Jonathan Lockwood came to drop bombs.
Historically, much of the written communication Oregon's political parties produce is on par with low-calorie mayonnaise. Lockwood changed the game when he became a GOP spokesman last year—first for the Oregon Senate Republicans, then for two GOP candidates for governor and a PAC set up to attack incumbent Gov. Kate Brown.
Lockwood, 29, attacked Democrats relentlessly. In recent tweets, for example, Lockwood called Portland's Asian Pacific American Network Organization "yet another fake group that is nothing but a storefront for a corrupt political party in Oregon," and he referred to EMILY's List, a national political action committee that backs women candidates and recently gave Gov. Brown $500,000 a "Harvey Weinstein-funded abortion-promotion group."
But those tweets came from Lockwood's new home in Dallas, Texas, where he's relocated. WW asked him about his brief time in Oregon.
Why were you here?
From the minute I became the spokesman for the Senate Republicans, I set Kate Brown in my cross hairs, and whether it was working on Knute Buehler's campaign, Greg Wooldridge's campaign or while sipping yerba mate in the morning, my goal was to tank her numbers, and I did.
What could Oregon Republicans do to be more effective?
Generate content that exposes what Democrats are doing. That's what I did. Here's what I learned from watching Andrew Breitbart when he was getting started: If you're right and you have the facts and you are passionate, you'll win. And if you have something to say, just say it. But a lot of Oregon Republicans are too timid, too scared and have no backbone. A lot of them are comfortable being in the minority. They do their tangos with D's and go home. Both parties in Salem are a bipartisan, "shut up" club who don't want real debate.
How did your colleagues respond to you behind closed doors?
There were people with whom I worked who were more concerned about clicking glasses with Democrats at cocktails than making things better for Oregonians. I think there is a lot of wasted potential on the right. But I was consistently tackled by my own teammates.
Explain the Twitter beef that led to state Sen. Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg)'s downfall.
Sen. Sara Gelser [D-Corvallis] was a so-called women's advocate with Harvey Weinstein money in her pockets. [He's referring to the funding of EMILY's List.] Why is it OK for the left to say the Koch brothers fund something and it's not OK to say Weinstein funds things? When I pointed that out, Gelser said [on Twitter]: 'Will you protect me from your caucus members?' I was literally the only person who didn't know what she was talking about [the sexual harassment that led to Kruse's resignation]. If D.C. is a swamp, Salem is a disgusting gutter.
Your parting thoughts about Oregon?
Oregon is a beautiful state with great people who don't know what's going on in their government. If Oregonians knew the half of it, they would burn down the Capitol building.