Sunday, May 27, 2018

Democrats respond to Jessica Gomez's candidacy

This may not work out for her.

Jesica Gomez is attempting something difficult in the current electoral environment. She is positioning herself in the moderate middle, saying she represents "balance." She avoids harsh rhetoric. She communicates empathy, not division. She smiles and is pleasant and earnest.

Jessica Gomez
Republicans need not sound Trump-like.  Greg Walden, whose signed photo she has beside her office desk, communicates nice-guy moderation. He stays in sync with a Trump-supporting Republican base by voting hard line conservative back in DC: pro-gun, anti-abortion, repeal ACA, tax cuts for the wealthiest, cut Medicaid for the working poor. He is part of the House leadership driven crazy by the need to accommodate the right wing House Freedom Caucus, which has pushed the House to the right. Meanwhile, in the District he looks and sounds compassionate. It works for him politically. 

Gomez wants the harder path. She actually wants to be moderate, be in the bridge-building center, not just talk it. She is Latina. She is young. She is educated. She is far outside the Fox News demographic, and indeed that demographic is hostile to that biography. This raises two questions.  Can she be elected as a moderate, and then could she govern as one?

Today I present two comments that address those questions, both from Democratic observers of this race.

Kevin Stine comments: is she electable as a moderate?

Kevin Stine
Stine says maybe. He thinks possibly Jeff Golden is vulnerable to being marginalized by Jessica Gomez, if she rounds up endorsers and other validation signals with credibility with Democrats. Possibly traditional institutional supporters of Democratic candidates feel snubbed by Golden and would rather a Republican win than see a Democrat prove he can win without their support. Or maybe Golden will let Gomez be identified the jobs-and-strong-economy-candidate while he gets identified as the candidate concerned with electoral process and 22nd century climate. Or maybe that Blue Wave is actually a Red Wave. 

Kevin Stine thinks through some of her pathways to possible victory.

Kevin Stine: "1) If she gets an array of left-leaning supporters for her campaign. Endorsements from groups or individuals that a Republican never, or hardly ever, receives to burnish her credentials. As of now, there isn't any surprises, as the prominent right-leaning elected officials in the area (Sal Esquivel, Rick Dyer, Alan DeBoer) are supporting Jessica. The left-leaning electeds (Pam Marsh, Darby Ayers-Flood, John Stromberg) are supporting Jeff Golden. Alan DeBoer won in large part because of his personal ethos he gained with the DeBoer name and 40 years of community work. Jessica doesn't have that to fall back on and needs some Hillary and Kate Brown voters on her side.

2) Campaign messaging issues. If Jessica is talking about jobs, housing, and the economy while Jeff Golden is talking about climate change and the environment, that could tilt the scales to people that aren't satisfied with the status quo in regards to pocketbook issues. If Jessica could make Jeff Golden look like a person far from the middle, that could be effective as well, and it seems she touched on that issue during your meeting. She pledged not to go negative, so I'm not sure how she's going to try to define him. Perhaps some surrogates could do the work for her.

3) Some dramatic shift nationally from Democrats to Republicans. Midterms are historically against the party that holds the Presidency. 2002 was the last good year for the party in charge, and that was largely because of the national mood so soon after 9/11.

4) Another could be the Statewide left-leaning groups sitting out the State Senate election, but with Governor Kate Brown on the ballot in a competitive race, that's not going to happen. Even if they don't outwardly support Jeff Golden, they are pushing Kate Brown voters to vote, which will help him as people fill out their ballot.

As a person that wants to see Jeff Golden win, I'm fine with the likely 5-12 point victory that one could expect with the registration advantage and the national mood. As a spectator, all I see is a headline of "Experienced Politician Wins Election vs Novice Candidate." I also wonder what would have happened if Jessica just stayed a member of the Democratic Party, but that's another story for another day."

Art Baden comments: could she serve as a moderate?  

Art Baden
Baden says no, because there is no middle. Baden is a retired insurance broker who came to Ashland to retire eight years ago. He and his wife quickly became active in Democratic Party politics. Baden writes that politics comes down to yes-no votes and Gomez picked a side. He thinks she will have no choice but to be loyal and compliant to the people who will fund her campaign. Baden had met and talked with her, and wrote that he found her cordial and sincerely moderate in her thinking--but it will not matter. She will be forced to the political right, and her thinking otherwise is naive.

Art Baden:  "And on our next State Senator’s first vote - with which party to caucus - there is no middle.  Jessica Gomez presents an attractive and moderate facade, which, if we allow ourselves to be fooled by its glossy veneer, allows us to forget what is the nature of the Republican minority with which she would caucus.  Putting aside those divisive social issues she characterizes as pointless wedge issues (a woman’s right to choose, a student’s right to a safe gun free school, an immigrant’s right to contribute to our society), the economic issues are just as informative.

The Republican caucus and those who fund them (The Koch Brothers and their ilk) have no interest in tax reform that will shift the burden off of the working and middle class onto the wealthy and powerful.  They have no interest in funding our children’s education in this State; rather they want to shift public education funding to the private schools to which they send their children.  They have no interest in creating a health care system that serves the people, rather than their political contributors in big Pharma and the insurance industry. They have no interest in protecting our environment against the fossil fuel companies that fund them.  They have no interest in a livable minimum wage for workers; rather they complain about over-regulation and do all they can to destroy one of the few institutions left that protects workers - labor unions. And they have no interest in allowing local communities to institute rent control, or in funding subsidized housing, so our young families can have an affordable place to live.

They have one interest, protecting the wealth and political power of those who fund their campaigns.  And hats off to them, they do a very effective job at that.

If Jessica Gomez believes that she will be the agent for compromise, a bridge between the parties, she is naive; and naivety is not a quality I look for when choosing a legislator. And if she believes we’ll overlook the regressive policies of the Republican Party she so recently joined, there is one way to disabuse her of that notion.

The Republicans in the State legislature will continue to obstruct the solutions that will help the majority of Oregonians, because that’s what is in the interest of their political contributors.  Follow the money. What we need is a Democratic super majority in the State Senate that will find solutions that benefit the many, not the few.  That’s why I’m voting for Jeff Golden in November."


  1. Great and to the point: Why is this Republican running?

    It seems to me this is an opportunistic move after seeing an opening on a weak ticket. I would be questioning motives here. But as a bottom line I'd have to say that making Progressive noises while courting GOP donors is pretty suspicious...

  2. Contrary to what was written above, Gomez is not educated. She has an AA degree in liberal studies from a community college. She doesn't know the issues. She would get killed in a debate. She only regurgitates what her handlers tell her to say. She's never taken a college business or science class. She's not a deep thinker who can analyze complex issues. She takes her orders from lobbyists Brad Hicks and John Watt, and from Al DeBoer, who wanted to come home to Ashland, but he'll still control Gomez's vote.

    Gomez will have her surrogates paint Golden as a hard-left communist who is out of touch. They'll torch Golden like he's never seen before. Gomez will spend more than one million dollars. The Chamber of Commerce is like the mafia, and it contains both republicans and democrats. Party doesn't matter to them. Business deals do. This is all about who will bring home the bacon for them and their privately-owned projects.

    Rick Dyer is not a conservative. Rick is a whore of the Chamber, and he does what Brad Hicks tells him to do, as does Sal Esquivel. They both exist because of the Chamber's campaign money. Prominent democrat Bill Thorndike has already supported Gomez, because Thorndike follows the money. Thorndike doesn't speak for the average democrat voter. They should ignore him.

    The key for Golden to win is to get out the vote. He needs to get at least 90% of the Ashland and Talent vote to turnout (which is mostly democrats), then hope to get a decent number of votes in Medford. Golden also needs to point-out to conservatives that Gomez is not a conservative, and that she's a flip-flopper beholden to special interest groups and not to the common voter. Gomez's sole purpose is to get more corporate welfare for the wealthy members of the Chamber, like Thorndike, and Pacific Retirement Services. Golden needs to discourage conservatives and republicans from voting for Gomez, because she's not one of them. She doesn't hold their values, and she can't be trusted to support their causes. Gomez is a flip-flopper with no core values, and few skills. I expect Golden to win handily, but he needs to get out the vote, and discourage republicans from voting for Gomez.

    1. Curt Ankerberg received 48% of the vote in the Republican primary, notwithstanding a well deserved reputation for vicious and strident name calling and denunciation of public figures. I have decided, for now, to let him comment, partly to hold up
      A mirror to Republican readers. 48% of you voted for him. Really.

  3. FYI: Alan DeBoer “only” has a high school diploma. Also, my plumber, electrician, auto repairman, carpenter do not have any college degrees. They are smarter and more capable than most people with doctoral degrees.
    I don’t know Ms. Gomez but I read here that she operates a computer industry firm.
    Why would “only” having an AA degree make her an automatic loser?

  4. "Jackson County Year of the Woman: Progressive White Man vs. Moderate Latina"

    For 2018’s Democratic Year of the Woman, Jackson County Democrats have coalesced around a unique celebration of the anti-Trump youthful revolution: We will field an old white man in a double whammy against woman adversaries.

    First up was having a progressive male statesman dispatch a liberal woman who had earned the endorsements of most of the causes we believe in. Indeed, part of the specifically articulated reason she lost was her partnership with, and funding by, a statewide coalition of reliable do-gooder Democratic allies who have tirelessly pushed our legislative agenda in Salem. The heck with blue friends, primary voters said, we want in on that feel good self-indulgent populism that makes the deplorables all wild-eyed. “No money from the establishment, that’s the winning ticket” went the battle cry in Ashland.

    Second up, savoring that taste of “winning” in beating back the activist woman, we now turn to the real enemy: a moderate never-Trumper Latina entrepreneur. Latinos and women, let’s celebrate by trashing her as a phony because she’s campaigning for—bipartisanship. Indeed, that delegitimizing of her will be the one thing we’ll have in common with the deplorables who attack her for not mouthing conservative battle cries. Beat down the Latina because she says we need to start somewhere in reducing the political bloodlust. And of course, just below the surface, you can sense the real toxicity—she’s a Latina Republican so she’s a traitor anyway.

    Although sexism and racism are not the animus here, a Starbucks–type “unconscious discrimination” self-examination may be indicated. Populism is a powerful drug, whether it is unleashed against a Democratic woman for being too “establishment” because of her embrace by pro-choice and conservation groups, or against a Hispanic woman for being insincere in her “bipartisanship”.


  5. I know you’re not a computer person and you may not have experienced this personally but this blog of yours is very difficult to read on a smaller screen. I still read it because it’s a very good blog, but it’s a real pain on my mini iPad, to say nothing of my iPhone.

    The problem is that the the formatting is very fixed. The line widths don’t change with the screen size, and the font is too small for the width of those lines on a small screen. This is also true when entering a comment I hope you’ll fix this or find someone who can fix it for you.

    I will keep reading anyway. Some of your more generally-focused articles ought to be in some national publication.

  6. It formats on both my iPad and smart phone. Darn. I am sorry to hear it isn’t formatting right for you. I compose it on a full screen, then it creates both a full screen and mobile view. You might try subscribing by email by entering your email in the upper right of a full screen or I pad view (but not smart phone). Then the blog will come by email right after twelve noon daily. That might be more readable.

  7. You're correct. I got 48%. You claimed I wasn't a serious opponent. I did better than all but one Dem. Shows what you don't know. I would have won if not for the Mail Tribune and that dirtbag liar Damian Mann. Pete...My "vicious" name calling is nothing that Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters don't do regularly, and the names I use accurately describe my opponents. I don't hear you squeal when the Dems name-call. You sound like a hypocrite. Any reputation I have was fabricated by the Mail Tribune. How many other candidates get smeared like I do from them? That's because the liberals at the MT see me, a real conservative, as a threat. This ain't no popularity contest on who is the prettiest, or who is a woman, or who is Latina. Pete is shallow, and those are the characteristics he judges by. The State of Oregon is going broke, and it has a spending problem, and an education problem among others, and I'm the ONLY candidate who addressed the real issues. voted for communist Jeff Golden. REALLY? Golden gets mocked regularly on conservative talk radio, so don't think your poop doesn't stink. 30 years of Democrat mismanagement have ruined Oregon, and that's YOUR agenda which did it. This is your blog, and you can say what you want, but I'd run circles around you intellectually. REALLY. As for the "public figures" comments, the Rogue Valley is corrupt as hell, and most of the politicians in office have been compromised, and they deserve scorn. You have four former city councilmen currently working for the Chamber of Commerce. Sounds like payback to me. Are you buddies with lobbyist John Watt?

  8. Deplorables - still beating that dead horse REALLY?
    Golden doesn’t need to point out anything. Anger burger will do all the pointing necessary.


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