In my column I never aim to appease any but the most moderate of Republicans and other weird sects. Turns out that’s a bad business model because, one, the moderate Oregon Republican In Name Only (RINO) is as extinct as the black rhino and, two, I don’t get paid to write this crap anyway!
Eugene Weekly Editor Camilla Mortensen’s recent report on the Dorchester Conference (“Republicans Gone Wild,” EW 3/29) should send out shock waves to Democrats. Dorchester began in 1965; moderate Bob Packwood created an alternative to conservative Republicans who’d chosen Barry Goldwater for president in 1964. Fast-forward to 2018: Dorchester headlines rightwing Trump advisor Roger Stone and Portland’s reigning hate group the Proud Boys as poster children.
Mortensen points to a straw poll at the conference indicating which faction of today’s Republican party showed up. Greg Wooldridge, the newest darling of anti-choice and pro-gun advocates, defeated Knute Buehler, the presumed frontrunner in the gubernatorial primary. Trying to portray himself as a moderate, Buehler alienated Republicans with his votes on reproductive rights and gun rights in the aftermath of Parkland.
Buehler understood that the last Republican to get near Mahonia Hall was a tall moderate basketball player, Chris Dudley, who lost in 2010 by a whisker: 49.3 percent to 47.8 percent. In 2018 Buehler’s gamble may fail.
The most telling piece of Mortensen’s Dorchester report is the emergence of Jonathan Lockwood in both the Wooldridge race and Lou Ogden’s race as a “non-partisan” candidate for Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) commissioner.
Lockwood’s position in both races, given his short slash-and-burn legislative staff history, indicates these candidates will ingratiate themselves to the alt-right elements of the party. The alarming difference is that while Wooldridge’s strategy against Buehler is nothing new, Ogden appeared out of nowhere and is building up steam quickly.
Mortensen’s description of Ogden’s “Google problem” is eye opening. From 2013 we find the headline “Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden running for fifth term despite housemate’s child porn case.” His defense was that his roommate “was evicted immediately” after Ogden learned of the allegations.
Actually the alleged pervert lived with Ogden for 18 months after the investigation began, during which time the perpetrator was arrested and his computer files confiscated by law enforcement! Really? Eighteen months and you didn’t know your roommate was into child porn?
Being the astute journalistic wannabe that I am, I immediately investigated the past living arrangements of Ogden’s opponent for BOLI commissioner, Val Hoyle.
It turns out that during her last three legislative sessions, Oregon Rep. Hoyle had some highly suspect roommates herself. I have so far identified one of the suspected roommates as the notorious Nancy Nathanson, state representative and our distinguished co-chair of Joint Ways and Means.
Nathanson’s reputation among her friends for her fastidiously high ethical qualms regarding breaking any law would leave her morally ambiguous about jaywalking in Jasper for chrissakes!
The Google problem is not just about the child porn stuff. Poor Lou has another credibility problem involving his “occupation.” Ogden listed in his filing that he was a “farmer.”
But where? The farm is apparently in Illinois, and his wife’s family owns it. In fact it’s where his wife lives! And he goes back often to Illinois through O’Hare airport in Chicago to farm the farm when he’s not toolin’ the Tualatinians.
Ogden has spent a lot of time in Illinois. We know this because of The Oregonian’s 2012 story on the $100,000 he charged the city of Tualatin for travel expenses with an inexplicable number of O’Hare layovers. During one matching period of time, the rest of the City Council combined spent $9,000!
Will Ogden survive his “Google problem”? Ask the puppet master behind the scene. Ogden raised cash quickly with the help of state Rep. Julie Parrish. You remember her, don’t you? Along with state Rep. Cedric Hayden she sponsored Ballot Measure 101 in an effort to eliminate Medicaid in Oregon.
Health care prevailed in January’s special election, thank god. That said, Parrish is a smart, self-serving fundraiser. She made a bunch of money for her campaign business even though her side was defeated.
Worst of all, Val Hoyle now has a serious race, and Ogden’s candidacy with Parrish as his campaign manager, ludicrous as it may be, is just another tendril of the alt-right renaissance in Oregon that stretches out and twines around any Republican support it can find.
Remember, the two-person, non-partisan BOLI commissioner race will be decided in the May primary. I hope Democrats and progressives pay attention to turnout. Certainly Val Hoyle will. Stay tuned.