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October 15th, 2008 12:00 am WW Editorial Staff | Special Section Stories

5th Congressional District



Kurt Schrader

Republican Mike Erickson may be the most unimpressive candidate running in Oregon this year.

This is the second time the Lake Oswego logistics company owner has sought this seat (in 2006, he lost to incumbent Darlene Hooley, who is retiring after five terms). He’s been willing to spend millions of his own money on this race. He’s also been willing to bend the truth.

During the primary it was revealed that Erickson, who campaigns as rigidly anti-abortion, paid for an abortion for a girlfriend in 2000. Rather than acknowledge his hypocrisy, Erickson says he drove the woman to the health clinic and gave her $300, but had no idea what the money was for—a claim the woman has convincingly disputed.

Then, this August, Erickson had to backpedal on his explanation of a 2004 trip to Cuba, which he had originally described as a humanitarian mission to distribute medical supplies. That characterization collapsed when the trip’s organizer told The Oregonian it was instead a rum-soaked cigar junket.

Erickson’s estrangement from the truth extends all the way back to his college days at Portland State in 1987, when he refashioned a written statement by then-Gov. Neil Goldschmidt into an endorsement of himself for a student leadership post.

Erickson’s whoppers have become so embarrassing that even the Republican Party has essentially abandoned him.

Erickson’s chief opponent is state Sen. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby), a five-term legislator and co-chair of the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee.

In Schrader’s day job, he works as a veterinarian and small farmer. As a legislator, he always scores well on WW’s legislative rankings for his smarts and independence. For a decade, Schrader periodically paid his property taxes late, but is paid in full now. As a lawmaker, Schrader earned the nickname “Darth” for his willingness to say no to spending bills, and he frequently showed his independence by tussling with Democratic shot-callers, including public-employee unions and trial lawyers.

Independent Party candidate Sean Bates, Libertarian Steve Milligan, the Constitution Party’s Doug Patterson, and Pacific Green’s Alex Polikoff also appear on the ballot in this race. Schrader outclasses them all.

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Video of WW endorsement interview(thanks to Portland Community Media)

Part 1: Steve Milligan, Doug Patterson, Alex Polikoff, Kurt Schrader

Part 2: Sean Bates

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