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Too late the explosion?

The three-week mail-in stretch for Oregon voters, the period from when they get their ballots to the deadline for submitting them, has subsidiary effects, including the difficulty of running a hard last-minute attack on one’s opponent. Those 11th-hour bashings usually depend on the opposition getting little chance to respond; but what do you do when voting takes place over a three-week window?

Kevin Mannix, and his Republican primary opponent in the Oregon 5th House District, Mike Erickson, may find out. Today, Mannix released an e-mail (though only the first name of the sender) who alleges that Erickson used cocaine during wild boat parties several years back, and also paid for the abortion of a woman he had impregnated. Mannix says his campaign checked out the information and stands by it. Erickson says it simply isn’t true.

The primary election deadline is a week from tomorrow. Ballot returns so far are estimated at 13%.

The release comes just as polling seems to be showing Erickson moving decisively ahead of Mannix, who had been the presumed frontrunner.

This has been a stunningly roughhouse Oregon primary season. And this big of roughness may set the new mark.

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