The campaign web site for Joel Haugen, the Republican nominee running for the 1st U.S. House district in Oregon, has a FAQ which leads with this question: "I'm confused. You've endorsed Obama, you're anti-Iraq War, you're an environmentalist... and you're a Republican?"
With a question like that, do you necessarily need the answer? It tells you quite a bit right up front, such as that Haugen is probably not super-close to most of the area's Republican organization.
Sal Peralta, the 2006 Democratic candidate for the state House in Yamhill County, and now an Independent Party member, recently interviewed him and described him as "a poster-child for progressive Republicanism." Haugen himself likes to harken back to former Governor Tom McCall.
Haugen did win the Republican nomination (to oppose incumbent Democrat David Wu), and did it by defeating a social conservative much more in tune with the party activists, Claude William-Chappell. But area party leaders say, simply, that Haugen isn't really a Republican, and they'd much prefer he just . . . go away. The party isn't giving him any help.
Today, the McMinnville News Register reports that Haugen is talking to Independent Party leaders about possibly switching over to their group.
Which could mean that the Independent Party has a candidate in the 1st District race, but the Republicans do not. At least, the Republican Party as it is today.