By Rockne Roll • Multimedia Journalist • 

Oregon election news roundup

Polling shows Democratic incumbents in the lead

With less then six weeks to go until the General Election, the races are heating up across Oregon, particularly at the top of the ballot. Here's a look at the week's headlines from Oregon politics.

A piece from the popular online media outlet Buzzfeed accuses Dr. Monica Wheby, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley, plagiarized large parts of her health care proposal. Buzzfeed staffer Andrew Kaczynski posted examples of language from Wheby’s proposal alongside snippets from a survey conducted by Crossroads USA, which is backed by former Bush administration senior adviser Karl Rove, in 2013. The Wheby campaign flatly denied the accusation.

The New York Times and CBS released polling data earlier this month that shows both Democratic candidates for statewide office on November’s ballot, Gov. John Kitzhaber and Sen. Jeff Merkley, are out in front of their challengers. The Oregonian reports that Merkley holds a 12-point lead on Wheby, while Kitzhaber is up six points on Republican challenger State Rep. Dennis Richardson.

Kitzhaber and Richardson will square off in four upcoming public debates over the next two months, with another still to potentially be scheduled according to the campaigns. Two of these, a Friday, Sept. 26 debate hosted by the Oregon Broadcasters Association and a tentatively scheduled Monday, Oct. 13 debate at KGW-TV’s studios in Portland, will be televised statewide, according to The Oregonian. Merkley and Wheby will debate on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at KOBI-TV in Medford.

In a rare showing of unity, the Oregon branches of the Republican and Democratic parties are united in their opposition to Measure 91. The Associated Press reports that both parties have voiced strong opposition to the measure that would allow the top two vote-getters in a primary election, regardless of party affiliation, on to the general election ballot. The AP also noted that membership in the Republican and Democratic parties in Oregon is down 1.5 and 5.2 percent, respectively, while total voter registration in Oregon is up four percent.

Richardson will be the beneficiary of a $1,000-per-plate fundraising dinner hosted by Texas. Gov. Rick Perry in Lake Oswego on Saturday, Oct. 11. The Oregonian reports that Richardson is hoping that Perry’s appearance will boost his name recognition in the Portland area and provide some much needed capital for the final month of the campaign. Kitzhaber has raised more then double what Richardson has brought in thus far in the campaign, while having a cash on hand advantage of more then $1.2 million.

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