Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, endorsed GOP Oregon Senate primary contender Monica Wehby, Politico reported
Wehby, a Portland pediatric neurosurgeon, "is the kind of leader Oregon needs — someone who has strong experience outside of government, who can bring trust and accountability back to Washington," Romney said in a statement given to Politico. "Dr. Wehby is putting forward a positive and conservative vision for her campaign that will make Oregonians proud."
Wehby is locked in a four-way primary scheduled for May 20, and her closest rival is state Rep. Jason Conger. She already has a huge cash advantage, having raised more than $1 million in less than six months.
Democrats point to a recent internal poll showing her trailing incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley by 20 percentage points, according to Politico.
Wehby's anti-Obamacare message has caught the attention of other national Republicans who believe she could be the best hope for the GOP to capture the seat. A Republican hasn't been elected to an Oregon statewide office in more than a decade.
Wehby welcomed Romney's endorsement and said in a statement, "He and I share in the belief that Washington, D.C., needs leaders who have excelled in fields other than politics—that the establishment of a permanent political class is not what our founders intended."
In addition to Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also announced his endorsement of Wehby this week, according to The Oregonian
She has been previously endorsed by conservative columnist and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, while 15 GOP senators have also endorsed or contributed to her campaign, the Oregonian reported
Wehby is also backed by the Oregonian and has been running television ads focused on Obamacare, an issue that has become highly contentious in Oregon following the disastrous rollout of its state exchange, Cover Oregon
, whose survival is currently hanging in the balance.
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