Despite an eleventh-hour political attack engineered by the Democratic Party of Oregon, Dr. Monica Wehby easily won the Oregon U.S. Senate Republican primary on Tuesday, defeating second place “Homeless to Harvard” attorney Jason Conger.
With 51 percent of the precincts reporting, Wehby led with 55 per cent of the vote, 23 per cent ahead of Conger’s 32 percent. Three other candidates split the remainder of the vote.
The Associated Press called the race for Wehby at 11:45 pm eastern time.
Oregon’s Republican primary voters seemed to brush off the sensationalized details surrounding the news, broken by Politico on Friday, that Wehby had been accused of stalking by her then-boyfriend, lumber executive Andrew Miller, in a police report that was filed with the Portland Police Bureau in April 2013.
On Tuesday, the Oregonian reported that Jon Friedman, an employee of the Democratic Party of Oregon, was the first person to request a copy from the Portland Police Bureau Records Division of the police report describing the April 2013 incident. Friedman made his request on April 17, 2014.
Though the exposure of its opposition research operation has resulted in a number of embarrassing questions the Democratic Party of Oregon does not want to answer, it has also brought to light additional embarrassing questions for its intended target, Wehby.
On Tuesday, the Oregonian reported that two additional police reports alleging “ongoing harassment” by Wehby have surfaced. Both reports, the first from 2007, the second from 2009, were filed by Wehby’s now ex-husband, Jim Grant.
The saga of opposition research, police reports, and allegations of “stalking” and “harassment” dominated the Oregon media as voters went to the polls Tuesday to choose between Wehby and Conger in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, but voters seem largely oblivious to the controversy.
Their lack of interest in the story could also be related to the fact that 40 percent of primary votes were cast by mail before the story broke Friday. Oregon is one of the few states that allows voting by mail.
Wehby is now set to face incumbent Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in November, who is considered vulnerable since he has been an ardent supporter of Obamacare. The state of Oregon just shut down its failed $400 million Obamacare exchange website. That failure seems to resonate with voters of both party in the state.
Anger over the state’s Obamacare exchange debacle may help explain why Wehby won so handily on Tuesday. Her opponent, Jason Conger, voted for the establishment of the state exchange while serving in the Oregon House of Representatives.
While Wehby previously made public statements that were favorable towards Obamacare, during the campaign she loudly pronounced her opposition to it.
Wehby was endorsed by many leaders of the Republican establishment, including Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Conger, though not a Tea Party-backed candidate, was more closely aligned on the issues with the Tea Party than Dr. Wehby.
In addition to her establishment endorsement, Wehby had far greater financial resources than Conger, both in her own campaign and from outside SuperPACs, including one that was partially financed by Mr. Miller, the man who filed the April 2013 police report in which he described her as a stalker.
According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Wehby had raised $1.2 million up to April 30, while Conger had raised only $360,000.