Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Jessica Gomez has a problem.

So do Kate Brown and Knute Buehler. Conservatives aren't ready to "settle."

Republicans are on the lookout for RINOs.

Kate Brown won decisively statewide, but there are conservative Democrats and candidate Ed Jones found them with 9% of the vote statewide, and some 20-30% of the vote in agricultural, rural counties. Jones ran to her right. His website and platform celebrate farmers and Christianity and gun rights, and opposes property taxes, regulations generally, and taxes on business. He spent no money and had no campaign. Brown loses conservative votes, which makes sense for a Democrat.

Republicans need conservative votes. Knute Buehler won with 47% of the vote, which made him the winner in a three way race, but added together, Sam Carpenter and Greg Wooldridge won 48%. Buehler outspent each of them ten to one

Buehler, they said, was wrong on abortion and weak on immigration and guns. He was a RINO. The returns demonstrate that a great many Republicans did not want to nominate a moderate, Rhodes scholar, Bend physician with an excellent shot at winning the governorship in blue Oregon. They wanted a real Republican.
Jessica Gomez: 52%

That brings us to Jessica Gomez.

She is a Medford businesswoman, who won election with 52% of the vote, versus 47% for her opponent, Curt Ankerberg. (I have decided to stop the embargo of Curt Ankerberg's name because I consider her narrow victory over Ankerberg to be so startling and ominous for Gomez that it requires discussion.)  I want readers to know who she nearly lost to.

Gomez's and her Leadership Fund allies raised and spent some $90,000. She had the backing of the local newspaper which relentlessly--in editorials, in news copy, and in headlines--denounced her opponent, calling him manifestly unfit for office. On her behalf the state party sent a mailer to voters outlining Ankerberg's legal problems for failure to pay taxes, plus his own defense that he was too physically and mentally impaired to file an accurate tax return. 

Curt Ankerberg spent essentially nothing. He has no web page and no apparent social media presence. His word-of-mouth reputation is that he is frightening and vicious, someone who lashes out at others with bizarre, profane inventions and accusations. 

Yet almost half of Republicans voted for him anyway.  Who is this guy, who could receive almost as many votes as Gomez?

While preparing this post I received the following email, which provides both an analysis of the race and an insight into Ankerberg. It was from an "anonymous" source, written in the style and tone of multiple similar emails. The author refers to Curt Ankerberg in the third person, although I am confident Ankerberg is in fact the author.

"Peter, you're a jerk. Curt Ankerberg got 48% of the vote, and he only spent $2,800, while Jessica Gomez spent $100,000 to get 52%. He was also smeared mercilessly by the Mail Tribune. He didn't run against Gomez. He ran against the GOP good old boy political machine. You don't know shit. He would have won if not for the Mail Tribune. You've discounted and dissed on him from the start, and put him down. The fact is that he's the giant here, and you're the midget. Let me tell you what. Jeff Golden will kill Gomez in a landslide. Gomez was afraid to debate Ankerberg. Golden will kill her. Conservatives don't support Gomez, and she won't get their vote in November. Conservatives won't vote for Gomez. They also won't vote for GOP Chamber of Commerce whores Kim Wallan and Rick Dyer. Expect a democrat sweep in November. The GOP candidates named above don't have the loyal support of conservatives, and they'll have shallow support in November."

This blog has received multiple, often daily, emails in the same vein, some signed by Curt Ankerberg, some "anonymous." Here is a sample, which I show so that readers can get a better feel for Ankerberg, through his own words.

May 14:  "After Ankerberg beats Gomez on Tuesday, then Peter Sage can kiss Ankerberg's ass. No conservatives will be voting for Gomez, even though Sid DeBoer has ordered his boy Peter to say so."  (signed: Anonymous)

Ankerberg: vile, profane, vicious
April 27: "I have ZERO respect for you. You don't have a fucking clue what's going on." (signed: Ankerberg.)

April 27: "When a politician has been bought, then you refer to them as a "whore of special interest groups. . .  Jessica Gomez has received approximately $75K in campaign contributions. . . . Real republican know where I stand on the issues. I've completed numerous questionnaires, and I've been on the Bill Meyer Show many times. People know me, and where I stand. They know nothing about Gomez, because she's kept it secret, because her positions are not the same as the GOP voters. Oregon has real problems that won't be solved by an empty suit. . . . I may lose the election, due to the smear campaign from the Mail Tribune, and the fact that I'm only spending $3K of my own money versus Gomez's $75K from lobbyists, but as it stands today, I think that I have a 50/50 chance of winning. That should make a lot of good old boys (like your ex-clients) shit their pants." (signed: Ankerberg)

April 20: "If you were the Chamber and wanted $20 million in free gifts from the city and Curt Ankerberg stopped your deal, would you hate Curt Ankerberg? YES. I've stopped a number of their deals. They hate me for it. They clearly know where I stand. I'm their public enemy number one. EVERY politician supported by the Chamber has been bought by them. That includes Rick Dyer, Bob Strosser, Kim Wallan, Jessica Gomez, Dick Gordon, Tim Jackle, Mihael Zarosinski, and Tim D'Allesandro, among others. I can't be bought." (signed: Ankerberg.)

What does this mean for Jessica Gomez?  

1. Ankerberg may well be accurate in his assessment of the GOP electorate. He did, in fact, nearly win. He asserts that the real GOP electorate is expressed by people who listen to talk radio, including the Bill Meyer show, and not the Jessica Gomez-Knute Buehler kind of Republican. He says his points of view on sanctuary cities (against), gun registration (against), abortion (against) reflect the Republican electorate, and hers do not..

2. Ankerberg is personally vile and disagreeable. He falls into vicious accusations and angry rants. His character is widely known and discussed, and yet almost half of GOP still voted for him, a candidate manifestly unsuited for public office. To pick Ankerberg over Gomez?  Really?  

Do half of GOP voters think her a RINO?
I consider this an ominous portend for Gomez. 

This suggests that a great many people actively agree with what he is saying--indeed, agree so strongly with his message that they overlook the multiple and widely publicized problems of the messenger. It is an astonishing rejection

But rejection of what?

Possibly they are rejecting Gomez personally or as a candidate. Maybe they see her as a RINO and that matters to them.  She comes across as warm and sincere and a community-builder.  Perhaps that makes her seem weak or not angry enough to catch the Republican mood.

Or, perhaps they are rejecting the process of her selection by Alan DeBoer and the state party as his successor. Maybe it seemed too much like an arranged marriage. 

Or, perhaps it is a rejection--or backfire--on the Mail Tribune's criticism of him. The Tribune's relentlessly negative coverage may have made Ankerberg seem like a victim of an overwrought newspaper whose feelings are hurt by his ugly condemnation of them. He refuses to talk with the Tribune. Possibly Republican voters respect him for that.

Gomez's task will be to re-asure GOP voters that she is Republican-enough for them.  A write-in campaign from the right or a libertarian campaign would likely be devastating for her, giving an electoral alternative to an accused RINO. There is also the risk that Party generated advertising that attempts to make Gomez look good by making her opponent Jeff Golden look bad will backfire. Indeed that is the history of nasty negative campaigning in this senate district. Maybe we already witnessed an iteration of the backfire--a campaign mailer is considered biased and unfair because it quotes a sharply negative newspaper story, giving her two degrees of separation from the attack, but still herself the victim of it. 

There will be other items to consider in future blog posts, but for today political observers are wondering what it means that Gomez had every possible advantage, and Ankerberg had every possible disadvantage, and Ankerberg still nearly won.



Peter C. said...

Maybe Republicans just like angry, dimwitted, first class jerks. After all, the voted for Trump. So, voting for Ankerberg was a no-brainer. At least, Gomez has some class.

Rick Millward said...

That Ms. Gomez didn't get more votes is an interesting window into the local Republican mindset.


Up Close: Road to the White House said...

Test comment by Administrator

Curt Ankerberg said...

Speaking of jerks, you're a jerk, Peter. I willingly spoke with you, and was courteous with you. What did I get from you in return? Disrespect. You discounted and demeaned me from the start. You're a Harvard elitist, with a bullshit degree. Thus, you get disrespected in return. Undoubtedly, you got rich serving the rich, so you're beholden to them now. You absolutely have no clue about the republican party, or conservatives. You're just a know-nothing blow-hard. Gomez is not a republican, and she never will be. She's no more a conservative than you are. Conservatives will abandon her in droves in November. Golden will beat her 65% to 35%. As for my issues, you won't get the entire story from the the leftist Mail Tribune. I don't give a damn what you think about my issues. I was legally blind, and I had hydrocephalus, and I was incapable of dealing with my daily issues. You're a pansy-ass, and a hangnail would incapacitate you.

Greg Frederick said...

It's kind of fun watching Ankerberg spit and sputter but I believe he is correct when he says he is the face of the GOP in this region and the base that he shares with the ridiculous Bill Meyer audience. I hope he continues to do so. It's putting a bell around his neck, makes it easier to hear him and his ilk coming. I've met Jessica Gomez and she comes across as a reasonable, polite person that really would clearly like to do something for her community. As a liberal supporting Jeff Golden, I can say I don't agree with much of the GOP platform going into this race but it refreshing to see someone that is rational representing the GOP for a change. I see why Allan DeBoar gave her the tap. I hope the trend continues maybe then we could have state government that represents all of Oregon and rid our representation of people like Ankerberg.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You’re gonna have a brain aneurysm spouting all vitriol. You sound unwell. And by unwell I mean BAT SHIT CRAZY.

SilverMom said...

It is possible to overthink the close vote tally in the Gomez/Ankerberg race. I suspect it is far less an issue of Gomez being seen as a RINO and far (far, far) more of an issue that she is a woman and has a Hispanic surname.

This is right in line with your excellent point that most voters identify with and vote based on the obvious brand they see. Gomez, to many, many voters will be seen under the brand umbrellas of Female and (maybe, who knows? as Trump would say) Latina, way before she is given a chance to be a Republican, good policy maker, effective legislator, whatever.

(Note: I have no idea if Gomez does or does not have Hispanic heritage. I do know that her surname will speak loudly to many, many voters.)

Judy R.

Anonymous said...

OR maybe strategic voters are telling AB and the GOP party establishment that they can’t force feed hand picked successors ...

Judy Brown said...

While SilverMom. could be right about Gomez being a woman and having a Hispanic sounding name BUT.....we had the same exact fight here in Deschutes County with our Republicans.........there was a 50-50 split between moderate, thoughtful Republicans and the yelling RHINO Trump bunch. Seems the party split could be common everywhere. For Democrats this could be a win-win.

newtonpo said...

Wow. The bottom line in my way of seeing it is the Dems are so far over on the left in Oregon, real Repubs-Conservatives are in a socio-political firefight for their rights and some reasonable push back against the liberal machine running roughshod over what used to be a reasonably sane place to settle, do business and enjoy the freedoms that used to be considered sacrosanct and are now just bargaining chips for the power elite and cash cows like Bloomberg to buy and sell. There is a kind of giddy breathless hilarity in some of the more egregious proclamations and laws coming out of the current administration who i've begun to call "Salem's Lot". We need a meaningful, equally matched pushback-counterpoint to bring these folks back down to earth, and that has nothing to do with race, gender or last names.. RINO's, like this woman appears to be and Knute there, are not going to do much but go along with the program i'm thinking, and join the droids in the engineering project that continues to increase nothing but egregious overburdening regulation, our taxes and fees, and separation of "We the People" from our Constitutional Rights.( A piece at a time so we don't notice?). We "notice" all right. Just my couple cents. Regards, Ralph Newton