Abortion, Cigars, Fidel Castro and GOP Congressional Candidate Mike Erickson
At one time Republicans held some hope that they might just be able to pick up a few seats in Congress by winning in a few swing districts. And Oregon's Fifth Congressional District looked to be a good hope for the GOP after longtime incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Darlene Hooley made a surprising announcement that she would not seek re-election. Successful businessman and former Portland State University football star athlete Mike Erickson who ran a strong race in 2006 looked like a good prospect to win the seat in Congress. But then during the May primary the wheels started falling off the Erickson Campaign.
Erickson barely survived a formidable challenge from former Oregon Republican Party Chairman Kevin Mannix who distributed campaign fliers to 60,000 voters detailing an account that alleged that Erickson got a girlfriend pregnant, so he gave her $300 and drove her to an abortion clinic to "clean up" the problem. Erickson first seemed to hide out from the news-media ducking questions for a couple of days, but then his campaign attempted to offer nonsense explanations claiming that Erickson only drove his girlfriend to a medical appointment. Somehow Erickson expected voters to believe that he was brilliant enough to become a millionaire businessman on one hand, but not intelligent enough that he got a girlfriend pregnant, was paying for an abortion, or driving to an abortion clinic. Erickson narrowly won the May primary but was damaged goods.
The Oregon Right to Life has refused to endorse Erickson for the November election, even though Erickson still claims to be antiabortion and pro-life. Erickson's May primary opponent Kevin Mannix also has withheld support. But even worse for Erickson, the Republican Party is largely ignoring him well, and instead concentrating on better candidates and better races where a decent Republican candidate has a better chance to be elected. And both Oregon's sole Republican U.s. Senator Gordon Smith and Congressman Greg Walden, both decent and honest men, are also refusing to support Erickson and tarnish their good names.
Just when it hardly seems that things could become much worse for Erickson, they actually have once again. This week THE OREGONIAN reported a new damaging story about Erickson taking a pleasure trip to Cuba to attend a cigar festival and an auction for the benefit of Fidel Castro. Once again Erickson offered up another absurd explanation that he was in Cuba on a humanitarian mission to distribute 26 boxes of medical supplies to Cuban hospitals. But the founder of Hemingway Travel who organized the vacation trip to Cuba claimed that it is very difficult to bring any items into Cuba, and the tour was so tightly organized that Erickson had no more than just about three hours to himself at most and it is nearly impossible for travelers to visit the tightly controlled hospitals in the Communist state. Once again Erickson's penchant for weaving innocent tales to cover-up his own personal nonsense of his own making is hurting him is hurting him. His absurd story of a huge trip for humanitarian reasons is being contradicted by Erickson being seen at the cigar event, Fidel Castro auction and at the Tropicana Club in Havana. All of these were sightseeing or pleasure events, with no humanitarian mission or medical supplies involved. Erickson's credibility has once again hit a new low.
In November, Erickson's greatest opponent is indeed himself. His Democratic opponent Kurt Schrader is hardly an awe inspiring choice, but compared to Erickson looks like a knight in shining armor to most voters. You can just about put a fork in the Erickson Campaign, it looks done to most voters and political observers at this point.