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POLITICS: Campaigns

Koch-backed group announces ad buy against Jeff Merkley in Oregon

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Oregon,2014 Elections,Campaigns,Ashe Schow,Michigan,Koch brothers,Jeff Merkley,Terri Lynn Land,Gary Peters,Monica Wehby

Freedom Partners, an organization backed by the Koch Brothers, announced a “new six-figure ad-buy” Thursday attacking Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. over his apparent “ineffectiveness” in Washington.

The ad, “*Get to work for Oregon,” notes that in Merkley’s six years as a senator, only one of his bills became law.

This sounds outrageous, but a lack of bills becoming law doesn’t necessarily mean someone is ineffective. Take former Republican Sen. Jim DeMint for instance — he sponsored 35 bills as a senator, but none became law. And of the 131 bills he co-sponsored, just two were made into law.

Yet the Kochs were some of DeMint’s top campaign contributors.

Nonetheless, Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis released a statement lamenting Merkley’s low ratio of bills to law.

“What does Sen. Merkley have to show for his time in Washington?” Davis asked. “Passing just one of his bills into law over a six-year period shows he isn’t interested in being a leader or delivering real solutions.”

The ad also scolds Merkley for his vote on Obamacare, since, according to Davis, “Oregon saw the highest health care premium increases on the West Coast.”

Freedom Partners released an ad last week denouncing Merkley’s votes to increase spending.

The ad buy in Oregon seems to indicate that the Koch brothers still see Oregon as a potential pick-up for Republicans in November in their attempt to retake the Senate. This comes just two days after Freedom Partners announced it would cancel its ad buy in Michigan, where former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land faces Democratic Rep. Gary Peters.

Real Clear Politics puts Peters ahead of Land by four points, yet two recent polls — one from Mitchell Research and one from Republican polling firm Harper — put Peters up by only one point.

Land also received more votes in her uncontested primary on August 6 than Peters received in his respective primary.

But Oregon is a different story. There, Merkley leads his Republican challenger, pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby, by 14.2 points, according to RCP. Wehby’s best poll comes from the right-leaning polling firm Rasmussen Reports, which still puts her down 10 points.

Maybe Freedom Partners believes Wehby has a better chance in Oregon than Land does in Michigan.

Update, 4:30 p.m.: Freedom Partners responded to an Examiner request for comment, and while they didn't answer any specific question, they did note that during the same six-year period that Merkley has been a senator, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., authored 351 bills - six of which became law.

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