Final filing day in Oregon, new endorsements for Merkley and Novick
Oregonians will choose party nominees for statewide offices as well as cast a vote in the presidential contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Remarking on the close of filing period, Oregon Democratic Chair Meredith Wood (who has done a terrific job building the state party) declared:
2008 just keeps getting better. We are so excited to have so many qualified candidates running up and down the ballot. We are going to unseat Gordon Smith and replace him with someone who will fight for working families, not the special interests.Meanwhile, the two main candidates for U.S. Senate in Oregon - Jeff Merkley, currently Speaker of the state House, and Steve Novick, a longtime activist - have each picked up important endorsements in the fast few days.
We will reject John McCain and his pledge to continue President Bush’s failed policies and we will increase our majorities in Salem and Washington, D.C.
Democrats are running to strengthen the economy, responsibly exit Iraq, increase access to quality health care and ensure government works for working families. Today is a great start.
Novick has been endorsed by former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, who served from 1995 through 2003 and is a widely respected leader. Novick has also been endorsed by the Oregon Education Association (OEA).
Jeff Merkley has been endorsed by the 50,000+ strong SEIU local in Oregon. He already has the support of the state's UFCW local and the AFL-CIO, along with a very long list of mayors, state representatives and senators, and county commissioners - plus Oregon's current governor, Ted Kulongoski.
Oregon's netroots community appears to be split between the two candidates. Passionately so, as a matter of fact.
Kari Chisholm, who runs BlueOregon and the political technology firm Mandate Media, works for Merkley (the campaign is one of his clients).
So does the exceptionally talented Carla Axtman, who used to write at Preemptive Karma and is a two-time David Neiwert Award recipient (we give out the awards each year to recognize accomplishments in the regional progressive blogosphere). Merkley hired her as netroots coordinator shortly after making up his mind for run for U.S. Senate last summer.
As for Novick, he probably doesn't have a stronger netroots supporter than torridjoe (TJ) of Loaded Orygun, also a two-time Neiwert Award winner and formerly of Also Also. Novick also has the support of Charlie Burr, one of BlueOregon's editors (it has two others, including Kari Chisholm) and Terry Olson.
Comment threads on posts about the Democratic primary can get rather heated, especially at BlueOregon, the state's most widely read progressive blog, where seven of the contributors support Novick and nine support Merkley. Today, Novick's campaign manager, Jake Weigler, declared in a guest post there that he's had it with the site, which he labeled a "rigged game". Responding to Weigler's criticism, Kari asserted that Blue Oregon had published "every single guest column submitted to us by Steve Novick or his campaign staff. That's exactly one."
Reading through some of these comment threads makes me feel like some of the differences I have with other Washington Democrats are pretty trivial.
We urge both the Merkley and Novick camps to spend as much time as possible talking about their own candidate's values, qualifications, and positions - not attempting to tear each other down.
There's nothing wrong with a spirited contest, but what good can come from a destructive fight between progressives? Nothing, that's what.