Winning with Labor in Oregon

In 2008, Nesbitt Research worked for America’s largest labor union to help unseat two-term incumbent Republican Sen. Gordon Smith in one of 2008’s most closely watched elections. Our comprehensive in-person search took us to the offices of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, where we uncovered evidence his company had repeated environmental sanctions and fines, one for $70,000. We also scrutinized Smith’s voting record, exposing the former senator’s habit of flip-flopping on key issues and his overwhelming tendency to side with former President George W. Bush. Finally, we obtained documentation regarding Smith’s pay and perks, travel expenses and personal and campaign finances, which revealed a long history of earmarks, no bid contracts and questionable pay-to-play relationships. Armed with our exhaustive research, the labor union conducted a poll and a multi-million dollar ad campaign. Jeff Merkley won the hard-fought election with 49 percent of the vote. Smith received 46 percent.