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Sen. Thomsen avoids negative tactics by knocking on doors

Thomsen visits neighborhoods in Sandy, Gresham


In the sweltering summer heat on Tuesday, July 8, Sen. Chuck Thomsen toted a stack of election fliers and an orange flavored Gatorade while he hurried quickly through a Gresham neighborhood hoping to meet constituents and hand out his phone number.

“I usually run doors,” Thomsen said. “But not when it’s 90 degrees out.”

Thomsen, who is running for re-election to his District 26 seat in the state Senate, said he refuses to participate in negative campaigning and instead focuses most of his efforts on visiting with people in his district.

“I hate negative campaigning,” said Thomsen. “I refuse to go to that level.”

The Republican senator was challenged by his opponent, Robert Bruce, to return campaign money he received from insurance companies during the last election cycle. Bruce's challenge is meant to raise awareness of unfair treatment to the public by insurance companies. Thomsen is choosing to ignore the request.

Thomsen lives in Hood River, but spends time knocking doors in Sandy, Boring, Gresham, Happy Valley and the rural areas in between. Thomsen’s neighborhood excursions happen about four or five afternoons a week, spending about half their days in either Sandy or Gresham.

Knocking on an average of 100 doors a day, Thomsen has visited nearly 5,000 residences this year, about halfway through his 10,000 average for each election.

On the Tuesday afternoon, Thomsen and Swanson were joined in one neighborhood by a resident wanting to help out, a young girl about to go into the first grade.

A Girl Scout, she knew her way around door knocking and pointed out which houses bought cookies from her this year.

Thomsen even learned a few tricks on their route. Thomsen said at one door he was ready to move on, but was held back as the little girl explained that it may take time to get to the door.

“She was absolutely right,” he said.

Thomsen said that after she declared, “I wait longer than you!” the homeowner did indeed come to the door.

As Thomsen prefers to visit doors himself — “It’s important for me to meet the constituent,” he said — he leaves a flier and a handwritten note at the door if no one is home.

“You have to show them that if you want this job, you better work hard for it,” Thomsen said.

On the flier is Thomsen’s personal cell phone number, something that other campaigner’s say he is crazy to include. “That’s what we’re supposed to do,” Thomsen said. “Be available.”

After introducing himself at a door, Thomsen encourages constituents to call him if they have any concerns, questions or issues concerning the district.

Swanson and Thomsen said that this year their top issue has probably been Cover Oregon.