Who says there aren’t any liberal Republicans anymore?

There’s always the Republican Liberty Caucus, a national organization founded in 1991 that calls itself, “The conscience of the Republican Party.”

Now Oregon has a chapter.

In one of its first formal actions, the new chapter recently sent a press release announcing its positions on the state ballot measures on the November general election ballot.

Some might think their positions sound more Libertarian than Republican, however. For example, the group strongly opposes Measure 77, which would allow the governor to suspend gas tax and other constitutional spending restrictions during a catastrophic disaster, saying it “inhibits freedom of travel.” The group also supports Measure 80, the marijuana legalization act, saying it “increases personal liberty.”

Hints about the RLC’s philosophy can be found on its website, which includes comments praising former Republican presidential contender U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.

MAX humor creeps up on county

Elected officials outside of Clackamas County have been largely silent about the citizen uprising that is trying to undo the county’s $20 million commitment to the coming Portland-to-Milwaukie light-rail line.

A number of comments during the Sept. 22 ceremony to open the Eastside Portland Streetcar Loop show it has not gone unnoticed, however.

During his speech, Metro President Tom Hughes noted that the project was helping to create hundreds of jobs building streetcars at United Streetcar in Clackamas County.

“I assume that’s one form of Portland Creep they’re not opposed to,” Hughes said, mocking claims by Measure 3-401 supporters that MAX will import housing density and gang-related crime.

The comment led Mayor Sam Adams to note that about 400 homes in Clackamas County are within the Portland city limits, “For now.” When the crowd laughed nervously, Adams said he was only kidding and claimed he got the joke from Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who was also on the stage.

State race is . . . Buehler? Buehler?

There’s a reason Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown’s re-election campaign is sounding increasingly desperate — her race against Republican Knute Buehler is getting increasingly competitive, as recently rated by Governing magazine.

In its analysis of races across the country, the national political digest said, “Democrats have had a lock on the office since 1984, but Buehler is making it a race, almost doubling Brown’s money haul. The challenge for Buehler is that he’ll be on his own: The GOP isn’t putting a serious effort into the presidential race or several statewide contests.”

In recent weeks, Brown has looked weak by unsuccessfully challenging Buehler to limit his campaign spending and warning her supporters that he is planning to conduct a negative campaign against her.

Governing magazine noted that the Democratic turnout for President Obama helped Brown win in 2008, something that could happen again this year.

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