The email campaigns in the Oregon U.S. Senate and governor races have reached a fevered pitch, with more than two months still to go before the Nov. 4 general election.

Our inbox is jammed every day with releases from the candidates and their surrogates usually attacking their opponents, responding to the attacks, or launching new attacks in response to the responses. Subjects range from actual public policies like Cover Oregon to contributors, dubious internal polls and failed legislation. Almost all of them are instantly met with emails from the other side, mostly accusing the first attacker of being a hypocrite or worse — usually much worse. After awhile, you begin to wonder if any of the candidates are worth supporting.

What we’re seeing is apparently the way big-budget political campaigns are waged these days, where no criticism goes unchallenged. It will be interesting to see what happens when voters actually start paying attention to the election.

Medicare still a common bond

Democratic Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden is still talking to Republican Rep. Paul Ryan about Medicare reform, despite the controversy their previous work on the issue caused during the last presidential election.

Wyden and Ryan both are worried that projected increases in Medicare costs threaten the rest of the federal budget. They co-authored a paper with several options for reducing the increases in 2011. After Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked Ryan as his running mate the next year, he cited the work with Wyden as proof that Ryan is not a conservative extremist. In response, Wyden released a statement noting that he had voted against the Medicare provision’s in Ryan’s proposed budget.

But Wyden said he and Ryan are still talking about options for slowing the growth of Medicare spending when he visited the Portland Tribune on Aug. 19. According to Wyden, the two of them still agree that the projected cost increases are the greatest threat to the federal budget.

Fringe candidate builds platform

Big-name potential 2016 presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Paul Rand and Jeb Bush are still playing it coy. And legal problems may derail Rick Perry and Chris Christie before they even announce. But not Portlander Ed Baker, 35. He’s one of 120 people from around the country who have formally filed for the race with the Federal Elections Commission.

Baker says he’s worked in marketing research and been homeless in the past. He is not affiliated with any political party and is running on a platform that is hard to define as liberal or conservative. Among other things, he wants to deport all illegal aliens, reopen the 9/11 investigation, legalize marijuana, require GMO labeling, and provide mental health help to everyone who needs it.

“The main reason to vote for me is because we have to change the type of person we are putting into these positions of power. It is going to get a lot worse soon if we don’t take action,” Baker says.