Addressing an issue that has roiled Oregon’s U.S. Senate campaign, Republican candidate Monica Wehby accused the media of sensationalizing past episodes of domestic discord and said police reports filed on them should have remained private.
"If you read the reports, they are minor incidents that occur," Wehby told the Portland Oregonian in an interview Tuesday.
"I don't think any of us would like to see our personal relationships played out in the media," she said. "I think we have all had things happen that we prefer remain private and that there were never any charges filed, any legal actions taken."
Establishment Republicans rallied behind Wehby as a top-tier challenger to incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, a heavy favorite for reelection in deeply blue Oregon. Then, just before the May 20 primary, reports surfaced regarding a bitter divorce and difficult romantic breakup, resulting in Wehby’s ex-husband and former boyfriend both calling police and accusing her of harassment in three separate episodes over roughly six years.
Wehby won the GOP nomination despite the revelation, though her support appeared to fall off dramatically in the final days of the primary campaign.
She avoided reporters for several days before breaking her silence in the Oregonian interview. She declined, however, to discuss the details spelled out in Portland police reports.
“I think these are personal matters that have been put to rest by the fact that both of these guys are close friends of mine and very supportive of my candidacy," Wehby said. "I don't think any of us — man or woman — would like to answer out in the public square for things that we say to our spouses in the heat of an argument. I find this to be a despicable attack by Merkley and his band of bullies."
Merkley has repeatedly denied any involvement in the release of the police reports. “My campaign had nothing to do with it,” he told reporters, saying he would prefer a debate on issues.