Steve Novick is seeing red over a remark by a Jeff Merkley aide comparing Novick's Portland supporters to old-line Soviet Communists.
An article Tuesday on politico.com about Novick's maverick candidacy for the Oregon Democratic senatorial nomination noted: "Merkley's campaign argues that Novick would enter a general election as a serious underdog against [Republican Sen. Gordon] Smith - a point that national Democrats have privately echoed. Merkley spokesman Matt Canter said Novick's base is from the liberal heart of downtown Portland, which he likened to the 'inner circle of the Kremlin.'"
Novick immediately fired back with a press release:
"Apparently it wasn't enough for Jeff Merkley to divide Democrats by trying to manufacture controversy about some previous comments I made on the Internet, now Merkley is adopting two classic Republican tactics: red-baiting and trying to divide rural and urban Oregonians. I can't figure out if I'm running against Jeff Merkley or Joe McCarthy."
(The part about "previous comments I made on the Internet" refers to a Merkley ad attacking Novick for some negative remarks he made about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.)
"Jeff owes the citizens of Portland an apology for this disgusting display of red-baiting," Novick's press release concluded. At last report, no apology was forthcoming.
Okay, some folks in Portland are pretty liberal, but The Eye thinks the Kremlin reference was a bit over the top. On the other hand, so was Novick's comparison of the mild-mannered Jeff Merkley to the thuggish, red-baiting, witch-hunting demagogue from the '50s. So we guess we'll call this round even.