- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 18, 2014

A last-minute bombshell over a stalking accusation is threatening to derail the candidacy of Monica Wehby, a Portland brain surgeon who is considered the front-runner in Oregon’s Senate Republican primary Tuesday.

A former boyfriend, Stimson Lumber CEO Andrew Miller, made a 911 call and filed a police report in April 2013 claiming Ms. Wehby was stalking and harassing him after their relationship ended, according to Friday reports in Politico and The Oregonian.

Mr. Miller told The Oregonian on Friday that he acted “in the moment” and wished he could “do a do-over.” He has backed Ms. Wehby’s candidacy, sinking $106,000 into a super PAC, New Republican, to fund an advertising campaign against her primary opponent, state Rep. Jason Conger.

Republicans have called the spate of reports an example of the Democratic Party’s war on Republican women, but there is no doubt the disclosures have rocked the primary race in a year when the collapse of Oregon’s Obamacare exchange has put into play a deep-blue state where Democrats haven’t lost a statewide election in more than a decade.

“Democrats of course cannot respond to the threat by highlighting the accomplishments of their own candidate, Senator Jeff Merkley. Instead, they’ve resorted to vicious personal attacks that would almost certainly classify as sexist by their own definition,” the National Republican Senatorial Committee said in a Friday website post.

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Mr. Merkley has been criticized for voting for the Affordable Care Act and defended Cover Oregon, the embattled health care exchange that collected $300 million in federal funding before state officials opted to shut it down and join the federal exchange.

Not helping are President Obama’s low approval numbers. While the Rothenberg and Cook political reports have the race listed as “safe Democrat,” Portland pollster Tim Hibbitts of DHM Research said it’s not that simple.

“I certainly respect Rothenberg and Cook, and I generally agree with them, but I wouldn’t describe it as completely safe,” Mr. Hibbitts said before Friday’s disclosure. “I can see circumstances under which Sen. Merkley could wind up in a much tougher race.”

At a Friday primary debate at the City Club of Portland, Ms. Wehby said little about the controversy and ducked out immediately afterward as local television cameras chased her through the back entrance.

She released a statement to Politico saying she had just learned of the police report and that “there really isn’t much to it of consequence.”

“A year ago I went through the process of concluding a relationship,” said Ms. Wehby, who is divorced. “That relationship ended amicably, and while I’m not pleased that it has been deemed newsworthy, I guess that is the cost of challenging the political status quo.”

During and after the debate, however, Mr. Conger said Republican voters need to consider which candidate will be the most electable in November.

“The more questions that surround her candidacy, the more issues that are out there, the more material it provides for her opponent during the general election should she be the Republican nominee,” Mr. Conger told KGW-TV in Portland.

Until Friday, Ms. Wehby, 52, was considered the favorite. A pediatric neurosurgeon, she may have the catchiest campaign slogan: “Keep your doctor. Change your senator.” She has been endorsed by national Republicans such as Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ben Carson.

“It’s not brain surgery — Obamacare is bad for Oregon,” Ms. Wehby said in a television ad released last month.

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