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Oregon: Schwarzenegger Will Flex Muscle for Smith

Sen. Gordon Smith (R), facing a tough battle for re-election against state Speaker Jeff Merkley (D), is bringing California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to Portland to help raise money.

Schwarzenegger is set to headline an Aug. 21 luncheon fundraiser for Smith at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Portland. Tickets are going for $1,000, with “priority seating” costing $2,500. The invitation features a Schwarzenegger head shot, saying: “You’re Invited to The Big Event.”

Meanwhile, Smith and Merkley continue their daily fight on the campaign trail.

Late last week, Merkley announced that he has been endorsed by the Independent Party of Oregon, which boasts 22,000 members. Smith has long burnished his credentials as politically independent of his party, and Merkley offered this endorsement as proof that he has more appeal to independent voters than the incumbent.

“We are supporting Jeff Merkley because he is the true ‘independent’ in this race,” Linda Williams, chairwoman of the Independent Party of Oregon, said in a statement released by the Merkley campaign.

Also late last week, the Smith campaign unveiled a new television ad. In this latest 30-second spot, Smith touts his history of working with Democrats. The ad is running statewide on broadcast television.

“Times are tough. Rising prices on gas, food, health care. Families need help. That’s why I choose to reach across the aisle,” Smith says in the ad. “With [Sen.] John Kerry [D-Mass.] to protect homeowners against foreclosure; with [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-Ill.] for better gas mileage. And when President Bush tried to cut Medicaid, the Oregon Health plan, I said no.”

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