Dr. Monica Wehby accused Democrats of “dirty tricks” Tuesday after she captured the Oregon Republican Senate nomination, overcoming a last-minute bombshell over reports that she stalked and harassed a former boyfriend.
With 100 percent of the vote counted, Dr. Wehby won with 50 percent of the vote in a five-candidate field. Her closest rival, state Rep. Jason Conger, had 37 percent of the vote.
A first-time candidate, Dr. Wehby pulled out the win after Portland police reports and a 911 call made last year by timber executive Andrew Miller went public Friday. The Oregonian reported Monday that her ex-husband, Jim Grant, had called police while they were going through a divorce in 2007 and then during a child-custody dispute in 2009.
Mr. Miller, the head of Stimson Lumber, now backs her campaign and has said he regrets going to the police after the couple broke up last year. Mr. Grant has not commented publicly.
In a Tuesday night victory speech at her campaign headquarters, Dr. Wehby tackled the issue head-on, telling a cheering room of supporters that she had made mistakes, then hitting back at Democrats for releasing the reports to the media.
“Over the last several days, there have been a lot of vicious, ugly hurtful attacks,” Dr. Wehby said in video posted online by KGW-TV in Portland. “Lord knows that I am not perfect. I am like countless other Oregonians. … I try my best, but in life we all make mistakes. And when I do, I’m no different than the rest of you. I pick myself back up and get going again and I try to make things better.”
She continued, “But I do have a message for those national Democrats who were willing to shred my family for their own political gain: People are tired of your dirty tricks.”
The Oregonian reported Monday that a researcher with the Democratic Party of Oregon was the first to request the April 2013 police report. The story was broken Friday by Politico, but the online publication did not submit a request for the report, according to the Oregonian.
A pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Wehby, 52, now faces Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, who’s running for reelection in a blue state that hasn’t elected a Republican to statewide office since 2002.
Still, Dr. Wehby said she believes Mr. Merkley, 57, is out of step with average Oregonians, noting that he voted 95 percent of the time with President Obama and was rated the most liberal senator by National Journal.
“And you know, we’re Oregonians, we’ve got that pioneer spirit,” said Dr. Wehby. “We don’t agree with anybody 95 percent of the time.”
Meanwhile, the Merkley campaign released a statementTuesday night calling Dr. Wehby a “typical Republican” who will “advance the national Republican agenda.”
“Unlike Monica Wehby, who will be a rubber stamp for the national Republicans’ unpopular agenda in Washington, Jeff Merkley puts Oregon first,” said the statement.
At Tuesday’s victory party, Dr. Wehby assured supporters that she was up to the challenge of a rough-and-tumble campaign.
“We all know that the best way to defeat a bully is to stand up to him, and that is exactly what we are going to do,” said Dr. Wehby. “So tonight we are sending a message that this Senate race will not be decided by the kind of ugly kind of politics that people in Oregon and across this country are so sick of. That time is over.”