Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Pot, Kettle, Tootie

The dubiously timed retirement of just elected State Representative Mac Sumner (R-Molalla) seems to have created a circus-like atmosphere in Oregon House District 18.

Former HD-18 Representative Tootie Smith, who was elected to the seat in 2000 and 2002 (and vacated it to run in a losing effort for Clackamas County Commissioner) has got her back up over what she calls "a farce" of a nominating convention.

Smith, who is herself ethically challenged, is supremely pissed off about the Oregon GOP's selection process to replace Sumner according to the Molalla Pioneer (The story isn't in the paper's online archives yet. But the paper's editor kindly agreed to send the story along to me in email. I'm excerpting it and will post a link when its available).

Smith outlined her complaints to the Molalla Pioneer:

"(The convention) was a farce," Smith said. "It was not representative
of the voters' wishes in District 18."

Smith said she thought the results were skewed by the number of
precinct representatives from Marion County.

"Marion County decided to run a slate of ultra conservative,
falling-off-the-cliff people, none of whom had held elected office,"
she said. "… It's unfair for the voters who voted for Mac Sumner. We
need some very stable minded people in the district, and that was
totally lacking."

Smith said she plans to run for the District 18 seat again in the next election.

Sumner said the results of the convention came as a surprise to him.
Although he described the five nominees as "very capable," he said, "I
was surprised that Tootie wasn't at the top of the list." Sumner had
endorsed Smith to be his replacement for the seat.

Smith is a former lobbyist for the Oregon Family Council, not exactly a mainstream organization. Claiming that others are "falling-off-the-cliff" sounds fairly projectionist.

Tootie also rattled off her complaints to the Statesman Journal using similar verbage.

The slate of candidates in line for the job do seem rather whacked. The Molalla Pioneer describes them thusly:

Out of the seven candidates present at the nominating convention, the
five nominees, in order of votes received, were: Mike Schrock of
Aurora, Ken Iverson of Woodburn, Vic Gilliam of Silverton, Victor
Hoffer of Mt. Angel and Jeffrey Faville of Salem.........

Schrock, a landscape contractor, said his three priorities are
abortion, eliminating regulation on businesses and preventing spending

"I ran for this position for one reason — I wanted to be sure that a
conservative, socially and fiscally, would fill this office," he said.

Iverson, a farmer from Woodburn, said he would focus on fulfilling the
needs of rural residents.

"I really believe this district is a resource-based district, with
farms, forests and tree farms, and I think our state has forgotten
that while chasing high tech and everything else," Iverson said. "I
really think it's important that somebody who knows the soil can
represent this district."

Gilliam, who served as a legislative aid to Senator Hatfield from 1976
to 1982, advocated a return to strict Republican party values.

Because Republicans are now in the minority in the Oregon legislature,
he said, "It's going to take some fancy footwork, some guerilla
warfare. … Let's pick the best warrior."

Hoffer has a varied history that includes attending both seminary and
law school and working as a paramedic. He named abortion and gun
control as two of the main issues he would work against.

Faville, the youngest of the candidates, worked as a legislative
assistant in the state legislature from 1995 to 1999 and volunteered
for Mac Sumner's campaign.

When the main issue for two of the five is abortion and another one is looking to be a "guerilla", maybe Smith isn't too far off in her comments. But given what seems to be her own ultra-conservative agenda it seems like little more than sour grapes on her part. And while Sumner won the seat by six points, its hard to believe that the first priority for constituents is abortion and "guerilla" legislative tactics.