Oregon's GOP Senate primary pits first-time candidate Dr. Monica Wehby against state Rep. Jason Conger. Wehby, by out-fundraising Conger by several orders of magnitude, has started to bother Democrats who were expecting to coast in this race. Today, they've finally filed an FEC complaint about a certain set of TV ads funded by an outside group, boosting Wehby—because the independent, non-coordinated ads are courtesy of a guy currently dating the candidate.
The story broke two weeks ago, with Jeff Mapes talking to lumber magnate Andrew Miller.
While Miller has helped Wehby with her fundraising, he said the advertising campaign was run independently of Wehby and her campaign as required by federal election law.
"From the outside, I can see the optics would appear otherwise and I know some folks appear to think there must be a smoking gun of coordination there and I would welcome the inspection," said Miller, insisting that he never discussed his plans with Wehby or anyone on her campaign.
Miller declined once again to discuss the nature of his relationship with Wehby, who has also turned aside questions on the subject, saying it is a personal matter.
Miller acknowledged that there is a "sidebar risk" that his advertising effort could be seen negatively because of his relationship with Wehby. But, he added, "I don't think it's that relevant outside of a group of people who pay a lot of attention to politics."
That got some national pick-up, and after a while Democrats got tired of soft-focus pieces about Wehby and went to the FEC. The complaint is here, and this is the paragraph that makes the loudest accusation.
Team Wehby's response is a flat denial.
"Our campaign has not coordinated with this group in any way," said Wehby's campaign manager Charlie Pearce in a statement. "Anyone suggesting otherwise is making a false accusation."