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Opinion

GOP candidate Monica Wehby might make the Oregon senate race competitive

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Senate,Oregon,2014 Elections,Ashe Schow,Jeff Merkley,Monica Wehby

Pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby might just be the GOP's ticket back into the U.S. Senate from Oregon.

The Cook Political Report, which rates campaigns according to which party the race is leaning toward, downgraded the race for the seat from “solid Democratic” to “likely Democratic.”

Meanwhile, the Rothenberg Political Report downgraded its rating of Merkley's seat from “currently safe Democrat” to “Democrat favored.”

While these ratings changes are promising for Wehby, she still has a long way to go before Election Day. She faces incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, who defeated Republican Sen. Gordon Smith in 2008.

Just one week after her successful primary campaign, Wehby trails Merkley by 14 percentage points, according to an unreleased poll obtained by Politico Pro.

Merkley leads Wehby 50 percent to 36 percent, with 15 percent undecided. Merkley’s approval rating is sitting at 41 percent, giving room for Wehby to make a play -- if she can reverse her own underwater approval rating, which currently stands at 26 percent favorable versus 40 percent unfavorable.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents had heard the negative attacks against Wehby, which included accusations that she “stalked” her ex-boyfriend and that he inappropriately helped her campaign.

Another post-primary poll from Rasmussen Reports showed Merkley with a 10-point lead over Wehby.

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