Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley More Vulnerable Than Appears
Having worked on two of former GOP Senator Gordon Smith’s campaigns, and having spent a bit of time on the ground in Oregon, there’s no question incumbent Jeff Merkley has an advantage going into his 2014 reelection. Nevertheless, the incumbent’s body language of late — and his clear worry about the broken Obamacare promise of keeping your policy if you choose to do so, demonstrates he’s quite concerned.
Monica Wehby, a Portland pediatric neurosurgeon, has the right stuff to win this race. In 2004 Wehby was the chief petitioner of Ballot Measure 35, which would have limited non-economic damages in medical lawsuits. Voters narrowly defeated the measure, but Wehby has remained active in medical policy circles and serves on the board of the American Medical Association.That’s great for fundraising.
A critic of Obamacare, Wehby said she opposed the requirement that individuals buy health insurance, and has significantly ramped up criticism of Merkley and his embrace of the President’s signature health reform issue.
A Catholic mother of four, Wehby, 51, grew up in Tennessee, then studied at Notre Dame and Baylor. She moved to Portland 15 years ago to work at Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel.
While there is a GOP primary, keep an eye on this race in general and Wehby in particular. It has the feel of possibly breaking late against the incumbent if she wins the primary and runs a strong campaign.