Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Republican Senator Rides Obama's Coattails

Republican Senator Gordon Smith from Oregon is involved in a tough battle for re-election in 2008. And after looking at the big win by Obama in the Oregon primary by nearly 20 points over Hillary Clinton, as well as polls that put Obama well ahead of McCain to carry the state in November, Smith has decided to run TV ads that link him to a bipartisan relationship with Barack Obama on energy policy in an effort to win re-election. Smith must be expecting John McCain to tank in November, especially in blue state Oregon, and is hoping to remain as the only Republican Senator from any West Coast state after the November election.

Smith is an interesting sort of Republican senator. While some organizations rate Smith as a moderate, he is actually a religious conservative who has some compassionate leanings such as opposition to food stamp cuts, some questioning of the Iraq War, and other views more inspired by his sturdy Mormon faith as a church elder, rather than being a true moderate Republican. Yet his votes seem to reflect a voting record that is unlike other more orthodox conservatives because of the faith factor by Senator Smith.

Smith also remains one of the best Senators to take the time to respond to every individual letter with a thoughtful response, even if he disagrees with the position of the writer. Indeed, his seeming moderation as well as his excellent attempts to stay in touch with Oregon voters may just allow Smith to survive the November election with a narrow win over his Democratic opponent Jeff Merkley.

Strange stuff when a GOP senator hopes to ride the coattails of a Democratic candidate for president, but being one of the only GOP candidates to win a statewide election in a blue state like Oregon is a very lonely business.


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