In the Oregon primary yesterday, Republican Mike Erickson did very narrowly manage to win the GOP nomination over perennial candidate for public office, Kevin Mannix. However, Erickson is certainly damaged goods in any general election run because of the serious abortion scandal which rocked his campaign.
The 5th Congressional District is considered to be only one of 15 districts in play in 2008, where either Democrats or Republicans could win. In fact, a GOP Congressional Committee organization is now seeking $1,000 donations from donors with the assumption that they will lose the U.S. Senate again and possibly the presidency, but a handful of seats in Congress are the only real battleground for the GOP to obstruct a Democratic controlled Senate and White House and produce more Washington gridlock.
The GOP Congressional organization is unfortunately promoting some outright falsehoods to possible donors in order to secure funds including claims that Barack Obama presents a national security threat to the U.S., would negotiate with terrorists, and that the Democrats are seeking huge tax increases on the average family.
The real truth is that Obama has only advocated having some dialog with Iran similar to the dialog between the old Cold War-era Soviet Union and the U.S, and has advocated a $1,000 middle class tax cut. However, this hardly the first time that intellectually dishonest arguments have been made by a political campaign seeking donors.
Barack Obama did very well in Oregon, where 57% of the Democratic voters considered themselves as liberals and less than 25% indicated that recession has impacted them compared to the voters in Kentucky. Even Jay Leno had a great joke about that saying that Obama did very well among the more educated and affluent while Clinton won Kentucky.
Clever joke or not, it does underlie a weakness among Obama to appeal to more rural voters and more White working class voters who have been traditional strengths for any successful Democrat to the White House.
Yesterday's mixed election results with a broad Clinton win in Kentucky and many voters who could still possibly defect to McCain in November indicates a serious challenge to Obama who is now around just 73 delegates short of capturing the nomination. If anything, it might have proven a major mistake on the part of the Obama campaign to not spend some money and effort in both West Virginia and Kentucky to not only garner a few more delegates, but also to attract more White working class and rural voters for at least the general election.
Normally, the Obama campaign has made few mistakes during this campaign season compared to some major tactical Clinton campaign errors. Where Clinton really lost the nomination this year was in failure to better organize her state caucus efforts. After Clinton came in third place in Iowa, her campaign failed to respond and better organize for the upcoming caucus events and won only the Nevada caucus, losing all the other state caucus events to the Obama campaign.
Clinton had no good reason to expect to become the Democratic nominee after losing 14 of 15 caucus events. This was nothing short of an electoral disaster for her campaign, no matter how good of a candidate she is. All of this leaves the Democrats with Barack Obama who must now prove strong enough coattails to also pull along many Democrats running for the Senate and Congress along with him in November, let alone win the presidency for himself. This why the GOP is actively seeking to salvage at least the Congress in November.
In the Oregon race for the U.S. Senate to challenge Republican Gordon Smith, who is the only Republican senator on the entire West Coast, I had also expected Democrat Jeff Merkley to slightly upend Steve Novick after his campaign made a good effort in the later weeks before election day to portray himself as a safe and reliable candidate and Novick as a slightly unpredictable loose cannon.
Like many early voters who were impressed by Novick's excellent KGW TV debate performance over the more flat performance of Merkley, I voted for Novick. But then his campaign failed to run as many ads as Merkley, and even Gordon Smith's attack ads may have backfired by singling out only Merkley, making him appear as the likely Democratic nominee when he was actually trailing Novick in the polls at least earlier in the month.
Novick may be brilliant, but his campaign lacked enough leadership that it really threw away the early lead they once enjoyed and only allowed Merkley to squeeze by. Merkley is a decent enough guy that he has potential to be an effective senator and represent Oregon well. The battle with Gordon Smith will be a difficult battle and too close to call at this time, although you have to assume that Smith may have a slight advantage at this point, although the coattails of a successful Obama run or even failure may spell out the actual senate winner in November.
The big losers from yesterday: The Oregon State GOP organization, which failed to even field candidates for some statewide offices such as Attorney General and Secretary Of State, and getting stuck with damaged candidate Mike Erickson in a race for Congress Republicans might have won with even a half decent candidate. Kevin Mannix also has kept his record of one electoral failure upon another intact, almost making himself into a political joke in the state.
At some point you would expect Mannix to realize that it's all over and let others take a run at offices with some chance of actually winning instead. The GOP Congressional organization certainly has their work cut out for them having to defend poor candidates like Erickson as their best bets to promote Washington gridlock if Barack Obama is elected president.
The GOP is bracing itself for a near certain loss of the U.S. Senate again, a possible loss of the presidency, by creating a "firewall" effort for more Washington obstruction and gridlock by hoping to turn as many of those 15 battleground elections for Congress in their favor as possible. Whether many $1,000 donors will actually respond to this "sirens' call" on behalf of gridlock and obstruction remains to be seen.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!