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Conservative metrics

Here’s a little chart we’ll be running, and gradually filling in, over the next week-plus as the Oregon and Idaho primaries unfold. It may give us some numbers to analyze with, when it comes to getting an insight into the percentages associated with the various components of Republican conservatism in the Northwest. (For that reason, Washington readers may want to pay attention too.)

District Establishment % Insurgent %
US House OR 1 Cornilles % Kuzmanich
US House OR 5 Bruun % Thompson %
US House ID 1 Ward % Labrador %
US House ID 2 Simpson % Heileman
OR House 58 Jenson* % Mathisen* %
OR House 57 Smith* % MacLeod* %
OR Senate 19 Sprenger* % Cuff* %
OR Senate 19 Griffith* % Kremer* %

The point here is that, on the Republican side (and there really aren’t any notable Democratic counterparts in the Northwest races) there’s a discernible conflict between “establishment” conservative candidates – generally defined as those who declare themselves conservative and have strong endorsement and party organization support – as opposed to the “insurgent” candidates, who may be more reliant on grass roots and in most cases may be closer to the Tea Party and similar organizations.

This isn’t a perfect chart, of course. In the Idaho 1st, Vaughn Ward has been beset with an enormous number of late-breaking campaign problems unassociated with his views on issues. In the 2nd, Mike Simpson is an incumbent (unlike the other congressional candidates here), and has two major opponents. And the Oregon legislative races (*) are an inversion of sorts. There, two Republican incumbents (Bob Jenson and Greg Smith), who are mostly conservative, have been targeted by a number of state party leaders and allied organizations for going south on recent critical tax votes. Incumbent Sherrie Sprenger is being challenged from the right, sort of, though the actual philosophical differences seem harder to parse than the challenger’s proclamations that he’s more conservative. Steve Griffith is a moderate attorney and the kind of Republican who might win in a Portland suburban district, and so has some support among party pragmatists; but how will he do against the conservative activist organization-backed Mary Kremer, who also has a good deal of party organization support?

These are among the top-line questions we’ll be watching on this and next week’s Tuesday nights. Will patterns emerge? Stay tuned.

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  1. salperalta salperalta May 18, 2010

    I’m not sure that Griffith could be considered an “establishment candidate” nor Kremer an “insurgent” given that Kremer has received $30,000 in support from the Senate Republicans and Griffith has not.

  2. Randy Stapilus Randy Stapilus Post author | May 18, 2010

    Sal – True, of course. I’ve amended the post to try to clarify that Kremer comes from the right, with support from that quarter, while Griffith comes from a more moderate position. The (rough) idea is to draw a line between the various candidacies; we’ll see how well it works.

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