Conger’s email comes as new campaign finance reports show that he has lagged behind Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon from Portland, in fundraising. Her candidacy — for the seat held by Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley — has also attracted much more national press attention than has Conger.
The email compares Conger’s “pro-life” stand with Wehby’s belief that abortion is a woman’s “personal decision.” He also says he opposes granting amnesty to immigrants who are in the country illegally while noting that Wehby has talked about finding a way to “legalize people who are here.”
In addition, Conger seeks to tie Wehby, a former member of the American Medical Association’s board, to that organization’s support for gun control. And he quotes her as saying that it’s “not politically viable” to repeal the new federal health care law at this point.
Conger said he sought to accurately portray where the two candidates stood on the issues and said: “Isn’t the election supposed to be about giving voters choices and being clear about that?”
UPDATE: Wehby’s campaign manager, Charles Pearce, called it “sad that Jason Conger has decided his campaign’s only chance is for him to attack like the career politician he is – by distorting Monica Wehby’s positions and slinging mud.”
Pearce also charged that Conger had a “long liberal record where he voted with the Democrats on Cover Oregon, Common Core, and the Columbia River Crossing.” Conger has defended all of those votes, saying he had limited options to get the options he wanted as a minority member of the state House.
Wehby’s campaign did not have an immediate response. But Wehby has previously said she disagrees with the position taken by the American Medical Association and is a strong supporter of gun rights. And she has noted that she opposed President Barack Obama’s proposed new health care law in a 2009 video. In her campaign, she has said she would work for a series of sweeping changes to the new law if elected.
Her campaign has also cast doubt on whether the two have different views on immigration.
A newly released disclosure report said that Conger had raised just under $215,000 in the last three months of 2013. Wehby has said she raised about $500,000 during that same period.