As if Mitt Romney losing weren’t enough, Douglas County Republicans got more bad news Tuesday night — Art Robinson plans to run again for Congress.
Robinson has appealing qualities. Even his arch foe, Peter DeFazio, calls Robinson a commanding speaker with a professorial air.
Robinson can be engaging, when he wants to.
But he wasn’t able to beat DeFazio two years ago in a very bad year for Democrats, and he lost ground Tuesday.
He carried Douglas County again, but the 51 percent of the vote he received was well short of his 57 percent in 2010.
More telling, he did poorly compared to other Republican candidates.
Romney won 62 percent of the vote in Douglas County, and Secretary of State candidate Knute Buehler received 58 percent.
Even two underfunded Republicans for statewide offices fared better than Robinson.
Treasurer candidate Tom Cox received 55 percent of the vote in the county, even though he was no threat statewide to the Democratic incumbent, Ted Wheeler. Attorney general candidate James Buchal collected 56 percent here, while losing statewide to Democrat Ellen Rosenblum by 15 points.
Registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats 3 to 2 in Douglas County. Any Republican who doesn’t win at least 60 percent of the vote in Douglas County is underperforming.
Robinson underperformed by nine percentage points.
He didn’t underperform in the usual ways. He had money and went to the effort to mail voters his 410-page campaign book, “Common Sense in 2012.” But he kept drowning out his message with stunts.
His attack last year on Oregon State University as a bastion of liberal socialism in cahoots with DeFazio to scuttle his children’s academic careers was a bizarre episode. He looked like an out-of-control parent.
And it just got weirder.
His son, Matthew, filed to run against DeFazio in the Democratic primary, and another son, Noah, managed both father and brother’s campaigns for the same office. Combined with the OSU affair, some people had to be asking, What’s up with the Robinsons?
It’s a touchy subject because family is as personal as it gets. But the Robinsons keep making it personal.
The Democrats tweaked Matthew Robinson by filing a complaint that he falsely claimed his family has provided more than $600,000 for scholarships.
The News-Review reported the complaint and its subsequent dismissal by the Secretary of State’s Office. But Art Robinson continued to assert this newspaper wronged his son, allowing the stench of Matthew’s sarcastic candidacy to cling to his own.
Art Robinson’s world view was brought into focus when he refused to appear with DeFazio at forums hosted by nonpartisan organizations such as the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce. Too pro-DeFazio, Robinson claimed.
After his father received only 39 percent of the vote districtwide (he got 44 percent two years ago), Noah Robinson emailed a vintage rant — full of name-calling, self-pitying and a fantasy.
According to Noah Robinson, DeFazio won’t seek re-election in 2014 and may quit before then, so DeFazio’s goal this year was to damage Art Robinson and soften him up for a new Democrat.
If DeFazio damaged Robinson, Republicans should take advantage in the 2014 primary.