[Milo's Note: Anastasia Perone is a friend who has been volunteering countless hours at the local Obama/Biden office. I invited her to write a guest column. As she says, she has also been working on the campaign of Jeff Merkley against the incumbent Republican Senator from Oregon, Gordon Smith. I know that most of you who read this are in other states with your own state races; but I thought you should hear her perspective on this race. According to current polls, while Obama has a 13 point lead in the state, Merkley and Smith are in a dead heat. If you are an Oregonian, your vote in this race could make the difference. Thanks, Anastasia for this article, and more, for your citizen labors in the campaign!]
I have been campaigning for Jeff Merkley since the middle of August, and I would like to shed some light on the, gut-wrenchingly, close senate race between Gordon Smith and Jeff Merkley. Unfortunately, I have been hearing from a lot of progressive Democrats that they are seriously considering voting for Smith or not voting at all because they think that too much mud is being slung between the candidates. The ads that Gordon Smith's campaign has been running, since June, are horribly negative. The Democratic Party of Oregon have run ads, in Jeff's defense, but progressive Oregonians are not used to this type of campaigning from their candidates and have expressed their disdain for these ads. My question is this: what is Jeff Merkley supposed to do about this? He has put out issue based ads, with the limited financing he has, but Smith's campaign is still inundating the television with one negative ad after another.
Republicans have used negative tactics in the past, and it has worked for them; fighting dirty does not to seem to turn conservative voters away. This seems to be one fundamental difference between progressives and conservatives. I want to urge the progressive voter to realize that not voting for Merkley is like voting for Gordon Smith because conservatives will show up in support of their candidate.
We need strong representation in Oregon, and having two Democrats in the Senate will help bring about the change this country desperately needs. Gordon Smith and Ron Wyden have cancelled each others votes more than 1700 times. This basically leaves Oregon with no representation at all.
Barack Obama has endorsed Jeff Merkley and has merged his Oregon campaign with Merkley's. Obama realizes how important it is to have a Democratic House and Senate, in order to implement the change that needs to happen. I urge all Obama voters to strongly consider Jeff Merkley. He stands for all the same things Obama does. He wants to bring affordable health care to all Oregonians, end the war in Iraq, invest more in the education of our youth, make college more affordable, bring renewable energy jobs to Oregon, and bring outsourced jobs back to the state.
The only way to ensure that change will take place in this country is to get more Democrats elected this November 4th.
- Anastasia Perone