Jason Conger: Challenges at end of Primary

Rep. Jason Conger

Rep. Jason Conger

by NW Spotlight

As the May 2014 Republican Primary draws to a close – voting will end at 8pm on Tuesday, May 20 – two of the challenges that Rep. Jason Conger is facing in his campaign for U.S. Senate are some recent polling results and significantly less national support than his principal opponent, Dr. Monica Wehby.

Recent polling results

A poll conducted last week by Wenzel Strategies for the Taxpayer Association of Oregon PAC showed Monica Wehby with a 42.9% to 22.3% lead over Rep. Jason Conger.  Those poll results were picked up in yesterday’s Washington Post Morning Bits.

Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian was more skeptical of the poll results. Mapes wrote “it’s questionable whether the poll, conducted by an Ohio firm, captured an accurate picture of the Republican electorate in Oregon,” and that the polls’ numbers on conservative, moderate and liberal Republicans “doesn’t seem to match other surveys of the Oregon electorate.” In an update to his article, Mapes also noted that a major backer of the Taxpayer Association is also a major backer of Dr. Monica Wehby.

In another poll reported last week, of the register voters surveyed “40% planned on voting for Dr. Wehby and 39% for Sen. Merkley.” When voters who are “leaning towards” are included, Wehby is up 45% to 41% over Merkley. Conger was not included in the survey questions.

Regardless of any issues with the polls, the results do help Conger’s principal opponent, Monica Wehby – which will help her with name recognition and help her get her message out to Republican voters.

Less national support

Conger’s principal opponent in the Primary, Dr. Monica Wehby, has been enjoying significant national support. She’s received endorsements from national figures like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, and the Wehby campaign recently reported a $1.1 million to $277k fundraising advantage over Conger.

Wehby has picked up major support from several Republican U.S. senators – including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and she appeared at a fundraiser for the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Orange County (CA) in late April.

Conger, who has significant support within Oregon (he is endorsed by almost all of the Oregon Republican state senators and state representatives), has had some recent support come in from outside of Oregon. He received the endorsement of Brent Bozell “because he will be a leader who will fight for Oregonians instead of a follower who will kow-tow to the Washington establishment and President Obama.” Conger also has benefited from the from TV ads from a socially conservative super-PAC. The super-PAC is funded by a socially conservative New York hedge fund manager and one of the people running the super-PAC is Gov. Mike Huckabee’s daughter.

Despite Conger’s recent support from outside of Oregon, Wehby’s significant support from outside of Oregon is helping her outspend Conger in TV advertising in the Primary.