Strange Primary Politics in Oregon

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mdhess's picture

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.

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):

 And here is a (hysterical) video featuring Rachel Maddow attempting to interview the elder Robinson:      

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!


Laborisgood's picture
I got an odd political

I got an odd political polling phone call the other day.  I believe it was from the GOP candidate who is running an uphill battle in a newly configured congressional district.  It asked ridiculous questions such as:

1.  Do corporate executives typically vote for democrats or republicans?

2.  Do union members typically vote for rebublicans or democrats?

They also asked a bunch of other questions about who you voted for in 2008 and who you would likely vote for in 2012 presidential elections and if you approve of Obama,etc.

I concluded that this GOP candidate was not yet sure what he stands for and was considering his options to triangulate some sort of scheme that is anti-corporate and pro-union with his hopefully uninformed electorate.

I think the GOP are out of bullets and resorting to just throwing the empty gun at us.

Art's picture
I'm sure that dark blue

I'm sure that dark blue Oregon is a prize the righties would love to capture. Hence all the out of state money for cranks like Art Robinson. They don't have Bill Sizemore to give it to any more. But Peter Defazio? Good luck on that one.

mdhess's picture
I wish Oregon was dark blue! 

I wish Oregon was dark blue!  The truth is that even right now the state House is evenly split and they had to work out a power sharing scheme and Dems have the state Senate by a slim 16-14 majority.  Our Democratic governor won with just a slight  advantage over a clearly unqualified Republican candidate so Oregon is not the bastion for liberalism that the mainstream media would have us believe.  The state could very easily go over to the dark side.  The primary challenge to DeFazio though is really interesting.  Nobody can figure out what this goofy Robinson family is up to.  Matthew, the baby faced college student son of the Republican candidate, has no chance of defeating DeFazio in the primary and Defazio really doesn't have to mount any substantive campaign to defend against him so we're just shaking our heads wondering what craziness this is. 

Art's picture
Quote:I wish Oregon was dark

I wish Oregon was dark blue!  The truth is that even right now the state House is evenly split and they had to work out a power sharing scheme and Dems have the state Senate by a slim 16-14 majority.
I don't think 2010 counts. The country went tea-party goofy, with Oregon being no exception. The kid is just looking to get back for all the mean things DeFazio said about his Daddy in 2010.

mdhess's picture
Maybe so, but what's the

Maybe so, but what's the point of this? It will just make him seem as dingy as his old man.

Here's a very good breakdown of the historical trends in Oregon.  It shows that in recent history its been pretty blue but that hasn't always been the case.

notice that in 2000 the presidential vote split down the middle and the graph at the bottom shows that proir to then the state trended red otherwise.