Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Congressional Quarterly on OR-Sen: Get Local Help!

Well, I suppose it's nice that the Oregon Senate race is gaining national attention, but yesterday the well-regarded Congressional Quarterly's CQPolitics blog served up a piece on the aftermath of Blumenauer's "no" response that generally reflected the status of the race correctly, but showcased a host of embarassing factual errors. At least, I hope they're embarassed. Check it out:
Democrats have targeted Smith because Oregon, traditionally a partisan swing state, now gives Democrats the edge in voter registration and, for the most part, in election outcomes — due in part to the state’s large numbers of left-leaning independent voters.
"Now gives Democrats the edge?" The Secretary of State's office helpfully points out that Democrats have had the registration edge for every general election since at LEAST 1964. If anything, Oregon has traditionally been a Democratic state that elected non-mouthbreathing Republicans when it so chose--notice that the gaps in registration used to be much more heavily in favor of the Dems.
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry carried the state with 51 percent of the vote to 47 percent for President Bush in 2004, putting Oregon in the Democratic column for the fifth consecutive presidential contest. In 2006, Democrat Theodore R. Kulongoski was re-elected as governor, and his party’s takeover of the Oregon House gave it complete control over the state’s government.
Kerry actually got 51.59% of the vote, which by normal journalistic standards means he won with 52%, not 51%. (Bush's total was 47.4%, so that's right). And the author has changed it now, but this paragraph used to say "and his party's takeover of the Oregon Senate..." Whoops.
State Sen. Alan Bates, for one, has said he is “seriously considering” taking on Smith. Bates is a doctor and has made a name for himself working on health care policy.

“He’s a Democrat coming from a Republican-leaning district . . . The Democrats need someone who can win downstate in Clackamas County and pull at least some votes in eastern Oregon,” Gronke said. “Bates has that kind of style.”
A two-fer here. The first is a bit mushy--it's actually a quote rather than an assertion by the author, and it's true his entire district is Republican by less than 2 percentage points--but Bates is from Ashland, about as blue as it gets. But ignore that one if you like; the only people for whom Clackamas County is "downstate" are those living in Portland. It's an immediately adjacent suburb of the Rose City...!
“It’s hard to imagine Westlund getting reelected to the state Senate,” Lunch said, noting the distinct Republican lean of voters in his district centered in the eastern Oregon city of Bend, who may be alienated by Westlund’s party swap. “It makes a lot of sense for him to be looking down the road.”
Again, get this guy a map. Eastern Oregon? That's news to the people of Bend, who consider themselves the heart of CENTRAL Oregon.
While Democrats mull their options, there’s also a chance Smith might have to field a challenge from the right. John Frohnmayer, University of Oregon president and former head of the National Endowment for the Arts under President George H. W. Bush, has said he is considering running as a right-of-center independent.
John is not UO President; that would be his brother Dave.

Maybe we're better off laboring in obscurity after all.