- Associated Press - Friday, June 27, 2014

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby speaks out in a new web video. Retiring Republican legislator Vicki Berger endorsed an independent. And Cover Oregon is offering bonuses to workers who hang around. Here’s a look at some of the week’s most interesting developments in Oregon politics:


Under siege by Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley’s campaign, Wehby is fighting back, though they’re waging asymmetric warfare for the time being.

Wehby, who’s been mostly lying low since winning the May 20 primary, released a web video this week charging that “Washington is broken, and Sen. Jeff Merkley is part of the problem.” The video shows the Portland neurosurgeon wearing scrubs and talking optimistically about changing things in Washington.

Merkley’s campaign has been running television ads linking Wehby to Washington Republicans and slamming her statements on taxes.

But Wehby’s megaphone is significantly quieter than Merkley’s.

As of Friday morning, Wehby’s video had about 1,150 views on YouTube. Merkley’s two television ads have aired several hundred times on broadcast television in Portland and Eugene since early June, according to records the stations are required to file with the Federal Communications Commission.


Wehby received an extension on filing the personal financial disclosure required of Senate candidates.

The form requires candidates to list, within broad ranges, their investments and assets. The form was originally due May 15. Wehby’s extension gives her until Aug. 13.


Berger, a moderate Republican who is retiring from the state House when her term expires in January, is spurning the GOP nominee in a neighboring district.

Elected officials don’t often turn against their own party’s nominee. But Berger this week emailed a fundraising pitch for Chuck Lee, who is the only candidate seeking the Independent Party’s nomination in House District 25, which includes Keizer, Newberg and St. Paul.

In a bitter nominating contest, Republicans in the district chose conservative talk-radio host Bill Post.

“He helped lead the Tea Party movement here in Oregon and would be a divisive figure in the legislature,” Berger wrote.

Post said Berger is free to support whom she wants, but the area “is a conservative district, and I know my values are a good fit for the people who live, work and vote in our communities.”


State Rep. Dennis Richardson, the GOP nominee for governor, lashed out at retention bonuses offered to employees who don’t abandon Cover Oregon as it works to transition from its own failed website to one built by the federal government.

“This baffles me,” Richardson said in a news release. “Cover Oregon has already wasted millions of our tax dollars on a web site project that failed. And now the people who caused that failure get to receive taxpayer-funded bonuses?”

Cover Oregon says the bonuses are needed to keep staff with critical expertise in technology and health care policy from fleeing an organization mired in controversy. Most staff can get a bonus worth two weeks of pay if they stick around until March 15, but 38 people deemed especially critical can earn anywhere from one to three months of pay. They bonuses could cost up to $650,000.


Two new representatives are joining the state Legislature next month after one Republican and one Democrat resigned to take positions on county commissions.

Republican Rep. Kevin Cameron will be replaced by his former chief of staff, Denyc Boles (her name is pronounced like Denise). Boles is not seeking election to the seat in November, so she’s unlikely to serve during a legislative session. Cameron was appointed to the Marion County Commission.

Rob Nosse will replace Democratic Rep. Jules Bailey of Portland. Nosse, who won last month’s Democratic primary and is almost certain to be elected in November, is a union representative for the Oregon Nurses Association. He would become the only openly gay man in the Oregon Legislature.

Bailey was elected last month to the Multnomah County Commission.

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