Although Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden is heavily favored to win re-election in November, his Democratic opponent is trying to generate some enthusiasm for her long-shot 2nd District bid.

Aelea Christofferson has just released her first Web ad stressing her support for expanding health care benefits. The ad also takes a shot at Walden, accusing him of spending too much time traveling the country to raise money for other Republican candidates as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Christofferson undercut that a message a bit, though, by traveling to Detroit this week to speak at the annual gathering of Netroots Nation. Although officially a coalition of progressive-minded organizations, Netroots Nation clearly supports Democrats. Vice President Joe Biden is this year’s keynote speaker. Previous gatherings have

featured Barack Obama, Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Big money came from small sources

Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley is walking a political tightrope these days.

On one hand, the Democratic candidate is attacking the influence of big money in politics, enlisting the support of progressive favorite, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In a June 29 email, Merkley’s campaign quotes the Massachusetts Democrat as saying, “The right-wing Super PACs and powerful special interests have a new target: our friend and progressive champion Jeff Merkley.”

On the other hand, Merkley also is bragging about how much money he’s rolling in. In a July 8 email to supporters, Merkley boasts that he’s raised $1.8 million in the past three months alone and currently has $3.5 million in the bank. He says most of the contributions were $100 or less, however.

Merkley’s Republican opponent, Monica Wehby, has yet to release her recent fundraising totals.

Portland’s policies not embraced across county

“First they’ll come for your guns, then they’ll come for your plastic bags.”

That’s the conspiratorial spin local lawyer Bruce McCain has put on the current civil suit on the gun control ordinance the Multnomah County Commission adopted in May 2013. It’s not as wacky as it sounds, however. The ordinance was written to apply to all cities in the county that have not adopted its gun control policies, something the county had never attempted to do before.

McCain is representing five county residents who say the commission has overstepped its authority. He argues if the county prevails, there’s nothing to prevent the commission from imposing controversial policies favored in Portland that are more liberal than those supported in such cities as Fairview, Gresham, Troutdale or Wood Village. Think art taxes, limited garbage collections, and mandatory medical leave.

The case was heard before Multnomah County Circuit Judge Kathleen Dailey on July 9. She is not expected to rule for several weeks. McCain’s argument already had proved persuasive with several elected officials in Multnomah County cities other than Portland, however. The Troutdale City Council passed an ordinance just before the trial started that asked to intervene in it.

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