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GOP Senate nominee Wehby stops in Bend

By Wanda Moore
Published On: May 28 2014 09:58:00 PM CDT
Updated On: May 29 2014 02:46:17 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Wanda Moore spoke to Senate hopeful Wehby about campaign strategy.

BEND, Ore. -

Republican Senate nominee Monica Wehby stopped in Bend to have a meet and greet with female voters, hoping to leave the scandals of the primaries behind her.

The main talking point of what was billed as a "kitchen table conversation" -- one of several around the state -- was campaign strategy. The predominantly Democratic state might be on the forefront of a battle over what direction the GOP is taking this election year and beyond.

"We believe in smaller government and more personal control over our lives," Wehby said.

It's a clear Republican philosophy that is sometimes at odds with the GOP's stand on social issues.

"My personal belief is that I'm pro-life," Wehby said, "but this is a personal decision between a woman and her faith, a woman and her family and a woman and her physician. And not between a woman and the government."

Many women at the meeting said they believe if a Republican wants to get more women's votes, they have to leave social issues like abortion and gay rights out of the campaign.

"You don't lead your talking points with social issues, because social issues are independent issues," said Noel Lucky, owner of The Lucky Group.

"It's more a philosophy of personal independence, personal responsibility," said Kate Adams, vice chair of Oregon's Republican Party in the 2nd Congressional District.

Pro-life lobbies spent $590,000 on anti-Wehby ads during the primary.

Now that Wehby has her eyes on Nov. 3rd, many think her liberal stand on social issues might help her against Democrat incumbent Jeff Merkley.

"The social issues somewhat divide the Republican Party. But I think at the end of the day, the Republican Party does feel that it is about choice," said former state senator Chris Telfer of Bend.

Wehby's primary campaign was dogged toward the end with reports that her ex-husband and a former boyfriend called police as their relationships were deteriorating.

Now, it's all about a unified approach to replace Merkley.

"I think the greatest enemy we have in this country are those people that are trying to divide us," Wehby said.

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