In a potential blow to state Speaker Jeff Merkley (D), former Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) on Monday endorsed attorney Steve Novick in his bid to win the Democratic Senate nomination and earn the right to challenge Sen. Gordon Smith (R) in November.
Kitzhaber served two terms as governor before leaving office in 2002. In endorsing Novick, he is putting himself at odds with Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.), who recruited Merkley to run after other Oregon Democrats higher in the party’s pecking order declined the opportunity to challenge Smith.
“I am endorsing Steve Novick because he fully understands that in order to secure the future of this nation we must first be willing to face the facts,” Kitzhaber said in a statement. “And the facts are not always politically popular.”
— David M. Drucker