Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bob "B-1" Tiernan
has never been shy. But today he gave those who will gather in Seaside tomorrow for the Republicans' annual Dorchester conference something to chew on.
Tiernan sent letters
[PDF] to two longtime incumbent Oregon House members Greg Smith (R-Heppner, first elected in 2001) and Bob Jenson (R-Pendleton, first elected in 1997) warning them not to accept contributions from AFSCME or other public employee unions.
Here's an excerpt from Tiernan's letter to Smith:
I have recently been made aware of the intentions of public employee unions in Oregon to provide you and your campaign with monetary, consulting and grassroots support. I don't think I need to remind you that these are the same unions who bankrolled the misleading campaign in favor of these damaging tax increases. I strongly urge you to refuse this support of the public employee unions and their Democratic allies and provide the Republicans in House District 57 an explanation of how your recent actions and votes have represented their interests and the interests of the Republican Party.
If you choose not to reject any assistance from the public employee unions and their Democratic allies, then I respectfully request that you consider removing yourself from the election for the Republican Party nomination from House District 57.
AFSCME lobbyist Mary Botkin, whose union represents corrections officers and others in the districts of Smith and Jenson, says Tiernan is off base.
"He forgets that in Bob and Greg's districts public service provides a lot of family-wage jobs," Botkin says. "These districts fight hard to get public-sector jobs, in the prisons, in state Department of Transportation jobs and in public safety. Asking two long-term, well-respected Republican legislators to 'leave the party' over a petty difference of opinion is just outrageous."