Roundup from the DPO Summit

This weekend, Oregon Democrats gathered in Sunriver to hear from candidates and elected officials, attend workshops on campaign tactics, and reconnect with friends and allies from around the state.

At the Blog for Oregon, Jenni Simonis live-blogged much of the action - including notes on measures 49 and 50, the keynote address from Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, comments from legislative leaders about the 2007 session (and what's next), notes from a DNC training on campaign skills, and speeches by Earl Blumenauer and Ron Wyden.

Meanwhile, there was also plenty of DPO Summit live-blogging over at Jeff Merkley's campaign blog.

Oregonian political reporter Jeff Mapes posted a number of items on his new blog - Mapes on Politics - including notes on Schweitzer's speech and the impending arrival of twins for Senator Wyden and his wife, Nancy.

And finally, Beaver Boundary reports on the results of the DPO straw poll for the U.S. Senate nomination - Merkley 103, Novick 50.

Were you there? What did you think?


  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    You are kidding right?

    No mention of Barack Obama winning the Presidential straw poll?

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    SUNRIVER, Ore. (AP) — New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton may be leading in national polls, but among Oregon's Democratic faithful, she's running a distant third to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and former vice-presidential candidate John Edwards.

    Obama won a straw poll Saturday taken among attendees of the Democrats' biennial retreat at the Sunriver resort. He picked up 49 votes, just edging out Edwards, who finished with 47 votes. Clinton came in third, with 36 votes out of about 175 votes cast. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson followed with 12 votes and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich had 10.

    Obama and Edwards have made campaign stops in Oregon, and Clinton has yet to visit. The state has voted for the Democratic candidate in the past five presidential elections, but by relatively narrow margins.

  • LT (unverified)

    Glad to read on Jenni's what Greg Macpherson said on M. 49. If anyone saw Kroger there, let me know.

  • Taoiseach (unverified)

    Read the straw poll results over at a post at Beaver Boundary.

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    Just posted the link. Thanks!

    Go Obama!

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    Its all good!

    Whither the "frontrunner"?

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    Straw polls obviously aren't scientific. But the results from this one remind me of the national polls. Or rather what is so perplexing about Hillary's alleged dominant lead.

    One of the panalists on today's To The Contrary show on PBS, where Hillary was one of the topics, observed that you can't raise the kind of money that Obama has and have as much of it come from small donors as he has and not have it reflected in the polling. And yet it doesn't appear to be reflected in the national polls. Which led this panalist to question the polling numbers.

    The Presidential hopeful numbers from this DPO straw poll strike me as more realistic than what the national polls are reporting.

    Just my $0.02...

  • LT (unverified)

    Very interesting subject. I just read the Mapes blog and the AP story in our local paper.

    Here is some of what Mapes said:

    Mehta's real pitch, though, was for a new Democratic voter outreach program that seems to have been enthusiastically embraced by the Oregon party. The idea is to build a network of a half-million neighborhood leaders who in turn will each reach out to some 50 voters on an intermittent basis over the next year. These neighborhood leaders will be using and expanding on a sophisticated database that tracks individual voters (the Republicans have one of these databases as well, but Mehta said it's not as good at following voters when they move).

    Mehta said knocking on doors, the oldest political trick in campaigning, is increasingly becoming important as voters are hard to reach by any other method. TV ads are less effective as people migrate to DVDs, TIVO and the internet. And a third of people under 35 don't have a land line - meaning they are next to impossible to reach by phone banks. Democratic strategists hope that neighborhood leaders will be more closely attuned to the values of their neighbors .............. Trent Lutz, the state party's executive director, said the party plans a major door-knocking drive for the two measures on Oct. 23 that he hopes will also serve as a way to tune up the party's grass-roots machinery.

    The AP story by Julia Silverman talked about the Jerome project: block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood looking for an "opinion leader" in every precinct.

    It mentioned a goal of becoming more active E. of the Cascades, certainly a worthy goal.

    The last paragraph mentioned M. Russo of FP, "the fundrasing committee run by House Democrats".

    The next to the last (and sorry, I am typing this from print version, have not seen the article online) paragraph is:

    "Winning many elections in such conservative areas will be fiendishly tricky for Democrats, and the party likely will spend the bulk of its money in swing districts such as the Portland suburbs, relying elsewhere on its volunteer corps."

    OK folks, here is where the rubber meets the road. For those of you who live in major metropolitan areas (esp. the Metro area), there are lots of Jeromes out here in the rest of the state. In many cases they are people who worked their hearts out in multiple election cycles, only to be told by people on political payrolls that there was a "lousy R to D ratio" or some such rot, so precious resources couldn't be spared for the race they were donating so much spare time for.

    In some cases (esp. House Dist. 24 and 59) those "conservative" districts came within a couple hundred votes of electing a Democrat. In some areas (House Dist. 20, for instance) an "impossibly underfunded, doesn't have a chance" first time candidate with only a volunteer campaign manager and not even that for much of the election cycle knocked a well known entrenched incumbent down to a re-elect margin of something like half the number of voters registered outside major parties. How is that a "conservative" district?

    Without a guarantee of funding ("the party likely will spend the bulk of its money in swing districts such as the Portland suburbs, relying elsewhere on its volunteer corps" ) why would the Jerome types who got worn out in the last couple legislative election cycles become Jeromes just because the party wants them to be?

    Or are Jeromes envisioned as younger people? Are they seen as neighborhood activists? Or former candidates, or local government activists? Assuming such people have the time, why would they want to work on the Jerome project instead of some more organized statewide campaign? And in some areas, such people have friends in both parties. There are a few common sense Republicans around, and if one of those runs the locals who have known that person for years might decide that is the best candidate.

    Jerome may be a great idea, but implementation is everything. And will everyone from Yes on 49, for instance, really want to be involved in party politics? Or might there be people who are willing to do something concrete (like specific actions for 49) but have a "been there, done that" attitude about general party or regular candidate politics? Or have friends who are Republicans of the old fashioned McCall variety but who were active in Yes on 49?

    It would seem to me that one thing Novick and Merkley have in common is more familiarity with Portland/ paid professional politics than with small town grass roots efforts. If either is willing (on visits to smaller towns) to listen to experiences of those grass roots activists rather than a "this is how politics works, and if you don't like it tough luck" attitude some young staffers have, that ought to get more positive word of mouth advertising than all the money and endorsements could ever bring them.

    But it would take an admission that no one in a political office in the Portland area knows what is going on in the counties where Yes on 49 farmers are a big part of the campaign. Is either of them big enough to admit that insider efforts from the 1996 Bruggere campaign to FP over the last several years did not win friends and influence people downstate? That friends of those downstate candidates thought games were being played at the expense of someone who is not just a legislative candidate to them but an old friend?

    If either Jeff or Steve can explain to downstate audiences what mistakes they believe were made and how they came to understand that downstate folks don't see politics the same way Portlanders do, that person would deserve to win the primary. The US Senate nominee is second only to the Presidential candidate on the top of the ticket. It deserves to be someone who understands that over 30 counties in this state have Democratic activists who don't like Portlanders explaining it all to them--to the point of making jokes like DPO stands for Democratic Portland Organization.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    Kevin, the national polls are reflecting her name recognition. Where the real campaigning is going on and people are getting to know the candidates up close, as in Iowa, it is a very very close race.

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    Thanks for the heads-up on the full straw poll results. Initially, we were relying on Beaver Boundary - who only had the Merkley/Novick -- and then the A.P. got in the game. Thanks!

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    Steve was raised in Cottage Grove (not exactly the Pearl District), and has been traveling all over the state to meet non-Portland Democrats.

    He was in Polk County less than a week ago, and his visit to Wheeler County resulted in a great story by the East Oregonian. He has plans to continue visiting other counties around the state to talk about the campaign, local issues, and why Gordon Smith needs to be sent home.

  • LT (unverified)

    Andrew, as I am on the Polk mailing list, I know that. Maybe Steve or one of his supporters could post something about that meeting. Was he asked questions he hadn't heard before? Were there people in Polk County worried about Frohnmayer being a spoiler? Or were there concerns ranging from Iraq to impeachment to Measure 49? Was there a lot of talk by people other than Steve in Polk or Wheeler about Jeff's 2003 vote on a resolution?

    About Steve's birthplace, many of us were born somewhere other than where we now live. But how many people would say "Portland political establishment" if Steve's name is mentioned, and how many would know where he was born?

    By the same token, how many people think Gov. Ted is still the same person he was when he was a legislator from Junction City? How long has it been since Dr. John Kitzhaber has lived in Roseburg?

  • Adam Gretzinger (unverified)

    I attended the Summit and taped many of the speakers.

    Here are just a few. They will all eventually be here: video Gallery

    <embed style="width:400px; height:326px;" id="VideoPlayback" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src=";hl=en" flashvars=""> </embed> The Red and the Blue Gordon Smith - Exposing a red senator in a blue state. Bill Bradbury talks about Gordon Smith.

    <embed style="width:400px; height:326px;" id="VideoPlayback" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src=";hl=en" flashvars=""> </embed> Breakfast with Congressman Earl Blumenauer at the Oregon Summit

    <embed style="width:400px; height:326px;" id="VideoPlayback" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src=";hl=en" flashvars=""> </embed> Senator Ron Wyden Addresses the Oregon Summit

    For all of the videos look here: video Gallery

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    Great stuff Adam, Thanks! Department of Ironic Irony Department: I went to, clicked the link for and followed your link back to All (internets) roads lead to Washington County!

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    Posted by: Glen HD28 | Oct 8, 2007 3:17:02 PM All (internets) roads lead to Washington County!

    Beaverton, the new virtual Rome. (grin)

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    The straw poll is off since many of us didn't go - you had to head over to their party in order to vote. If it had been at the place where we were having our meeting and was easily accessible, that would be one thing. But it wasn't.

    And after a long day of speeches and events, and free wine at dinner, many of us were ready to go back to our beds.

    Less than half the people attending the Summit voted in the poll.

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    Kroger was there all weekend as far as I know. I spoke with him several times throughout the weekend.

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    I'm still reflecting on my experience at the Democrat Summit this weekend. This was my first visit to such an event. Overall, I have to say I was underwhelmed.

    Sure, it felt great to see some of our superstars - Blumenauer, for instance, on Sat. morning at breakfast, was great. But throughout the weekend, I felt that Dems are still not sure we're in the majority. And so, there was a lot of back-slapping, and discussion of what a great session we had in Salem this past year - and I agree, it was a great session - I kept hearing landmark session. But, what I wasn't hearing was where we are going next. I wasn't hearing grand vision. I wasn't hearing roadmap to get there.

    I heard 35 a lot. The number of House Reps it takes to make things really happen. but what I wasn't hearing was - what do we want to make happen when we get there. I suppose that's the role of the candidates to be, me being one of them - to put our thinking out there and say "hey, follow me". Bold Vision, seemed lacking.

    and yet, perhaps that was not what this event was about. Maybe it's just a time for friends to see and hear friends. To rest for a moment and enjoy the glow of having done well in the past year and celebrate. If so, WHERE WAS THE BAND? :)

    I especially appreciated the break-out session on Iraq led by 4 vets. That was the most moving part of the weekend for me. The speakers were eloquent and you could feel how hard this current war is for them to stomach.

    The break-out session "what would you do with a $50 billion budget" was also interesting. I got to play a house republican (circa 2005) and got to say no to funding just about all the items on a list put before me. and, decided to walk out during deliberations and play a round of golf. That was a fun exercize.

    I didn't see any evidence of a straw poll for Merk/Novick or the Presidentials, so I'm not sure what that's about. And, I attended everything except the keynote, which sounded fantastic from the reports I heard.

    I stayed with and networked with folks from the Dem Party's GLBT caucus which was a great experience and made being at the summit much more real and personal for me.

    A wish for the future would be that there would be a break-out session for "the top ten things on our agenda for the next legislative session". Focus on what we want to accomplish for the future in this state was what was missing for me.

    I have about a thousand other thoughts about the event - but that's what's on top right now.

    <h2>Thanks to the organizers for putting it on and for all the volunteers who made it look easy. See you at the Bus Project's event in January! I think it's the 10th to the 13th.</h2>

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