Senate: Bradbury vs. Smith
Sen. Bill Bradbury (Democrat) secretary of state member of Oregon Legislature Former Bandon seafood restaurant owner Director of non-profit that built consensus on salmon restoration Educated at Antioch College
Bradbury: Supported accountability legislation in the Senate after the Enron and Worldcom meltdowns. Has stated that Bush and republicans are too soft on corporations.
Smith: Voted for increased accountability of corporations and increased oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Bradbury: Supports past democratic attempts for comprehensive health coverage and expanded prescription coverage for seniors. Accuses Smith of only providing the minimal coverage and criticizes Smith for supporting the Bush tax cut, thereby wiping away the best chance at health coverage for the poor and the elderly.
Smith: Engineered with bipartisan support the Children Health Insurance Program. Smith also had pledged in his first campaign to make health care his highest priority. Supported a $390 billion health-care plan that has been attacked by fellow republicans as a catastrophe and by opponent Bradbury as not nearly adequate. Supports tax credits for employer-sponsored health care.
Bradbury: Opposes unilateral action in Iraq, praising what he has calls Oregon’s unique, independent voice. Worries about the chilling effect on civil rights.
Smith: Supports President Bush’s Homeland Security arrangement and supports unilateral action in Iraq.
Bradbury: Strong supporter of equal rights and equal protections for sexual minorities. Supported by Portland gay and lesbian political groups. Supports federal hate crimes legislation and employer nondiscrimination acts.
Smith: Crossed party lines to support federal hate crimes legislation much to the appreciation of Judy Shepherd. Has drawn criticism, though, for his opposition to equal protection and equal rights legislation for sexual minorities.
Bradbury: Supports and has experience in building coalitions of business and environmental groups, however, his heart lies in stringent environmental protection and strict accountability and punishment for polluters. Opposes nuclear waste transit across Oregon.
Smith: Believes that more can be accomplished with less bureaucracy and more cooperation with business. Received environmentalist support for his opposition for drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, but none that became permanent. Critics say he would have voted “Yes” if he weren’t so close to an election.
The senator from Oregon will win by appealing to the largest swath of the independent voters (think Washington County). Smith has the advantage of incumbency and the impressive list of bipartisan legislation that he has been a critical part of. But does this make him an independent? Smith even raised a thorny party issue in his own commercial, his support for hate crimes legislation. This drew condemnation from Basic Rights Oregon, which accused him of hypocrisy and using the death of Matthew Shepherd for his own political gain, while ignoring the other legislation that sexual minorities have been advocating for two decades. Bradbury is definitely the underdog, and his largely liberal stances will cost him Eastern Oregon. This, however, was never going to be his stronghold anyway. His success is hinged on his willingness to discuss every issue and his unequivocal stances on a range of social concerns. His record of dealing with small business concerns is also impressive. The word on the street is that Bradbury is gaining on Smith, despite recent and highly dubious polls. Smith is accused of avoiding debates, and a recent visit to his Web site reveals an uncanny ability to avoid specifics on a large range of issues. Smith has also amassed a large campaign fortune and will unleash this closer to Election Day, much to the detriment of the less-funded democrat. Bradbury must erode the Smith cast as a bipartisan-independent senator and focus on Smith’s hesitation to debate and talk specifics. Smith must retain his charmed streak while avoiding the issues that will hurt him with independent, urban and women voters. A large section (15 percent) of undecided voters do not bode well for Smith. A large turnout of labor union members in response to Bush’s intervention in the port lock-out may also tip the scales against Smith.