Monica Wehby, a Republican candidate for Senate in Oregon, leads her primary opponent Jason Conger by 17 points in a new poll by a GOP polling group supporting Wehby. New Republican, which has been running TV ads on Wehby's behalf, polled 500 likely primary voters in Oregon and found 41 percent support Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon and first-time candidate, while 24 percent support state senator Jason Conger.
Oregon's primary is next Tuesday, May 20. Polling on the primary has been scant, though a poll from earlier this month showed a similar, 21-point advantage for Wehby.
Republicans are hoping with Wehby, a relatively moderate conservative, can topple incumbent Democrat Jeff Merkley, who is polling below 50 percent despite Oregon's Democratic tilt. (Wehby has even led Merkley in one poll.) GOP strategists consider her a "dark horse" to win a seat previously thought out of reach.
One tough issue for Merkley may be Obamacare, a law he supported and defends as having "a lot that's going right in Oregon." But the health care law may not have performed worse than in Oregon, where the state's exchange struggled to work in its first several months of operation. Several top officials resigned, and finally the exchange, called Cover Oregon, was scrapped entirely. The FBI is currently investigating Cover Oregon for possible malfeasance.