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Posts published in “Day: September 7, 2014”

A gradual slowing down?

idaho RANDY

This is the point at which general election campaigns start to ramp up, kick into gear, run their ads and hit their top pace. Especially in places like Oregon and Washington, where the effective campaign season only runs until the ballots hit the mail in mid-to-late October.

A campaign that seems to be moving in the other direction: The Senate campaign of Monica Wehby.
The main point here is the cancellation by Freedom Partners – which is to say the Koch Brothers – of more than a million dollars of television advertising in the Oregon Senate race, on Republican Wehby's behalf.

The most likely reason is analysis showing that in a year packed with close U.S. Senate races, Oregon's increasingly isn't looking likely to be one of them. Last week also saw release of a Rasmussen poll showing Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley with a solid and persistent lead over Wehby.

There could be another factor, too. Ads taking after an incumbent senator necessarily have to go negative, but push the harshness too far and it can backfire, notably in Oregon, which generally likes its politics civil. Freedom Partners ads are not noted for their gentle touch, and someone may have started to figure out that their approach wasn't getting the job done.

They also provided a fine target for Merkley, who described the “Koch/Wehby agenda” as “reward[ing] corporations that ship jobs overseas” and “gutting the clean air act.” Wehby's campaign took issue with some of the specifics, but the link to the Kochs ensured the damage was done.

The early Wehby campaign TV spots didn't notably exhibit that problem; they focused on introducing the Portland physician in a positive way, and settling for a slogan, “Keep your doctor, change your senator.”

Going that far did no harm to Wehby's campaign, but it wasn't pushing it forward either. In an age when TV ads are becoming less effective generally, a video has to make a major splash to have a real effect. Her most recent recent ads, which have avoided directly mentioning Merkley, have not been a major departure, but neither are they likely to get people talking. With the end of native Koch ads, she may have to change tack. The problem is that the larger the splash, the more uncertain the potential fallout.

It all has the feel of a gradual slowdown.

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Ombudsman sees change to public records law (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
New security kicks in at BSU football games (Boise Statesman)
More complaints about Optum Idaho Medicaid (IF Post Register)
Profiling former senator McGee (Nampa Press Tribune)
More pot grow sites found in Cassia county (Pocatello Journal)
Pocatello council seeks investigative audit (Pocatello Journal)
Looking at possibility of another canyon jump (TF Times News)

Wildfire rages west of Cottage Grover (Eugene Register Guard)
Civic leaders try to raise stadium funds (Eugene Register Guard)
Bates-Dotterrer race may be costly (Medford Tribune)
Lots of electricity for pot grown indoors (Portland Oregonian)
The thinness of restraining orders (Salem Statesman Journal)

Tree farm trails may proliferate (Bremerton Sun)
Boeing to revamp Paine Field production space (Everett Herald)
Cities will get charged more for jail costs (Everett Herald)
University battle over tri-city med programs (Kennewick Herald)
Debate over new West Main St in Kelso (Longview News)
Corrections whistleblowers claim retaliation (Olympian)
Microsoft hoping Windows 9 will be game changer (Seattle Times)
Reviewing solar power gains in WA (Seattle Times)
Reviewing status of aquifer beneath Spokane (Spokane Spokesman)
Lewis-McChord soliders sent to east Asia (Tacoma News Tribune)
Criticisms of Vancouver SWAT force (Vancouver Columbian)
State transportation plan draft nearly out (Vancouver Columbian)
Massage parlor raids yield 6 arrests (Yakima Herald Republic)
Yakima hospitals could consolidate (Yakima Herald Republic)
Questions over sheriff's discipline records (Yakima Herald Republic)