match-ups.

    Of course the usual caveats about it being over a year out still, and anything can happen that might change things, but currently we are on track to possible super majorities in both chambers at the state and federal level and wining the White House.

  • Mike C (unverified)

    It's hard to call Guiliani "pro-choice, pro gun control, pro gay rights" and a social moderate anymore. Not when he panders to the NRA with promises to appoint "strict constructionist" judges.

    How the HELL can the GOP'ers call anyone else a flip-flopper when they have the two-faced likes of Romney and Giuliani to defend? And why the HELL aren't the Dems making more hay with this? If they keep sleepwalking, they will lose the White House yet again.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)

    "Everyone" has listed Smith as a Tier 1 pickup (i.e. Kos, etc.) There will be plenty of money for the Democratic candidate, regardless. The netroots will pour $ in, bet on it. And we'll need it if Mrs. Clinton is the Presidential nominee.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    Bush hit the death knell for the GOP when he insisted on running w/Cheny for re-election. Instead of grooming the heir apparent the republicans have no one to assume a national leadership role. The current pack is pathetic. I have been very supportive of McCain for ten years, but find his dogged support of the war problematic.

    However, if Oregon is not a Swing State, that will make it more difficult to unseat Smith.

  • Scott Jorgensen (unverified)

    I agree with Miles on this one. Guiliani would put several states into play that wouldn't be otherwise, including California and New York. Even if he didn't win those states, he would force the Democrats to spend time, money and other resources there, when they wouldn't have to otherwise. ...And another reminder here...if Hillary gets the nomination, Republican turnout will be 100 percent, regardless of who the GOP nominates.

  • Holly Martins (unverified)

    “if Hillary gets the nomination, Republican turnout will be 100 percent, regardless of who the GOP nominates.”

    Maybe – but the hard-wired wing nuts, particularly the religious types, loath Guiliani nearly as much as they do Clinton, and he will siphon votes away from the GOP if he’s the nominee. In fact, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if our conservative friends in the Constitution Party serve up a spoiler who’d tilt at a few windmills and dog Guiliani throughout the campaign.

    Perhaps a replay of 2000 but with a conservative version of Nader?

  • Curt Sommer (unverified)

    The two-headed monster is alive and well in every state.

  • Hawthorne (unverified)

    Don't I remember W.Week running a cover story just over a year ago talking about how Oregon was about to turn red?

  • Jack (unverified)

    Primary campaign positions aside, Guiliani is a pro-choice, pro gun control, pro gay rights, pro-immigrant Republican.

    Which is exactly why most conservatives won't vote for him. He's basically a Democrat, only more overt about his bully empire-building and PATRIOT Act police statism.

    Besides, don't you progressives know that the NRA has implanted mind-control devices in all of us socially conservative gun-toting Oregonians? And mine is telling me to vote against Rudy Mussolini.


  • Jack (unverified)

    Mike C wrote: "Not when he panders to the NRA with promises to appoint "strict constructionist" judges."

    That gave me a good belly laugh. Thanks for that. Been a long week. The complete disconnect of Portland progressives from the rest of the world is always highly amusing.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Hawthorne | Sep 21, 2007 8:01:33 PM Don't I remember W.Week running a cover story just over a year ago talking about how Oregon was about to turn red?

    Well, the DoubleDub is trying it's hardest to do just that (i.e. turn the state red) with their hatchet jobs on progressive candidates in the past month or two.

  • Hawthorne (unverified)

    Goodness, I just went back and red, I mean read, it. It's called "Red Dawn" and written by the Pulitzer Prize winner, no less.

    I loved this quote: "What the daily neglected to mention is that on a statewide basis, Portland's Democratic super-majority matters less each day. The trend is so clear that if the Democratic Party of Oregon were a publicly traded corporation, owners would be lining up to dump their stock."

    Remind me not to take financial advice from W.Week, either.

    Full story here:

  • James X. (unverified)

    The Pulitzer winner's poor judgment in political coverage didn't end there. Check the latest issue.

  • David Wright (unverified)
    Outside of the South, does anyone actually vote for president based on geography?

    I don't think Moore meant that geography per se is a primary motivation for voters. But it's sort of a shorthand for presumed shared regional values.

    There's no question that politicians from Western states (particularly the Mountain West) tend to have different outlooks on things than politicians from the South, or the Northeast, or the Midwest. That doesn't mean that every Democrat from New Mexico would appeal to Western Republicans, nor that every Republican from Arizona would appeal to Western Democrats, but in the broadest possible terms such politicians would likely be more palatable to the opposing party (and, especially critical, moderate NAVs) than those from elsewhere.

    I think Richardson, being a Western governor, is more appealing to moderates than other Democrats. And McCain, circa 2000 anyhow, was more appealing to moderates than other Republicans too. But McCain has lost whatever maverick streak he once had in a bid to be Bush's heir apparent with the right wing, and his campaign has suffered for it with moderates of all stripes.

    The thing with Romney's connection to Utah, I suspect, was really a way to reference his religion without directly referencing his religion. Oregon at one time had the largest Mormon community outside of Utah (not sure what the status is today) and if Romney was to get the nomination, doubtless there would be an organized and motivated force in the state to work on his behalf. Would it be enough for him to win? Who knows, but it could certainly be enough to make the Democrats spend time and effort in Oregon just in case. Whether he'd actually get the nomination is another story entirely (which was what Moore was saying in the first place).

    Is Oregon still a swing state? It's a pretty deep shade of purple... perhaps more blue than red of late, and in an environment of general GOP-fatigue it looks like 2008 may not break the state's streak of tipping Dem for President.

    But pendulums have this funny way of swinging back the other way, eventually... it'll be interesting to see if this is still a topic of discussion in 2012...

  • Shrewd move (unverified)

    This announcement is strategic. By building buzz that OR is safe for Dems, the GOP hopes to keep out big national presidential Democratic resources...and thus make the world safer for Gordon Smith's re-election. They will of course still be spending big money on Smith's race, and they know that a Republican incumbent typically will raise & spend more than a Democratic challenger. The national presidential money would be closer to equal, and that would dilute Smith's resource advantage.

    Shrewd move. Hope that doesn't persuade the people who forget that Gore won this state by 6700 votes.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Shrewd move | Sep 21, 2007 10:18:57 PM

    Sorry but to seriously consider this as head-fake by the GOP is rather dubious IMNSHO.

  • Jim (unverified)

    I think it's laughable to say that a state that went 49-48 for Gore and 51-47 for Kerry is anywhere near "solid" for the Democrats. Should the Republicans come to their senses and nominate someone like Romney or McCain, Oregon will definitely be up for grabs.

  • James X. (unverified)

    Moore said "pretty solidly blue unless," and I said Republicans would be foolish to spend their money here. We were bluer in '04 than we were in '00, we were definitely bluer in '06 than we were in '04. The GOP outspent the Dems here to get those widening Dem margins -- a reversal of the trend nationally, and today they actually have less money than their opponents. Going for trending-even-bluer states that have been blue longer than voters have been alive doesn't seem like a good idea. But I'm certainly not trying to stop them.

  • (Show?)

    If I had a crystal ball, I'd guess Oregon still will be a swing state in 2008 but barely. I can see whomever the nominee is winning by more then Gore did in 2000 but not by that much more.

    2010 should give us a good indication if Oregon swings back toward the center. In that year, there is the gubernatorial race and Wyden is up for re-election.

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)

    I think that going into the 2008 election cycle, Oregon and the country at large is suffering from Bush/republican fatigue. The republican brand is so tarnished and their politics and policies so unpopular, I can't think of any ideas they could run on that would be appealing to cross-over democrats and independents. So they are stuck with promoting 'more of the same,' for the 'dead-enders' in their base and that's not a winner with the voters at large this time around. IMHO

    The democrats have the anger, the energy, the money and the momentum. The antidote for our currently unpopular Congress is not to elect republicans, but to elect more democrats.

    The James Dobson's of the republican party are not happy with their choices in this upcoming election. I foresee a drop-off in their voting numbers and possibly an independent run by someone like Alan Keyes or some other religious right anointed candidate to further dilute their influence.

    In total, it's a better time to be a democrat in Oregon than a republican.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Primary campaign positions aside, Guiliani is a pro-choice, pro gun control, pro gay rights, pro-immigrant Republican.

    Giuliani is pro-Giuliani. Period.

  • (Show?)
    Should the Republicans come to their senses and nominate someone like Romney or McCain, Oregon will definitely be up for grabs.

    Are you joking?

    In aggregates of polling so-far in head-to-head match-ups, Romney loses:

    48.6% - 38.6% against Clinton 49.7% - 35.6% against Obama 51.1% - 37.4% against Edwards 40.0% - 37.0% against Richardson

    ...hell he even loses 53.0% - 37.0% against Gore who isn't even running.

    Please, please GOP, please run Romney.

  • (Show?)

    Polling is just that..polling and certainly only gives a snap shot of what the people asked will say. (for clarification I'm not saying that a Republican will win Oregon, just that you have to be careful how much creditablity you give any poll).

    If you believe the polls, Hillary Clinton will win the D nomination.

  • (Show?)

    The idea that Mitt Romney is western is a hoot, unless they towed Massachusetts around Cape Horn when I wasn't looking. It definitely is a reference to his Mormonism. If the regional outlook/values argument has any validity, then Romney shouldn't appeal to westerners on that basis.

    Mitt was governor of Massachusetts, remember? Signed off on a pretty stinky forced universal lemon health insurance law that has unfortunately become too much of a model here in Oregon as well as with the Democratic presidential candidates.

    His father, George Romney was governor of Michigan in the late 1960s, having been an auto executive and before that a long-time lobbyist in Washington D.C. MittN was born and privately schooled in Michigan, started college at Stanford, finished a Brigham Young (apparently his only extended early residence in Utah), went to a Harvard Law/MBA program and worked in the financial industry in Boston from the mid-1970s until going to Utah in 1998 to rescue the 2002 Salt Lake City winter Olympics from its bribery scandal (his second relatively protracted western stint). He returned to Massachusetts in 2002 to run for and win the governorship. Wikipedia says he has a house in Utah, but it's outnumbered 2-1 by the New England ones in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. So he's from Utah about the same way George W. Bush is from Connecticut.

    Giuliani is spelled gi-u-li-ani, which is how it comes to sound like Julius Caesar. For Guiliani, think Guido -- or is that what's been happening already? His new positions are not so much a flip-flop as a born-again federalist straddle/cop out -- I'll leave it all up to the states, I promise I won't interfere with your local customs.

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