Posts tagged with "Oregon"

Democrats test a midterm strategy: Meddling in G.O.P. governor’s races

May 11, 2022

Democrats are investing millions of dollars to meddle in Republican primaries for governor—either to elevate their preferred competitors in November or toweaken their biggest threats, reports NBC News.

Next week’s messy G.O.P. battle in Pennsylvania is the most blatant example. State Senator Doug Mastriano (R) is ahead in recent polls—and his would-be Democratic opponent wouldn’t mind if it stayed that way.

Democrat Josh Shapiro, the state attorney general running unopposed in his party’s primary for governor, is airing an ad that brandishes Mastriano’s conservative credentials, making sure to say a Mastriano victory is a win “for what Donald Trump stands for.” That’s all but an endorsement in a GOP primary, but it could hurt later in a race where even some Republicans have doubts about Mastriano’s electability.

That a Democrat is behind the ad underscores the lengths to which the party will go to engineer an easier general election in what’s expected to be a volatile environment this fall.

“Both public and private polling indicate that Doug Mastriano is poised to become the Republican nominee on May 17—and our campaign is prepared to start the general election now and make sure Pennsylvanians know his real record,” Shapiro spokesperson Will Simons said in a statement to NBC News.

Shapiro’s efforts mirror those by the Democratic Governors Association and affiliated groups that could hamstring Republicans in three other states currently led by Democrats.

As of Monday, according to the ad-tracking firm AdImpact, the DGA had already spent $4 million on advertising in Illinois, where the organization is attacking Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin. Backed by hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, Irvin is seen by many as Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker’s toughest potential rival, but he must first win a crowded June 28 primary.

In Nevada, the group, A Stronger NV, which registered with the state using the DGA’s telephone number in Washington, D.C., already had spent $500,000 on ads, with at least another $111,000 reserved through the June 14 primary. There, Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak and allies of his re-election bid are focused hard on Joe Lombardo—the Clark County sheriff who has Trump’s endorsement and is leading a crowded GOP field that includes former Sen. Dean Heller and retired professional boxer Joey Gilbert, who has the state party’s endorsement.

“If he doesn’t make it through the primary, then we’ve knocked out what is seen as the front-runner,” a Democrat familiar with the DGA strategy said of Lombardo.

And although the strategy doesn’t involve a primary, an Oregon group backed by DGA donations is preparing a campaign that will brand nonaffiliated gubernatorial hopeful Betsy Johnson—until recently a Democratic state senator— as a conservative.

The early interference amounts to what Democrats see as a viable path to keeping their statehouses blue as they enter a tumultuous campaign season during which inflation and gas prices are on the rise and President Joe Biden’s favorability is stubbornly low.

Of the four states where the DGA is playing defense, Pennsylvania and Nevada are expected to be the most competitive this fall, with Illinois and Oregon being harder lifts for Republicans. But, buoyed by a bloc of deep red counties downstate Illinois, well-funded Republicans have managed to win statewide. Whether the Democrats are pushing the right buttons to be victorious in the general elections remains to be seen.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Oregon ends residency rule for medically assisted suicide

March 30, 2022

Oregon will no longer require people to be residents of the state in order  to use its law allowing terminally ill people to receive lethal medication for a medically assisted suicide, after a lawsuit challenged the requirement as unconstitutional, reports ABC News affiliate KATU.

In a settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Portland on March 28, the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Medical Board agreed to stop enforcing the residency requirement and to ask the legislature to remove it from the law.

Advocates said they would use the settlement to press the eight other states and Washington, D.C., with medically assisted suicide laws to drop their residency requirements, as well.

“This requirement was both discriminatory and profoundly unfair to dying patients at the most critical time of their life,” said Kevin Diaz, an attorney with Compassion & Choices, the national advocacy group that sued over Oregon’s requirement.

Laura Echevarria, a spokeswoman for National Right to Life, which opposes such laws, warned that without a residency requirement, Oregon risked becoming the nation’s “assisted suicide tourism capital.”

But Diaz said that was unlikely, given safeguards in the law, such as waiting periods; that it is extremely difficult for terminally ill people to make extended trips to another state; and that many people want to die in the presence of loved ones near home—not across the country.

“There’s no tourism going on,” Diaz said.

Compassion & Choices sued on behalf of Dr. Nicholas Gideonse, a Portland family practice physician and associate professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. A longtime supporter of medical aid-in-dying laws, Gideonse had been unable to write terminal prescriptions for patients who live just across the Columbia River in Washington State.

While Washington has such a law, providers can be difficult to find in the southwestern part of the state, where many hospital beds are in religiously affiliated health care facilities that prohibit it. Requiring his patients to find other doctors to provide assistance in ending their own lives can compound their suffering, Gideonse said.

“Any restriction on medical aid in dying that doesn’t serve a specific medical purpose is difficult,” Gideonse said Monday. “In no other way is my practice restricted to Oregon residents, whether that’s delivering babies in the past or other care that I provide.”

The lawsuit argued that the residency requirement violated the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which gives Congress the right to regulate interstate commerce, and the Privileges and Immunities Clause, which forbids states from discriminating against citizens from other states in favor of its own citizens.

The Oregon Health Authority and the medical board declined to comment on why they settled the case. The state attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to an interview request.

Enacted in 1997, Oregon’s first-in-the-nation law allows terminally ill people deemed to have less than six months to live to end their lives by voluntarily taking lethal medications prescribed by a physician for that purpose.

Patients must make two verbal requests to their doctor for the medication, at least 15 days apart, as well as a written request signed in the presence of two witnesses.

The attending physician and a consulting physician must confirm the patient’s diagnosis and prognosis and determine whether the patient is capable of making health care decisions; if either doctor believes the patient to be suffering from depression or another mental disorder, they can refer the patient for a psychological exam.

Some 2,159 people have died after ingesting terminal drugs under the law since it took effect, according to data published last month by the Oregon Health Authority.

California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington State, and Washington, D.C., have approved similar laws, all with residency requirements. Montana’s Supreme Court has ruled that state law does not prohibit medical aid in dying.

Research contact: @ABC