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Former Portland Mayor Doubts Smith Will Lose

Former Portland Mayor Vera Katz (D) said in a radio interview this week that she doesn’t see anyone in her party who is capable of ousting Sen. Gordon Smith (R) next year.

“I hate to say this, but I don’t think there is any Democrat right now that can beat Gordon Smith, even though he’s considered to be vulnerable,” Katz said Monday during an interview on KPAM radio in Portland.

Democrats are attempting to lure Rep. Peter DeFazio (D) into the race, and in recent weeks he has reversed himself, saying he is considering running after previously taking himself out of contention.

Smith is one of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s top 2008 targets, but thus far Democratic activist and first-time candidate Steve Novick is the only announced Democratic contender. DSCC spokesman Matthew Miller contended Wednesday that Smith’s free ride wouldn’t last forever.

“One potential challenger [DeFazio] is already beating Gordon Smith in the polls, he has a re-elect under 50 percent, and a record of supporting George Bush 90 percent of the time,” Miller said. “He must know he’s vulnerable because he’s the only Senator in the country currently running political ads.”

Meanwhile, Smith this week unveiled, where the Republican’s Democratic supporters are listed. On the site, Smith’s criticism of President Bush’s Iraq War policy is cited as a reason Democrats should support the Republican’s re-election.

“Principled Democrats should be proud of Gordon Smith’s stand on Iraq,” former Rep. Elizabeth Furse (D-Ore.) said in a statement on the group’s Web site.

— David M. Drucker

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