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Flexing Muscle to Challenge Minnis

We all remember the bitter end to the 2005 Legislative Session when House Speaker Karen Minnis, through a series of extreme political maneuvers, blocked Senate Bill 1000 from a vote on the House Floor where we knew -- and she knew -- it would have passed. Our community vowed then and there to make her next race the toughest she'd ever faced and we are already succeeding.

Normally, the Speaker of the House would have an easy race. It is almost unheard of for any candidate to challenge a sitting Speaker of the House or for an organization like BRO to challenge a Speaker, especially one who has wielded as much power as Karen Minnis.

Typically the Speaker, who has the greatest access to deep campaign coffers and political connections, would use her time to campaign and raise money for other right-wing candidates in order to maintain her vice grip on the political majority that keeps her in power.

But this year is different. The Speaker's current challenger took her on in 2004 and almost defeated her with a bare-bones campaign. This time around he has garnered financial support and endorsements from a broad coalition of advocacy groups and he has been able to re-double his efforts. In addition, BRO and our coalition partners have launched a comprehensive effort that is forcing her to dig deep and spend tons of money to defend her own seat. Each dollar she spends defending herself starves vulnerable anti-equality candidates who are depending on her financial support this election cycle. By remaining on the defensive, the Speaker jeopardizes the success of half a dozen anti-equality candidate campaigns AND her return to the Speaker's seat.

Let's be clear. We all want Speaker Minnis out of office and our coalition will give that enormous task the greatest fight we can give. But this is no easy feat. Just as we have set our sights on Speaker Minnis' seat, the far-right has also set this race up as its biggest fight -- and they have no shortage of fund to throw at her race in order solidify its power.

That means that this race is tough for us too, but it also means that we are forcing pro-discrimination groups to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars that they could otherwise use to back candidates who support discrimination or to attack our rights at the ballot.

And on election day, each dollar that has been spent in Karen Minnis' East County fight for her job, each anti-equality candidate without the funds they need to win, and each pro-fairness seat we pick up in the Oregon House diminishes -- if not entirely eliminates -- the power Karen Minnis has to deny Oregonians basic rights.
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By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 19, 2006 9:38 AM

By the way, Minnis' opponent is Rob Brading. His website is here.

Rob Brading    



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