beaver boundary

place, politics and power in oregon

And Now, Back to the (non)Partisan Racetrack! November 7, 2007

Filed under: 2008 General,City of Portland,Multnomah County,Primary 2008 — taoiseach @ 8:23 pm

With the 2007 special election over, it’s time to put full political energy into the candidate races coming up in May 2008. Yes, that means less out-of-state money coming in to outspend and upend the progressive agenda that Oregon voters gave a mandate in 2006. But it also means that we can renew that mandate and build on all of the successes of the 2007 session and Measure 49, and come back for failed efforts like Paid Family Leave and Healthy Kids.

The brunt of May 2008 will be borne at the local level in Portland and Multnomah County. These governments use a non-partisan primary to narrow the field of candidates to 2 for the November general election. That is, unless a candidate in an election garners over 50% of the vote outright, in which case she wins the post without a November electoral duel.

And it’s already crowded.

There’s three races for the City of Portland offices this May: Commissioner 1 (Public Utilities), Commissioner 4 (Public Safety) and Mayor. Of the three, only Randy Leonard is staying put and running again for Commissioner 4, while Commissioner Sam Adams is running for the mayor post, which incumbent Tom Potter is vacating after one term.

The open Commissioner seat (Number 1) has generated the most formalized interest, with the following individuals already jumping in to the race:

  • Jeff Bissonnette,
  • John Branam
  • Amanda Fritz
  • Charles Lewis
  • Chris Smith

All of these candidates are attempting to qualify for Portland’s public campaign financing system, which requires 1,000 $5 checks/cash from eligible Portland voters.

Strangely, the open seat has generated no bizarre outsider candidates in comparison to the contest for Commissioner 4, for which Randy Leonard is seeking re-election. That race so far has drawn the interest of Rev. Jerry Edward Kill, who prefers to have his name appear as just “Ed” on the ballot.

Also running is Emily S. Ryan, an employee of the Chinese Classical Gardens with experience on Portland’s Charter Review Commission and the Multnomah County Commissions on Poverty and Children/Families.

Emily Ryan is participating in Portland’s unique public campaign financing system; Leonard and Rev. Kill are not.

The Mayoral race is looking pretty crowded, albeit largely with unknowns aside from the high-profile Adams. Here’s the listing as of today:

  • Sam Adams
  • Kyle Burris
  • Craig Grier
  • Lew Humble
  • James B. Lee
  • Beryl McNair
  • Nick Popenuk
  • Jeff Taylor

Of that field, besides the juggernaut Adams campaign, Nick Popenuk is an interesting candidate. He’s a 23-year-old U of O graduate who’s worked for Metro and was recently hired by ECONorthwest, a firm which also employs State House candidate Jules Kopel-Bailey (who’s running in the crowded HD 42 primary). Who knows what kind of campaign he intends to run, but those with a municipal political inclination can find his website here.

The Multnomah County races are a little less interesting ever since Karen Minnis decided against vying for a seat on the Commission. Three seats are opening up, as incumbents Maria Rojo de Steffey, Lisa Naito and Lonnie Roberts have decided against running again or are barred from another term. It’s a little harder to find out who’s filed to run for these seats, so this information is from ORESTAR.

For district 1 (west Multnomah County):

  • Deborah Kafoury, former state representative
  • Wesley Soderback

Rojo de Steffey’s former Chief of Staff, Shelli Romero, had also been mentioned as a possible contender for seat one.
Here’s what the Willamette Week had to say about this race in September:

Soderback, a retired deck officer with the U.S. Merchant Marine, is a relative unknown compared to Kafoury, who has one of Portland politics’ more well-known last names. He previously made an unsuccessful bid for the District 3 state Senate seat in 1988, when he was soundly defeated in the Democratic primary by Bob Shoemaker.

For district 3 (Mid-County south of I-84):

  • Roy Burkett, Intel Manufacturing Technician
  • Mike Delman, public affairs manager with Portland Habilitation Center
  • Rob Milesnick, public relations association with ODS Plans
  • Judy Shiprack, former state representative and director of Local Public Safety Coordinating Council

For district 4 (‘East County’):

  • Diane McKeel, director of West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce
  • Carla Piluso, Gresham Police Chief

According to the Oregonian, former state house candidate Rob Brading may also seek this seat, as might Fairview Mayor Mike Weatherby and Troutdale City Councilor Jim Kite.
The Boundary will make an effort to cover these nonpartisan races as they develop, hopefully with assistance of the local-savvy bloggers over at Witigonen (they’re way ahead on their coverage).


Frankly, Mr. Smith, I Don’t Give A Damn November 5, 2007

Filed under: 2008 General,Ethics,Gordon Smith,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 8:59 am

The Congressional Franking privilege, which allows members of Congress to send correspondence to constituents without cost, dates back to the seventeenth century in the British House of Commons. Over four centuries, it’s been subject to quite a bit of abuse by politicians to use official dollars for electoral pandering come campaign time. That doesn’t mean that Gordon Smith won’t take that abuse to new levels in order to save his Republican hide in blue Oregon.

The Boundary obtained a copy of Smith’s latest direct-mail piece franked newsletter form a source residing in the Portland metropolitan area. Based on Smith’s sweater-wearing peacenik persona that’s featured in the piece, it would seem the flyer probably went only to Portland-area voters. (More franking crankiness after the jump.) (more…)


OR GOP: Out of Touch with Time and Distance October 29, 2007

Filed under: 2008 General,Geography,Jeff Merkley,Oregon GOP,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 3:28 pm

Doomed missionary Marcus Whitman often has this quote attributed to him: “My plans require time and distance”.

It’s an expression that’s doubly lost on the Oregon Republican Party and its erstwhile digital mouthpieces, Oregon Catalyst and NW Republican, in a botched attack on a Democratic candidate.

First, the OR GOP fumbled a rudimentary understanding of geography and distance. In a press release issued earlier this month, Vance Day and his minority party wrongly criticize U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley for failing to take his campaign ‘east of the Cascade Mountains’ during its inaugural phase. In fact, Merkley and his staff had visited Deschutes County before the break of the GOP’s press release. Twice.

But apparently we were all supposed to know what they meant–not ‘east of the Cascades’, as they originally stated, but ‘Eastern Oregon’. Talk about literally moving the goal posts a hundred miles or so just to make a stupid press release seem consistent. Maybe the OR GOP can’t afford a proofreader in these tough times for the ultra-right wing?

Not content to call ‘Mulligans’ on the first foul-up, the OR GOP had to come out all wrong on time, too. Today the Catalyst and NW Republican blogs chastise Merkley again for failing to come to Eastern Oregon, instead of just ‘east of the Cascades’. Problem is, both articles came the very day after Jeff Merkley announced his extensive tour of Eastern Oregon! Perhaps before issuing an attack article, the OR GOP and its blog spots would do well to make sure that there are in fact grounds, or at least facts, for such an attack.

It’s obvious that the OR GOP directed the Catalyst and NW Republican to post this–NW Republican even has a graphic that says “Authorized and Paid for by the Oregon Republican Party” on its post. It’s a coordinated effort, and since it’s so badly botched, it has the fingerprints of party leaders Shawn Cleave and Vance Day all over it. Such incompetence is standard from both blogs, but the synchronization of this attack’s execution clearly points to the blundering leadership of the Oregon Republican Party.

With the OR GOP seriously screwing up an early attack, as it has with both attempts of this geography gaffe, it suggests that there are some serious gaps in the Party’s research abilities. Is the OR GOP so worried about Gordon Smith’s weakness in Eastern Oregon that they need to stoke the base with such flimsy material? Smith’s re-elect numbers are surely swirling in the toilet, but that definitely isn’t helped by Cleave’s butchering of an attack that was lame to begin with.

Take a look at Jeff Merkley’s Eastern Oregon kickoff agenda over at new blog Lefty Lane. It’s an extensive tour that undoubtedly went into planning well before the GOP’s first press release.

We’ll have to wait for Shawn Cleave’s next gaffe, but probably not for too long. Unlike Marcus Whitman, he’s too impatient for time and too ignorant to understand distance.


Jeff Merkley at Washington County Democrats, Oct. 24 October 25, 2007

U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley spent part of his birthday last night addressing a big group of Washington County Democrats in Aloha. He was on the stump, and the Washington County crowd was visibly excited as he talked about his leadership in the state legislature and his commitment to making health care for all a priority in the U.S. Senate. Of course, he didn’t waste any time saying that his first priority in the Senate would be to end the war in Iraq.

There’s a video up at and at the Washington County Democrats’ site.

Cut to the picture after the jump. (Having problems with wordpress…will post more pictures later). (more…)


Gordon Smith Puff Parade, Entry 26

Filed under: 2008 General,Gordon Smith,Puff,U.S. Senate — taoiseach @ 8:51 pm

Why spend money when you can earn media for yourself? And hey, while we’re at it, why earn media when it’s just handed to you for merely existing? The latter question frames the current puff parade for Gordon Smith, who’s riding a series of hollow news stories to keep his name in the press and in the public mind, all without doing anything particularly notable.

And now, for entry number 26 in the parade, we have the Oregonian’s Charles Pope on a typical new-guy assignment. In this hollow float of a report, we see Gordon Smith receiving an award in a star-studded reception for his fake leadership on gay rights. Cue Pope:

On Saturday Smith will be honored by the Matthew Shepard Foundation for his “longstanding leadership in replacing hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance” at a splashy dinner in Los Angeles.

The “Making a Difference” award will be presented to Smith at the group’s celebrity-tinged ceremony. Smith will accept the honor in person, his staff said, joining Cyndi and Elen Lauper, Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga., Christopher Shays, R-Conn., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wi.

Also honored will be Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who co-sponsored the hate crimes bill with Smith.

Those who have been paying attention know Smith’s record on gay rights. He’s voted in favor of the federal marriage amendment, and he stayed silent this year when the Oregon Legislature narrowly passed anti-discrimination and domestic partnership laws for gay Oregonians. Most recently, he canceled out Sen. Ron Wyden’s vote by supporting the confirmation of Judge Leslie Southwick, who “found that a mother’s sexual orientation alone was grounds for denying her custody of her children”, to the federal bench.

When he could have made a difference in support of gay rights, he has cowered away from the spotlight. Yet, Smith gets his political cover by offering a bill that he knows that President Bush will veto–an anti-hate crimes bill. And, apparently, he’s relishing the chance to rub elbows with congressional Democrats and Hollywood personalities in an election year.

If there is a Grand Marshal of the Smith Puff Parade, it is the Oregonian. Pope’s article aides and abets Smith’s head-fake on gay rights leadership and lets him walk away with the illusion of bipartisanship.

There’s perhaps no better political contrast to Smith here in Oregon than House Speaker Jeff Merkley. In 2005, then-minority leader Merkley fought like hell against the anti-democratic and bigoted grip of the House Republicans on SB 1000, which would have created civil unions for Oregon’s gay couples. After session adjourned, he went hard to work to recruit candidates and win back the Oregon House. And, of course, after Democrats retook the majority, Merkley delivered, passing SB 2 and HB 2007.

Smith, supposedly a leader on gay rights, looked on from the sidelines, probably trying to figure out his multiple conflicting positions on the Iraq war.

Fight back at, who has a special Halloween poll up about Smith’s scary scorecard in Congress.

Then head over to to see how he’d fight for fair-minded judges through his seat in the U.S. Senate. And wish him a belated Happy Birthday while you’re at it!


Future Ballot: Filings as of October 2007 October 24, 2007

The filing deadline for running in the 2008 election cycle isn’t until March, but many candidates have gotten an early start with the paperwork. The list below is not unlike a ballot of the future, except no one citizen would be able to vote in all 60 state representative contests. The list below contains mostly incumbents and primary fights in open seats. You’ll rarely find an incumbent and a challenger in any of these contests–the challengers are probably counting on some element of surprise. Or, perhaps in the Republicans’ case, they just can’t find anybody to run!

The Boundary will try to post this list every month or so to show progress on the filings and evolution in the contests.

Here’s the actual filings as of noon today (October 24, 2007):

United States Senator

David Loera (D), Roger Obrist (D), Pavel Goberman (D), Candy Neville (D)

Representative in Congress – First District

Mark Welyczko (D)

Attorney General

Greg Macpherson (D)^, John Kroger (D)^

Secretary of State

Vicki Walker (D), Brad Avakian (D)^, Kate Brown (D)^

State Treasurer

Ben Westlund (D)^

State Senator – Fifth District

Joanne Verger (D), incumbent

State Senator – Ninth District

Sarah Arcune (R), Bob McDonald (D)

State Senator – Fourteenth Districtballot

Mark Hass (D)

State Senator – Nineteenth District

Richard Devlin (D)^, incumbent

State Senator – Twenty-First District

Diane Rosenbaum (D)

State Senator – Twenty-Third District

Jackie Dingfelder (D)

State Senator – Twenty-Fifth District

Laurie Monnes Anderson (D), incumbent

State Senator – Twenty-Seventh District

Chris Telfer (R)^

State Senator, Twenty-Eighth District

Doug Whitsett (R), incumbent

State Representative – First District

Wayne Krieger (R), incumbent

State Representative – Second District

Tim J. Freeman (R), Mike Ward (D)

State Representative – Third District

Ron Maurer (R), incumbent

State Representative – Fourth District

Ronald Schultz (R), Dennis Richardson (R), incumbent

State Representative – Seventh District

Bruce Hanna (R), incumbent

State Representative – Eighth District

Paul Holvey (D), incumbent

State Representative – Ninth District

Arnie Roblan (D), incumbent

State Representative – Tenth District

Jean Cowan (D), incumbent

State Representative – Twelfth District

E. Terry Beyer (D), incumbent

State Representative – Fifteenth District

Andy Olson (R), incumbent

State Representative – Seventeenth District

Fred Girod (R), incumbent, Dan Thackaberry (D), Steven H. Frank (D)

State Representative – Eighteenth District

Vic Gilliam (R), incumbent

State Representative – Nineteenth District

Kevin Cameron (R), incumbent

State Representative, Twenty-Second District

Betty Komp (D), incumbent

State Representative, Twenty-Fourth District

Jim Weidner (R)

State Representative, Twenty-Fifth District

Kim Thatcher (R), incumbent

State Representative, Twenty-Sixth District

Matt Wingard (R)

State Representative, Twenty-Seventh District

Tobias Read (D), incumbent

State Representative, Twenty-Eighth District

Jeff Barker (D), incumbent

State Representative, Twenty-Ninth District

Chuck Riley (D), incumbent

State Representative, Thirtieth District

David Edwards (D), incumbent

State Representative, Thirty-First District

Brad Witt (D), incumbent

State Representative, Thirty-Second District

Deborah Boone (D), incumbent

State Representative, Thirty-Third District

Mitch Greenlick (D), incumbent

State Representative, Thirty-Fourth District

Suzanne Bonamici (D), incumbent

State Representative, Thirty-Fifth District

Larry Galizio (D), incumbent

State Representative, Thirty-Seventh District

Scott Bruun (R), incumbent

State Representative, Thirty-Eighth District

Linda Brown (D)

State Representative, Forty-First District

Carolyn Tomei (D), incumbent

State Representative, Forty-Second District

Regan Gray (D), Gordon Hillesland (D), Teddy Keizer (D), Albert Kaufman (D)^, Jules Kopel Bailey (D)^

State Representative, Forty-Third District

Chip Shields (D), incumbent

State Representative, Forty-Fifth District

Jon Coney (D), Michael Dembrow (D), Cyreena Boston (D)

State Representative, Forty-Sixth District

Ben Cannon (D), incumbent

State Representative, Forty-Seventh District

Jefferson Smith (D)^

State Representative, Forty-Eighth District

Mike Schaufler (D), incumbent

State Representative, Forty-Ninth District

Nick Kahl (D), Barbara Kyle (D)

State Representative, Fiftieth District

Bob Sherwin (D)

State Representative, Fifty-First District

Allen Taylor (D)^, Brett Barton (D)^

State Representative, Fifty-Third District

Gene Whisnant (R), incumbent

State Representative, Fifty-Fourth District

Chuck Burley (R), incumbent

State Representative, Fifty-Fifth District

George Gilman (R), incumbent

State Representative, Fifty-Sixth District

Bill Garrard (R), incumbent

State Representative, Fifty-Eighth District

Bob Jenson (R), incumbent

State Representative, Fifty-Ninth District

John Huffman (R), incumbent

State Representative, Sixtieth District

Cliff Bentz (R), Tim K. Smith (R), Dean Strommer (R)

^indicates candidate who has formed 2008 candidate committee for fundraising purposes but has not yet filed formal candidacy with the Secretary of State.


Gordon Smith is No Udall October 23, 2007

Colin Fogarty of OPB throws a nice media softball right at Senator Gordon Smith, who was ready at the plate with his corked bat. The central gist of Fogarty’s clip is clear: Gordon Smith is so moderate, he has elected Democrats in the family that he considers ‘brothers’. Hell, Smith’s part of a family dynasty that has its grip on government, so why even try ousting him?

It’s interesting to see that Fogarty, one of OPB’s sharpest analysts in the news department, has been relegated to the bureau of warm human interest pieces. To wit:

Following the meandering branches of most family trees is inevitably complicated. And in Mormon families polygamist marriages were common several generations back. So figuring out who’s related to whom can be even more complex. [. . .]

Having three Udalls in the U.S. Senate would be unprecedented. But it would not be out of character for a family dynasty that is full of so many state legislators, government officials, and state Supreme Court justices. The family is considered the Kennedys of the west.

Fogarty foretells the prospect of a political power family winning three Senate elections without even coming close to spelling out the process or likelihood of that happening. And that’s either sloppy or outright favorable coverage of Senator Smith, who gets to again wear his moderate clothing unexamined.

First of all, Congressman Mark Udall, Senator Smith, and, if he decides to run, Congressman Tom Udall will all stand in the 2008 Senate election, presuming they make it through the primary. Secondly, according to Senate race-rankers, Smith, a 10-year Senate veteran, faces almost as much difficulty in winning his contest as his two ‘brothers’, who would be running for seats currently held by Republicans. Congressman Mark Udall is actively campaigning for retiring Sen. Wayne Allard’s (R) seat in Colorado, while Congressman Tom Udall is mulling a run at the New Mexico seat that Sen. Pete Domenici (R) is leaving. currently ranks the Colorado and New Mexico races as ‘No Clear Favorite’ because of the strengths of the possible Democratic nominees seeking election to seats currently held by Republicans. Senator Smith’s race is in the next-closest column, ‘Leans Republican’. These two categories represent the most unstable and up-in-the-air contests in the 2008 Senate electoral field. While it may be fun and light-hearted to talk ‘what-if’ about the makeup of the 111th Congress, it’s disingenuous of Fogarty to make anything more than a passing reference to the actual likelihood of that happening.

If you’re wondering, here’s the passing reference:

Smith says he considers both his cousins “brothers”. But they are Democrats, so don’t looking for any brotherly love on the campaign trail.

Gordon Smith: “I’m going to stay out of the race. And I wish them well. I’d love to serve with them. I also know there are forces at play that are bigger than any of us individually. But no matter how it turns out, they’ll still be my brothers and maybe they’ll be my colleagues.”

Smith statement, “I’m going to stay out of the race”, is quite ambiguous. Which race? His own, or one of the Udalls’? Of course, Smith’s absence in the former is only wishful thinking on his part–he’ll undoubtedly have to campaign his ass off to even try to hold on to his seat. But since Fogarty didn’t press Smith on his prospects of re-election, Smith gets a free pass to make it seem like he has no opposition at all! It seems that as Jeff Merkley’s campaign picks up speed and momentum in the grassroots, Smith may be in the most elective trouble out of all three ‘Udalls’.  

Finally, if instead of this ‘Smith-is-moderate’ fluff OPB’s news department really wanted a story of political dynasty, it would have done well to link Smith more inexorably with Congressman Mo Udall. Though it would have little ostensible connection in substance, the two will undoubtedly share one outcome: losing an election.

Mo Udall lost his bid for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency to Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Gordon Smith will lose his seat in the U.S. Senate to Jeff Merkley in 2008.