Dr. Monica Wehby is a smart person.
While we speculated that her campaign going dark in July and August was a strategy to let things die down before a big post labor day push, it could alsoWehby v Merkley have been her exercising her discretion to let things play out during the summer and see how things the polling looked in September. Sort of like filling a patient full of antibiotics and seeing how they deal with the infection before taking more serious measures.
Her training makes her analytical, weighing the options, determining the cost and possible outcomes, and not prone to taking courses of action that are expensive yet likely to lead to undesirable results.
She also isn’t a career politician, while that’s a good thing in many ways, it also means she doesn’t have a much to lose by quickly ceding an election she can’t win. A “strong showing” is meaningless to someone who isn’t interested in running for office again.
This week Dr. Wehby didn’t show up for the Willamette Week candidate interview. Her campaign also refused a televised debate between her and Sen. Merkley sponsored by KGW and the Oregonina. The type of even that a candidate like her would beg to feature. But debates and joint appearances take prep time, and while I don’t doubt she could handle the debate with Sen. Merkley if she prepared well, debates are challenging and uncomfortable.
This all leads to one conclusion. She just isn’t into it anymore. She’s minimizing her energy. Maybe making appearances at the local Chambers of commerce, or glad handing at community events. An investment of time at friendly events, but not much psychic energy or putting herself into situations that are uncomfortably confrontational. She’s a short timer in politics and she wants to spend time and energy on thing that matter to her. Her patients and her practice.
If correct, her course of actions is a rational one for a non politician. This is the exact reason why the OR GOP would have been better off with Jason Conger as it’s nominee. This was always going to be a difficult pick up for the GOP. Back in April, we argued that a Conger losing candidacy would be better than a Wehby losing candidacy for the OR GOP. If a loss was inevitable, at least Conger would have a reason to fight to the end. He’d want to build on this campaign and seen as a tested candidate with a ground game and volunteer base to make a run for statewide race in the future. While if Dr. Wehby lost, she would likely fade from the scene and not leave any guiding philosophy or infrastructure for the GOP to use going forward.
At this point, it appears Dr. Wehby may be fading from the scene even before the election. A rational decision by a trained decision maker. And frankly, one many of us would make as well given today’s politics.