Ron Wyden to campaign hard for Jeff Merkley

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that Senator Ron Wyden has declared his strong support for U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley:

This year's Oregon senate race may test the bipartisan civility that Republican incumbent, Sen. Gordon Smith, and his Democratic colleague, Sen. Ron Wyden, have enjoyed.

Smith's up for re-election, and Wyden isn't. The two have a long history of working across party lines on federal issues with a direct impact on Oregon. ...

But Wyden says he’s sticking with his party when it comes to the race for Smith's seat.

Ron Wyden: “Absolutely, I strongly support Jeff Merkley. I mean this is an election about issues and change. That’s my primary focus, and I’ll be supporting him, strongly.”

At last week's Democratic unity event, Wyden chief-of-staff Josh Kardon went further - as blogged by the Oregonian's Jeff Mapes:

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., was in D.C. and missed the event, but his chief of staff, Josh Kardon, made it clear that Wyden's friendship and working partnership with Smith would not keep him from helping Merkley.

"This election is not about friendship," said Kardon. "It's about issues and change, and if you don't think Ron Wyden will be out there fighting for Jeff Merkley, you're wrong."

Wyden and Merkley are expected to campaign together this weekend. A year ago, there was a bit of a blog dust-up about whether Wyden would, in fact, campaign for the Democratic nominee.


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    Publicly? Like, standing next to Merkley at open events while Merkley says Gordon has to go?

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    Very cool.

    Now, if he'd only decide about the presidential race....

  • backbeat, woman (unverified)

    Wyden and Smith have not done any joint town hall meetings for quite some time now. About time Ron. Now, please endorse Obama. Thanks.

  • Harry Stark (unverified)

    Smith probably wishes he had not stabbed his party in the back by silently endorsing Wyden in 1998 and 2004. Smith is going getting smacked from both sides. The liberal voters he tried to appease, and the conservative voters he shunned when they contested Wyden.

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    Alright now, let's stay on topic. There are at least three superdelegate threads in the last two days where we can talk about the presidential race.

    TJ, maybe you should get yourself to some of those Merkley/Wyden campaign events scheduled this weekend.

  • backbeat, woman (unverified)

    Well, Wyden is going to have to campaign hard for Merkley with Frohnmayer in the race.

  • Seen this b4 (unverified)

    Wanna bet? Wyden will give all sort of lip service to helping Merkley, but when the days of heavy lifting arrive, he'll have a hernia.

  • James X. (unverified)

    Harry, Smith was the only politician who maxed out in his federal contribution to Senator Wyden's 2004 opponent. That seemed like a silent endorsement of the other guy. (Al King, trivia fans.)

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    This is good news. It's hard to believe Wyden would stay out of this race considering we have a one vote majority in the Senate.

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    The real test will come when Ron is asked to speak in an ad about how much Smith cancels Ron's vote. Will Ron be willing to be included in an ad supporting Merkley and comparing Merkley to Smith?

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    It's hard to believe Wyden would stay out of this race considering we have a one vote majority in the Senate.

    We don't really. There are 49 Democrats and 49 Republicans. Then there's Bernie Sanders. Then there's Joe Lieberman.

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    I am sure Senator Wyden will do right by Jeff Merkley. I trusted him to campaign for Novick and I trust him to campaign for Merkley. I understand his reluctance to go negative on Smith and we'll just have to leave it up to Merkley to do that. He's already shown us that he has a taste for it.

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    I have seen this before in 02 with Bradbury. Kardon and Wyden say alot of nice things but don't hold your breath folks. Will Wyden offer up his list to fundraise off of?

    Will Wyden go up earlier with a pro Merkley ad? Will Wyden echo calls for Smith to go?

    Here is what is going to happen people. Wyden and his folks are going to drag their feet on this until later in the fall. Between now and then you will see Wyden ocassionally appear and say "Merkley's a good guy!" but that is about it. If the polls look close in October then, and only then, will you see Wyden take a step out onto the branch to support Merkley. If Merkley doesnt look like he can win this Wyden is going to be running for Smiths arms in a heartbeat.

    Don't fool yourself - the Wyde/Smith partnership has been very very beneficial to both politicians.

  • DoneThat (unverified)

    Yeah, well, BeenThere...

    Jon Isaacs is the campaign manager for Jeff Merkley - and was there during the Bradbury campaign (were you?).

    And Jon has made it very clear to those of us that have asked about this: Wyden's team has been much more helpful this time around than in 2002.

  • StopGordonSmith (unverified)

    Check out the poll results over at Oregonians already know that Smith is canceling out Ron Wyden's good work:

  • trishka (unverified)

    is there a schedule posted somewhere of the wyden/merkley campaign appearances this weekend?

    i would be interested in checking it out, if there's one in this neck o' the woods...

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    Like Stephanie, I never had any doubt that Wyden would have worked incredibly hard for Steve if he'd prevailed in the primary. Same with Merkley, and this article only confirms that Wyden's help -- as the most popular elected official in Oregon by far -- will be incredibly valuable for Merkley. That's great to hear even if it's somewhat unsurprising.

    Maybe there are some hard feelings about Wyden and the 2002 U.S. Senate race, but having managed a state Senate race that same year, Wyden always did right by us. He spoke at events, headlined a fundraiser, and helped us reach out to seniors in the district. Wyden was great.

    Not to be too obsequious, but I think a lot of Oregon progressives take him for granted. The work Wyden's doing on health care -- and will do for our nominee, Jeff Merkley -- is outstanding. Go Ron!

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    I saw or heard a quote from Wyden a few weeks ago to the effect the he would work (maybe even work hard) for the Democratic candidate, but would not work against Smith. It will be interesting to see what that means.

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    trishka (and other interesteds):

    Give Nathaniel at the Merkley campaign office a call today. He's got the schedule: 503.274.4439

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    Carla, will Jeff be posting his schedule of events online?

  • Runtmg (unverified)

    At some point the folks on this board will realize this is politics. In 2002, the Republicans had all the momentum and democrats were fighting to keep on and Wyden being a politician was worried that Smith would go hard against him if he won.

    That courtesy doesn't extend to this year however. The reason for that is simple, the dscc has viewed this race as a highly winnable election for many reasons. People have rightfully maligned the DSCC and Shumer for his active supporting of Merkley at the expense of fellow democrat Steve Novick but right now this support is coming in at the right time.

    It is speculation to say that anyone had to twist Wyden's arm to support Merkley but Merkley is a candidate that the hierachy has put a lot of faith in. So far, I like that Merkley has gone after Smith and has been gathering support.

    No one will tolerate Wyden playing it safe this year as the Democrats have the wind at their back.

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