PORTLAND, Ore. – U.S. Senate candidate state Rep. Jason Conger says he's not intimidated by the national attention and fundraising prowess of his opponent, pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby, in this year's Oregon Republican primary.
And during Sunday's "Your Voice, Your Vote," the state legislator and attorney from Bend painted Wehby as someone who is cozying up to the "D.C. establishment" to win votes at the expense of being truly connected to Oregon voters.
"I'm all about winning this for Oregon voters," Conger told the show's host, Steve Dunn, to contrast his campaign with that of Wehby's. "It helps when you have the D.C. establishment promoting you. That's really what draws the attention is their ability to communicate to national media and to provide a message and a narrative about Oregon to those national media outlets."
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich has endorsed Wehby as has former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
"As for the national endorsements, it's impressive," Conger said. "But those folks don't get to vote in Oregon. And she's out appealing to national donors, to the D.C. establishment, to national figures, and I'm appealing to Republicans in Oregon."
Wehby also has been far ahead in the fundraising game, collecting over $1 million so far.
To combat the national attention and the money advantage of Wehby, Conger said the key is to run a stronger campaign closer to home.
"You focus more on talking with and listening to the voters you're asking to vote for you, and you take every opportunity you can to have those conversations with voters in pretty much any setting," he said. "I'm not even a little bit intimidated by money or power or the publicity or the national attention that has been drawn to my opponent."
Like his opponent, Conger also wants to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."
"I come at this not as a political issue – obviously, it is political – however, as a lawyer, someone who is trained to read laws and understand them, twenty-six hundred pages of statute regulating 17 percent of our gross national product, and especially as something as complex as health care, is extraordinarily far-reaching and impossible to understand," he said.
He proposed replacing the new health care law with something "more modest" and "more incremental" that will gain the confidence of the public while at the same time make health care more affordable.
And also like Wehby he also said there should be a federal investigation into the failed Cover Oregon website, since about $248 million in federal money was used in the project.
"There are a lot of questions that exist, I think, in the public's mind and certainly exist in my mind about what happened, and ultimately there needs to be accountability," Conger said.
Click the "Play Video button above to watch the interview with Conger. Wehby has also appeared on "Your Voice, Your Vote." Watch her interview here.