Oregon Democrats were incredibly fortunate to have two strong, progressive Senate candidates in Jeff Merkley and Steve Novick. In the end Merkley won the primary by a slim 45% to 42% margin, but managed to win a plurality of votes in all but three counties. Congratulations Jeff.
Novick ran an impressive underdog campaign, producing some of the best political ads I’ve seen in quite some time, so he deserves congratulations too for being himself and making it so close. But in the end suburban and rural Democrats felt more comfortable with Merkley’s more traditional style. From a strategic perspective I think there were good arguments as to why either might have been a better matchup against incumbent Sen. Gordon Smith, but that’s all moot now. The job from here on out is to convince Oregon voters that Merkley will do a better job representing their interests than Smith.
On a personal note, this was a difficult primary for me, and I’m glad to see it over. I had the opportunity to meet with both candidates and genuinely liked them both. But I also had close blogger friends passionately on either side of this race, and at times felt like a child caught in the midst of a nasty divorce. My hope is that in focusing on November, we can come together as one big happy family again… without a custody agreement or court oversight.