The Democratic race for U.S. Senate is next in our continuing series Primary Conversations. It has been the most watched (and certainly the most debated) contest so far in Oregon this year. The Democrats are working hard to remove incumbent Gordon Smith — who’s running uncontested in the Republican primary — from his seat. Jeff Merkley, Candy Neville and Steve Novick are all vying for the chance, as is Independent candidate John Frohnmayer.
Jeff Merkley is Oregon’s speaker of the House. He was born in Myrtle Creek, Oregon, spent his younger years in Roseburg, and was the first member of his family to go to college. Merkley served as a national security analyst, first for the Pentagon and then for Congress. He returned to Oregon to lead Habitat for Humanity, and became the first Democratic House Speaker in 16 years.
Candy Neville is a real estate broker from Eugene who admits she has no experience in politics. She’s been a real estate developer and a freelance writer for the Chicago Sun-Times. She says she has “guts born of sorrow and agony over the state of the nation.”
Steve Novick is a senior project manager at Pyramid Communications, a consulting firm that works primarily for non-profits, tribal and public sector clients. He was born in Newark, New Jersey and raised in Cottage Grove, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon he went to Harvard Law School and then worked in law firms in New York and San Francisco and in the Environment Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
What do you want to know from these prospective Democratic nominees for U.S. Senate? Their takes on healthcare reform? The War in Iraq? Timber Payments? Social Security? Or simply why they think they’re best equipped to take on Gordon Smith in the fall?
Jeff Merkley: speaker of the Oregon House and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Candy Neville: a real estate broker and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Steve Novick: senior project manager at Pyramid Communications and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate