Monica Wehby is a pediatric brain surgeon running for the Republican Senate nomination in Oregon. She has never sought elected office before. But she is off to a well-financed and highly touted start. The reason: She has the support of GOP political operatives in Washington as the Republican with the best chance of unseating Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley.
Jason Conger is an Oregon legislator who is also seeking to win the Republican primary on May 20. He has won two state elections, ousting an entrenched Democrat in his first race. Mr. Conger doesn't have the backing of Republican strategists in Washington and his campaign is barely heralded at all. He trails Ms. Wehby badly in fundraising.
The Washington practice of intervening in Senate and House primaries, privately or publicly, is hardly a new one. Incumbents are routinely backed by party campaign committees. But intruding in challenger contests or races for open seats is controversial, especially when Republicans in Washington insist—as they do in supporting Ms. Wehby—that a less conservative candidate is more electable.
This was famously the case in Florida in 2010. The National Republican Senatorial Committee rushed to endorse then-Gov.Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio, his conservative rival for the Senate. It backfired. Mr. Rubio soared past Mr. Crist, who quit the GOP and ran (and lost) as an independent. Mr. Rubio won the Senate seat. This year Mr. Crist is running for governor as a Democrat.
Democratic senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon is polling ahead of his potential Republican opponents, but his position is weak heading into his reelection campaign, according to a new survey by a GOP polling firm. Harper Polling found Merkley is ahead of two possible Republican opponents but is still polling less than 50 percent against them. Forty-seven percent say they would vote for Merkley over GOP state representative Jason Conger, who polled 40 percent, while 12 percent say they are not sure.
On December 20, Cover Oregon—one of 14 state-based Obamacare insurance exchanges—began robocalling all Oregonians who had attempted to get health coverage through the state’s new marketplace. “If you haven’t heard from us by December 23, it is unlikely your application will be processed for January 1 insurance coverage,” said the prerecorded call.
Democrat Jeff Merkley of Oregon probably isn't the first sitting senator Republicans think they can defeat this November. After beating incumbent Republican Gordon Smith in 2008 by 3 percentage points, Merkley appears safe in his seat. In 2012 Oregon voted for Barack Obama by more than 12 points, and the Cook Political Report rates the Senate race as "solid Democratic."
You’ve got a problem. Seems Oregon’s health care exchange is, on the eve of Christmas, throwing up its hands and saying to those applying for (mandatory) coverage, “Hey, don’t look at us. You’re on your own.”
It’s a pity that there’s no Portland, Oregon, edition of the New York Post. After all, one can only dream of the headlines the wags at the Post would come up with to describe the ongoing travails of (now former) Multnomah County (home of Portland) Commissioner Jeff Cogen.
In light of the beating the Obama administration is taking over the ignominious launch of the Obamacare insurance marketplaces, it makes sense that the White House would be looking for good news to share. The White House Twitter account attempted to provide a boost on Thursday with the following:
As Ben Schachter explained earlier this month in THE WEEKLY STANDARD, the implementation of Obamacare has been especially hard on creative professionals, whose trade associations have been forced to eliminate various cost-effective insurance offerings due to the law’s mandates.