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DSCC Amps Up Efforts In Oregon

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is expending significant resources to help ensure its favored candidate in next week's Oregon Senate primary emerges victorious.

The committee is up with a second statewide ad buy this week defending state House Speaker Jeff Merkley without making mention of his primary opponent, Democratic activist Steve Novick. The DSCC has also been calling likely primary voters encouraging them to back Merkley in the primary, according to several statewide Democrats.

One statewide Democratic operative estimated the ad buy and phone banking as costing the committee over $300,000.

Merkley is facing a spirited primary campaign against Novick, the underdog candidate who has gotten a slew of free publicity for his unique biography (he's 4 foot 9, and has a hook for a left hand) and outspoken viewpoints. But National Democrats view Novick as a weaker candidate in the general election against Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).

Despite running against much of the party establishment, Novick has maintained a slight lead, according to most public polling while Merkley has struggled to catch up. DSCC chairman Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) recruited Merkley to run, and he has offered advice and fundraising support for Merkley's campaign.

Voting in Oregon is conducted entirely by mail, and voters are allowed to cast their ballots from May 2 until May 20.
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