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Robinson in 2012

Robinson running once more

<<< The Republican vows to unseat Rep. Peter DeFazio after receiving 43.6 percent of the vote in 2010 >>>

…The Register-Guard,  September 19, 2011…         

Art Robinson again hopes to challenge incumbent Democrat Peter DeFazio in 2012 for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District seat, which includes all of Lane County, after officially filing his candidacy on Sept. 8.

Robinson was defeated by DeFazio last November, but he surprised some by garnering 43.6 percent of the vote in the heavily Democratic district, giving DeFazio his closest race since he was first elected to Congress in 1986.

The contest also was notable for its testiness, as neither candidate held back from launching virulent attacks on the other. While DeFazio portrayed Robinson as right-wing extremist financed by out-of-state big business, Robinson painted DeFazio as career politician, a protector of “big government” and one of the most liberal members of Congress.

Robinson did not respond to multiple requests for comment on his candidacy from The Register-Guard during a four-day period last week.  In his only apparent media appearance, Robinson told News Radio KQEN in Roseburg that he was running again “because we didn’t beat him last time and we’ve got to fix this problem.”  “Our district needs to be represented by someone who will do a better job for our people,” he said.  Robinson said he believes that better name recognition, better knowledge of the political process and the country’s continued economic decline give him “an excellent chance to win this time.”

DeFazio, reached in Washington, D.C., this week, disagreed, stating that Robinson’s “bizarre behavior” during the last campaign means “there’s a real question of whether he will be the Republican candidate (for the district in 2012).”  “I wouldn’t be surprised if Republicans put forward a more credible candidate in the primary,” he said.

“(Robinson) got weirder and weirder and displayed near pathological behavior as the pressure of the (2010) campaign grew.”  

Robinson appears to be building his campaign on an economic platform, where he supports less taxation, less government spending and fewer government regulations in areas such as education and the environment.  Robinson, a scientist who worked with Nobel-Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling and later founded a nonprofit research organization, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, describes himself as a lifelong problem solver with the type of common sense approach needed in Washington, D.C.

Asked about last year’s heated race, Robinson told KQEN that he doesn’t mind how loud the volume of the debate gets this time around as long as candidates are talking about the things that matter to voters.

“(Last year) Mr. DeFazio went off the issues most of the time, he’d make quite a few personal, ad hominem attacks,” he said. “I don’t care how contentious it gets as long as the two of us are on the issues.” DeFazio’s camp had publicized controversial statements Robinson had previously made, many of them taken from a scientific newsletter he writes and publishes called “Access to Energy.” Those views included abolishing public schools and allowing the private sector to handle education and dismissing the theory of global warming. DeFazio rejected the notion that quoting from Robinson’s newsletters was an attack in any way.  “If the guy is an ultra right-wing libertarian nut job, it’s not an attack, it’s public information,” he said.

Both Robinson and DeFazio have been in the news since last November.  Robinson received widespread publicity when he accused Oregon State University of trying to prevent three of his children from completing their advanced scientific degrees there as political payback for his activism. He organized a rally at the university in April that drew about 75 supporters. OSU said the allegations had no merit.  Meanwhile, DeFazio has made headlines for criticizing the Obama administration’s handling of the debt-ceiling negotiations and, more recently, the president’s new job creation bill.  DeFazio said Obama’s plan has “the same misplaced priorities and the same scattershot approach” as his first stimulus package, offering too many tax cuts and not enough investment in the nation’s infrastructure.

Both men also saw campaign funds roll in during the first half of 2011: DeFazio raised $187,704 in total contributions, while Robinson raised $67,670.  Of DeFazio’s contributions, $104,000 came from political action committees — many of them based in Washington, D.C. — representing airlines, railroads and a variety of workers’ unions.  Of the $31,011 DeFazio pulled in from listed individual contributors, $15,011 came from in-state contributors and $16,000 came from out-of-state contributors.  Robinson brought in no funds from political action committees during the same period. Of the $43,325 Robinson raised from listed individual contributors, $3,300 came from in-state contributors and $40,025 came from out-of-state contributors.

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