Yeah, it sucks to be Gordon Smith
On Tuesday, Smith's longtime spokesperson, RC Hammond, abruptly and mysteriously left the campaign. Lindsay Gilbride from the senator's office was quickly shuttled in to take over duties.
Gilbride stated that Hammond simply wanted to move into the private sector to explore new pastures. All due beasty inferences aside, the sudden departure of Hammond, a seasoned spokesperson who has good relations with the local media, is a blow to Smith's operation. The scuttle here is that Gilbride may be merely an interim replacement and the Smith folks are looking to hire a big gun to take over for Hammond. Stay tuned.
Then today's West Linn Tidings skewers Smith on their editorial page over the county timber payments issue:
For Sen. Gordon Smith the timber payments fiasco is a different matter. Smith, a self-proclaimed champion of timber-dependent communities, may become the biggest casualty over this issue at the polls next fall.
By failing to effectively weigh in on timber payments, Smith forfeited a golden opportunity to be a hero and relinquished it to his Democratic rival, Sen. Ron Wyden, who has crafted timber payments amendment of his own and attached it to the president’s military spending bill. Even if this maneuver doesn’t work, Wyden can come back to Oregon and truthfully say that he fought the good fight for rural counties.
And finally, NRSC Chief John Ensign is using Obama to throw Gordon Smith under the bus:
He said that while Sen. Barack Obama’s impact on down-ballot races is “unknowable at this point,” he expects Obama to boost the prospects of Democratic candidates in some states -- naming Oregon as an example.
“Without Barack Obama, [Sen.] Gordon Smith probably wins [reelection] going away,” Ensign said.
Ensign is desperately trying to triage the ailing GOP's dimming chances at holding seats. The fact that he's singling out Smith as a guy in a badly weakened position doesn't bode well at all for Gordo.