Congressional candidate and chairman of the Oregon Republican Party Art Robinson has ramped up a campaign seeking donations.
He wants urine.
Mailers from Robinson’s Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine — 500,000 of them — have been appearing this week in Oregon mailboxes.
“My name is Art Robinson. I am a scientist who has lived and worked in Josephine County for 34 years. My colleagues and I are developing improved methods for the measurement of human health. Please consider giving us a sample of your urine,” the mailer states.
Reached today, Robinson said his mailer is for real.
“This is no joke. This is a research field I’ve been involved in my whole adult life.”
The mailers do not mention that Robinson is making a third bid to unseat 4th Congressional District Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield. Robinson lost to DeFazio in 2010 and 2012. Neither candidate has a primary opponent. Primary ballots are scheduled to be mailed in one week.
Robinson said the mailers have appeared for more than a year in Josephine County. In the latest phase, population centers in Oregon were targeted.
The goal is to collect 15,000 samples, Robinson said.
He said this latest round uses the mailer that proved most effective in earlier rounds. It contains a card that interested readers are asked to fill out. After mailing back the card, donors receive two vials, which they are to fill with urine and return in a padded envelope to the institute.
Robinson said the institute’s shipping materials have all been approved by the U.S. Postal Service.
He said more than 1,000 people have so far shipped him their urine. “It’s worked. We’ve had a great response.”
He said all samples he receives are stored at minus 80 degrees and undergo extensive genetic testing in his laboratory. He said the information gathered will help combat the degenerative conditions of aging.
Robinson, who has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology, said this mission is not new and is not related to his political ambitions.
He said names and addresses of urine submitters will not be used later to reach voters.
Robinson has a history of making the news in unorthodox ways. During the 2012 election, Robinson was criticized when his 24-year-old son, Matthew, filed to run as a Democrat against DeFazio.
Dean Byers, head of the Douglas County Democratic Party, said Robinson plays the role of scientist in public to garner respect, but fails by promoting “goofy” ideas.
“It’s always a laugh a minute with Art Robinson,” Byers said. “It will probably be another laugh-filled campaign with him in it.”
Efforts to reach Douglas County Republican Party Chairman Dave Germond were unsuccessful.
A representative from Peter DeFazio’s campaign could not be reached for comment today.
According to 2012 records filed with the Internal Revenue Service, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine paid Robinson $105,000 that year, and $100,000 to his son, Noah Robinson.
Nonprofit organizations are required to publicly report their highest-paid employees.
• You can reach reporter Garrett Andrews at 541-957-4218 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.