After the choice of Sarah Palin for VEEP by John McCain I thought I'd seen it all when it comes to political ploys but then I got my Oregon Primary Voters' Pamphlet in the mail. Inside I found some weird politics going on. Of course President Obama is running unopposed in the Democratic primary and, normally speaking, my Congressman, Peter DeFazio, would be running unopposed as well as he is very popular among Democrats. But Defazio has a Democratic primary challenger who is not really a Democrat -- and he's not the only one; our Secretary of State, Kate Brown (also very popular with Democratic constituents) faces a primary challenge from an insurgent candidate too.
In the case of the challenge to the Secretary of State the challenger at least has a reasonable, if not persuasive, explanation for being in the race. Paul Damien Wells is a cranky "voting rights" advocate who's angry about the fact that Oregon has a closed primary. A past court challenge to that closed system, brought by the Libertarian Party of Oregon, failed and so Wells has decided he'll infiltrate the Democratic primary in protest. He has no chance of winning but if making a statement was his goal then his reasoning is at least understandable.
But the insurgent challenger to progressive Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio has no apparent motive. Even State Republicans can't understand why young Matthew Robinson, the avowed right-wing son of extremist Republican candidate Art Robinson, would challenge DeFazio in the primary. I e-mailed Matthew Robinson to ask why he has chosen to run as a Democratic challenger but he has not responded so I have only the information provided by the DeFazio campaign to rely on. According to the DeFazio for Congress campaign: Matthew Robinson is not a Democrat. He has repeatedly said that he shares the same extreme views as his father. In fact, according to the Register-Guard, he "couldn’t identify any major political difference between himself and his father.” The campaigns even share the same campaign manager, the same address, and Art Robinson has solicited contributions for Matthew from his donors. http://www.defazioforcongress.org/2012/04/01/bizarre-political-stunt/
I can only conclude that Matthew Robinson is either involved in some sort of sleazy scheme with his father or is deluded or perhaps has been smoking too much dope in college.
Here is Matthew Robinson's campaign page (notice the qoutation he chose to insert below his signature which betrays the fact that he is actually a libertarian leaning Republican): http://www.matthew2012.com/
And here is a (hysterical) video featuring Rachel Maddow attempting to interview the elder Robinson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2InHyQQvxGk
I'm curious to know if people in other states have seen the same sort of insurgent campaigns with Libertarians or Republicans registering as Democrats in order to infiltrate the Democratic primary. There are some strange politics going on here in Oregon!