Monica Wehby's Support Fell Among GOP Voters Who Cast Ballots After Stalking Report

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ASSOCIATED PRESS
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Although Republican Monica Wehby was able to survive last-minute reports that she had stalked an ex-boyfriend and harassed her ex-husband, the allegations may follow her into the general election and hurt her chances against Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

According to a report by The Oregonian, Republicans who cast ballots in the Senate primary Tuesday after news about the stalking incident came out were less likely to back Wehby.

Oregon is a vote-by-mail state, meaning that every voter gets a ballot that they then need to turn in before 8 p.m. on Election Day. As many as half of Republican voters cast their ballots after the stalking revelations came out Friday morning, according to the Oregon Secretary of State's office. More details from The Oregonian:

Elections workers count ballots by starting with those cast first and working forward, so it's possible to get a sense of how voter behavior changed in the last days of the voting period. Unlike in almost all states, Oregon voters receive a mailed ballot and have just over two weeks to return them.

Among the ballots counted by 8:57 p.m. Tuesday, Wehby led Conger, 53.5 percent to 33.9 percent. Three other candidates split the remaining vote.

By 11:32 a.m. Wednesday -- when the Oregon secretary of state's office reported the latest update -- Wehby led 50.2 percent to 37.4 percent for Conger.

That may not seem like much. But between those two updates, about 90,000 more ballots were counted. And Wehby's lead in those votes was only about 1 percentage point.

All told, those 90,000 votes accounted for about 36 percent of the Republican ballots counted so far, so they appear to be those cast in the last days of the election.

In recent weeks, Wehby's relationship with lumber baron Andrew Miller has garnered national headlines. The state Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that a super PAC funded by Miller -- who was once romantically involved with the candidate -- is illegally coordinating with Wehby's campaign. On Friday morning, Politico reported that last year, Miller filed a police report accusing Wehby of stalking him. Miller has since said he regretted calling the police on Wehby.

On Monday, the day before the primary election, The Oregonian reported that Wehby's ex-husband "accused her of 'ongoing harassment' as they were going through a divorce in December 2007 and also called the police on her in December 2009 over a dispute about seeing their children."

Ultimately, however, the revelations came out too late to deny Wehby a victory against state Sen. Jason Conger (R), who was at a significant financial disadvantage during the campaign.

On Wednesday, Wehby went after Democrats for airing the old police reports in an interview with conservative radio host Lars Larson.

"For the Democrats to be willing to try to shred my family and drag my kids and my friends through this again, you know, just for their own political gain," she said. "How can they sleep at night doing this? Do they not realize what this does to kids?"

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