An Interesting Nuance in the Oregon 2nd Congressional District* Primary Race…

Here’s something regarding the 2nd Congressional District race over here in central and eastern Oregon. This is about Republican candidate Jason Atkinson’s campaign manager, Jim Dornan.

In October of 2016, Dornan went on record with this statement (ouch): “Trump is done,” and, “Barring something completely out of the blue, like Hillary being involved in a murder, I don’t see how he (Donald Trump) wins.” (For source, see Footnote #1)

But there’s more: Dornan is not just a hyper anti-Trumper. He’s perhaps even a (gasp) Biden supporter. This is from two months ago, in the Washington Examiner: “’Biden is probably the only plausible candidate the Never Trumpers could support,’ said Jim Dornan, a Republican operative in Washington who maintains relationships with anti-Trump Republicans.” (See Footnote #2)

And, for another recent article regarding Dornan’s never-Trumpism, see Footnote #3. Wowee zowee.

KDRV news stated that Atkinson has “tapped former Trump senior strategist Jim Dornan, ‘who shares the Atkinson campaign’s vision of values and ideals,’ to help run his 2020 campaign.” (See Footnote #4)

So, Atkinson and Dornan “share…the same…values and ideals.” That sounds exactly like Buehler’s “thoughtful moderate” schtick.

Also, Dornan is apparently referring to himself as a “former Trump senior strategist.” Yeah. Right. See how far that takes him when his never-Trumper statements go public. (Oh. Wait. They’re going public right here…). At first blush, Dornan appears to be just another inside-the-beltway, double-talking, Trump-denying, Republican consultant. e.g. Russ Walker et al.

Is Jason Atkinson himself a never-Trumper? I don’t know, but in choosing Dornan to run his campaign, one could reasonably assume he is. Anyway, even if he isn’t, in hiring Dornan he might as well be.

BAD move by Atkinson, right out of the gate. Over 90% of Republicans support President Trump. And in Oregon CD2, I’d stretch that to 95%.

Yet there could be some sweet poetic justice here: if Knute Buehler runs for the CD2 seat, “behind enemy lines,” so to speak, he and Atkinson will be splitting the microscopic CD2 never-Trumper vote as well as sparse RINO campaign dollars.

And I wonder, is THIS why Buehler is hesitating to file for the race?

Atkinson and/or Buehler? Alone or together, each is finished before even starting…that is, if they run against a solid pro-Trump/pro-life candidate.

The pro-Trump/pro-life candidate who wins the CD2 nomination in May will almost certainly win the congressional seat in the general election next November. But if the nominee is Buehler or Atkinson, due to the lack of a truly conservative candidate, I fear CD2 will be lost to the Democrats one year from now. And if that happens, Oregon Democrats will finally have their super-Blue Trifecta government: governor, both chambers of the legislature (with super-majorities, no less), both US Senators, and all five US Congressmen.

And THAT, my friends, would be the ultimate Oregon Republican train wreck.

But, there’s this: for the past months we’ve been going back and forth with LOTS of Oregon conservatives and there is no question that Republican voters are as on-fire as they ever have been. (Note that statewide, a number of county Republican parties are approaching outright rebellion against the historically and demonstrably never-Trumper state Oregon Republican Party.)

Back in 2016, SO MANY Republican consultants (and their candidates) made the irreversible, paint-myself-into-a-corner mistake of damning Donald Trump…and there is no un-painting that blunder. More and more, this nuance will reveal itself as primary contests across the country take shape.
-sam c.

*Oregon’s 2nd congressional district is the largest of Oregon’s five districts and is the seventh largest district in the nation. It includes Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco, Wheeler, and part of Josephine counties.

Footnotes:
#1: https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/302450-gop-operative-trump-is-done
#2: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/campaigns/never-trump-republicans-quietly-preparing-to-back-biden
#3: https://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2019/09/never-trump-republicans-quietly-preparing-back-biden/
#4: https://www.kdrv.com/content/news/Former-Republican-state-rep-Southern-Oregon-native-Jason-Atkinson-announces-bid-for-Waldens-seat-564819652.html