They've both got their backers. But in the newspaper endorsement race - for the Democratic nomination for the Senate - attorney Steve Novick is leading House Speaker Jeff Merkley. (Merkley did finally get today a positive story in the Oregonian, but that's one of the few media breaks he's gotten in months.)
How the endorsements, so far at least, break down:
Novick: The Portland Oregonian (this is by far the big one), the Medford Mail-Tribune, the Pendleton East Oregonian, the Ashland Daily Tidings, Willamette Week (weekly), the McMinnville News Register, the Portland Mercury (weekly), the Portland Tribune.
Advantage: Novick. His advocates seize on his unconventional style, political and policy smarts and passion; Merkley's point to a strong record in the Oregon House. Actually, most of the editorials make both sets of points about these candidates, the difference coming in where you put the emphasis. But this has to be said: More often than not, newspapers will go with the more conventional, establishment choice, and the one with the longer resume of public offices. This time, even while offering few criticisms of Merkley, they didn't. The newspaper editorial boards (at the primary stage at least) should have been a Merkley audience.
ALSO Seems in our review that Illinois Senator Barack Obama has swept the newspaper endorsements in Oregon so far. Or has Hillary Clinton picked up one we missed? (Among the majors and others, we know the Oregonian, the Register-Guard, the Willamette Week have endorsed Obama; the Salem Statesman-Journal plans a presidential endorsement on Sunday.)
UPDATED Edited to add two recent Novick endorsements. And to note here that we're considering only endorsements by general-interest news publications aimed at a broad community, not a specific interest (and some of those have endorsed in the Senate race too).