November 5th, 2010 5:33 pm | by HANK STERN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics

Derrick Kitts Back in the News


Former state Rep. Derrick Kitts (R-Hillsboro) never had any problem generating news of all kinds when he was in the Oregon Legislature.

And he's back in the news today in a tangential way because many are questioning how MSNBC can suspend Keith Olbermann for donating to Democratic candidates when MSNBC host Joe Scarborough donated to Kitts when Kitts ran unsuccessfully as the Republican challenger in 2006 against U.S. Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.).

A little bit of history here as to why Scarborough would donate to Kitts—Kitts worked for Scarborough when the MSNBC talk-show host was a Republican congressman from Florida (Kitts also collected $2,000 from a Scarborough political action committee in 2002 during Kitts' legislative run.)

Here's what Scarborough had to say about Kitts in an April 2002 piece I wrote for The Oregonian when I was employed there:
Kitts ' political travels took him through the finance office of Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore. and [former U.S. Rep. Rick] White's unsuccessful 1998 re-election campaign in Washington.

"I never cried so hard," Kitts said of White's loss. "I left it all on the mat, so to speak, and we still came up short. It was hard to swallow."

But the election's final days also led to Kitts ' next opportunity. Scarborough had come to Washington to campaign for White. He came away impressed by the young aide, who drove after midnight to Scarborough 's hotel room to deliver a forgotten bag. When White lost, Scarborough called, and Kitts went to Capitol Hill.

Scarborough said Kitts ' honesty marked him as different from the other "Hill rats."

"Derrick stuck out immediately," Scarborough said. "He is straightforward. Other people might look at that and say he's cocky. But someone in Congress like myself needed somebody who can tell it to me straight."
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