Dave Brownlow, the Oregon Constitution Party's senatorial candidate, who picked up just enough votes to keep Gordon Smith from being re-elected, predicted the outcome after Smith attacked the obscure Brownlow in a TV ad.
"I think it is great," Brownlow said of the attack that took place late in the campaign. "They are scared.… (Smith) mathematically can't win this race until he grabs every conservative vote from me."
If the conservative Brownlow’s 5 percent of the vote Tuesday had gone to Smith, the Republican would have won with 51 percent to Jeff Merkley’s 49 percent.
The media contest between Smith and Merkley was, in a word, disgusting.
Both deserved the minority backing they received. Brownlow, who spent virtually nothing on his campaign, undoubtedly pulled support from those fed up with the mud slinging and distortions.
The outcome makes me wonder what would have happened if John Frohnmayer had stayed in the race as an independent. Any credible, above-the-fray candidate — and Frohnmayer was certainly that — would have had a shot at winning.
Frohnmayer must be wondering the same thing.