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Posts published in “Day: May 9, 2006”

Republicans for Hill?

How does it go: The enemy of my enemy is . . . well, figure it out from this:

On Blue Oregon, there's a fascinating Kari Chisholm post about a recent and highly-visible TV spot apparently promoting Democratic primary candidate Jim Hill, against incumbent Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski, on the subject of the Cascade Locks casino proposal. (Which Kulongoski has endorsed, and Hill opposed.)

The first part of Chisholm's unearthing, that the Grand Ronde Tribe (in western Yamhill County) is behind the ad, is no surprise. The Grant Rondes operate Spirit Mountain, the biggest tourist draw in Oregon and the tribal casino now closest to Portland, a situation that would change if the Cascade Locks casino is built.

The interesting part follows, when Chisholm notes that $25,000 of the money for the ad went (evidently for production costs) to a New York company called Mercury Public Affairs, a company, a division of Fleishman-Hillard, whose client roster is solidly Republican. (Only four days ago its staff was augmented by the addition of Terry Nelson, former political director for the Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign and an adviser to Senator John McCain.) It does substantial corporate work too, but its political web page lists a number of Republican candidates and committees, but just one from a western state: Oregon Republican Senator Gordon Smith.

Chisholm's question: "Why does Gordon Smith's political team want to boost Jim Hill? Why are they getting involved in the Democratic race for governor? What do they have to gain?"

One possible answer: Smith might prefer to be running for re-election in 2008 with a Republican rather than a Democratic governor in office; might make life a little easier. But all of this does raise some intriguing questions.


It must be the Season of the Chicken. In Oregon, one of the TV spots in high rotation is one from the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Mannix aimed at his main primary competitor, Ron Saxton, accusing him of flipping on position after position and using a chicken in the background footage (with chicken vocals as well) to drive home the point. (Right about now, you can't miss it on Portland TV.)


In Idaho, most of the gubernatorial candidates haven't that kind of TV money, but two of them did have the wit to employ the fowl as a visual.

The springboard was the withdrawal a few days ago of Republican gubernatorial candidate C.L. "Butch" Otter from a primary debate (originally set for Thursday, and now cancelled) with his main primary opponent, Dan Adamson. Otter is the presumed easy winner of the race, but his pullout set him up for what he got on Tuesday.

Which was a highly unusual joint press conference featuring Republican Adamson and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brady, both urging that if Otter failed to show up, Brady be allowed to speak in Otter's place. Not a bad thought: There should be some kind of significant penalty for doing what Otter did.

That won't happen, of course, even if it probably should. But Adamson and Brady did manage to drive home the point with a visual, by holding their press conference in front of a chicken coop. (Originally misspelled in a press released as "chicken coup," which probably wasn't what they had in mind.)

Chickens are going to get a bad reputation this way . . .