Lew Frederick, who is running for new state senator Chip Shields' vacant house seat, says he is "astonished" by remarks made to the Mercury this afternoon by Oregonian editorial page editor Bob Caldwell, justifying the paper's endorsement of Karol Collymore for Shields' vacant house seat without even calling Frederick, first.
"Caldwell and I have known each other for years," says Frederick. "I'm absolutely shocked that that came from Bob because we do know each other. Maybe he's decided I'm simply not valid for whatever reason, but I'm still surprised they didn't even call. There's a basic level of courtesy there that one would expect."
Caldwell initially told the Mercury that his editorial page writers had not mentioned Frederick because Frederick had been eliminated from the race for the senate, this afternoon. "But I have never run for the senate," says Frederick. When questioned on this, Caldwell stuck to the editorial page's guns, saying he still wanted Collymore for the house seat, and that Frederick is a "known quantity," which is why he never got a phone call.
"But this sounds like somebody becoming defensive because they got caught on bad facts," says Frederick.
Frederick was beaten by Jeff Cogen in the race for Multnomah County Commission by only 4000 votes. "I was also outspent four to one," says Frederick. "The fact is I have been very involved with the party and I think I am a credible candidate."
The Oregonian "knew I was running for the house seat, not the senate seat," says Frederick, "because their reporter actually asked someone. Now, whether the editorial writers thought to ask the reporter, I don't know, but my candidacy was in the Mercury, the Tribune, the Sentinel, so for me it's the Oregonian's way of saying 'we're not really interested'."
Frederick says he feels the Oregonian "developed this meme, which was that they needed an African American woman to run for something, but the fact is, we've not had a black male in the state legislature since 1998, or a black person in the city or county offices since 1992," he says.
"What's going on there, I really don't know," Frederick continues. "Something I'm really concerned about is that one of the responses in the past has been an immediate attack on whoever has brought it up. I'm sure the Oregonian can find someone who doesn't like me to say so. But that's a fear that a lot of black men in Portland have, frankly, is the attack by the Oregonian on anybody who sticks his head out."
"I've been dismissed by the Oregonian in a number of other ways over the years," says Frederick.