Thursday, January 17, 2008

I support Matt Wingard

You probably read about it on the blogs today, and it will be in the newspapers tomorrow: Matt Wingard, Republican candidate for House District 26 (Wilsonville) pled guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in 2001 for striking his son on the top of the head.

I know Matt very well. He ran my campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2001-02, which was when the charges were filed. So I lived through it with him at the time. Before I hired him, he told me what happened and what he was going through legally.

I hired him, and we basically spent 80% of our waking moments with each other for the next nine months. You get the full measure of a man when you spend that kind of time with him in the pressure cooker of a statewide campaign.

The charges filed against him were, in my view, pretty badly trumped up. Yes, he struck his boy on the head. Hard enough to raise a lump. A single moment of frustration, he reacted wrongly and made a mistake.

Our legal system is all-too-ready to take something like this and put a guy through a several year nightmare. In my opinion it didn't come close to rising to the level of anything criminal. But yes, he struck his son. So yes, technically, I guess that is assault.

Matt could have fought the case rather than plead guilty, but he did not have the $20-30,000 his lawyers told him it would cost, and he would have had to have his then seven year old son testify, and be dragged through the trial process. So he pled it out.

So that is it.

I know the other side will make all sorts of hay out of this; there's nothing that can be done about that. But I want readers of this blog to know the full scope and scale of what happened, from the one person who was perhaps closest to him at the time he was going through it.

I am VERY disappointed in the Republican House leadership that they have decided to abandon Matt because of this. I will stand by Matt, whatever he decides to do.

He's still going to run for the House seat, and I will help. I will join the many others: Rep. Jerry Krummel, Rep. Kim Thatcher, Russ Walker, and others - people who know Matt well and have worked with him over the years, who support him and will see to it that he is elected because he is exactly the type of person we want in the Oregon House of Representatives.

I hope Bruce Hanna will reconsider. But if he doesn't - if what the Oregonian reported turns out to be true, that they will run someone against Matt in the primary - well, then I will help Matt beat whoever it is. And I know he'll have plenty of others supporting and helping him as well.

I don't relish or seek out political battles against Republican leadership, but it seems to happen almost every session. I've been involved with several. The House leadership was very angry when we helped Kim Thatcher beat Vic Backlund in the Keizer-area House seat. But it was the right thing to do, and Kim Thatcher is a fabulous legislator - far, far superior to Backlund.

The Senate leadership was apoplectic when Larry George ran against Charles Starr. I supported Larry, helped raise funds, even though I have great respect for Charles Starr, and do to this day. But his time was up. Again, we won. And Larry is an incredibly talented legislator.

So we have some experience with taking on our own caucus leadership when necessary and winning. I am quite confident that it will be no different with Matt.

Matt will run, the leadership will slate another candidate, raise the funds, run the campaign, and we will win. And all will be right with the world. We'll still be friends with Bruce Hanna and the rest of the House Caucus, and Matt will be a productive and teamwork oriented caucus member. And we will have yet another terrific legislator, far better than the candidate the leadership runs, and the Republican party will be stronger and better for it, despite the best efforts of leadership.

I wish it didn't have to be this way, but we did not pick this fight. But we will win it!

I support Matt Wingard.


Tom said...

Good for you, Rob.

Anonymous said...

Did this occur during a divorce (as alluded to on Blue Oregon)?

Who "trumped up" the charges?

Does he have a good relationship with his child today?

verasoie said...

Awesome, Rob. And I support you supporting Wingard because nothing is more entertaining than internecine Republican fighting, especially when it means that your candidate is going to get smoked in the general, or at the very least, bleed your caucus in the process!

Three cheers for true Republican family values being showcased for all to see!

RINO WATCH said...

For what it's worth I also support Matt.

Leadership was mad at me for supporting Tom Cox against Mary Gallegos in '04 but it was the right thing to do.

They,leadership, should be spending their time & funds on defeating the likes of Chuck Riley & Davey Edwards!

Genuine GOP said...

It's not even close to being enough to just make sure Matt wins.

Bruce Hanna must go.

Anonymous said...

This is another good example of why a lot of capable, well intentioned people choose not to run, or not to run again.

In 2006, I wasn't considered a serious contender, hence no one was digging through my laundry. A future race would probably be a different story and right now I am not interested in going through it.

The politics of personal destruction... ain't it great.

Dave Lister

thanks for context said...

Thanks for the perspective. How did the case end up in the courts at all?

"Hard enough to raise a lump" on the top of the head? Hmmm. Not an open hand blow, probably not even a fist, a lump on the top of the head is hard to raise & takes something hard. Was there an object involved?

He got the conviction expunged -- possibly that means he took some remedial or preventive action about his own behavior, to forestall similar "mistakes", for which he deserves credit?

Anonymous said...

When my father misbehaved my grandmother sent him into the woods to cut the willow switch with which he would be punished. This was a common practice among the parents of the "greatest generation."

Unfortunately this "greatest generation" applied the principles of Dr. Spock to their own children and produced the "worst generation," many of whom raised their kids in a punishment free environment, giving us the current crop of lazy, immature, selfish, needy a-holes.

Pat Ryan said...

Couldn't agree with you more Rob. If you don't physically abuse your children occasionally.....say in moments of frustration, how will you ever indoctrinate them into the Republican Authoritarian Club, where unquestioning and blind obedience to the current Glorious Leader is the greatest moral value.

I got my share of "measured corporal punishment" along with the occsional serious beating....probably brought on by those "moments of frustration", and you know what, at age 56 I won't parrot the standard line of "I turned out OK."

It wasn't OK. It's never OK.

Rob Kremer said...


I'll ignore your nonsensical first paragraph. It speaks loudly about you.

But -
Is someone saying "it's OK?"

Matt made a mistake, and he didn't just own up to it, he went through the entire process to get it expunged.

And there is quite a difference between the "occasional serious beating" that you say your father gave to you, and a one-time bop on the head, which was never repeated in the following 7 years.

Nancy said...

Pat Ryan,
The ONE time accidently excessive tap on the head is now occasionally abusing your own child?
How blue of you.

The incident was no different than had your father only hit you ONCE with a belt, missed your shorts hitting your bare leg, and leaving a red mark. A mark that divorce difficulties turn into more than it was.
But perhaps you are mischaracterizing this because those "occasional serious beatings you got made turn out NOT so OK?

Anonymous said...

My question is how can we ever excuse someone for striking their child out of frustration EVER? It's never excuseable, NEVER. By voting for the guy, you let it slide. It's not water under the bridge.

Even if he has since reconciled, it doesn't erase the past, and it's in everyone's best interest (most notably all REPUBLICANS' best interest) to find a candidate who doesn't lash out irrationally at a helpless 7 year old kid.

If this is the kind of garbage candidate republicans choose to support, our party is in serious trouble. There's a reason convicted physical abuse against children is like kryptonite to's WRONG. Don't talk to me about how he's changed or how he's really a great guy...that's the same logic battered women use to excuse their boyfriends from beating on them.

Quite frankly, I don't care if the guy has since gone above and beyond to patch things up, as it appears he has. The old saying "you reap what you sew" should apply here.

I hope he gets trounced in a primary, and I suspect that he will.

Marilyn said...

"how can we ever excuse someone for striking their child out of frustration EVER?

What are you talking about?

What do you consider striking?
Out of frustration?
You mean frustration over misbehaving and applying a swat on the behind?

"It's never excuseable"?

436 your imagination is running away with you. Matt didn't punch his kid.
And so voting for the guy, is not letting slide what you have imagined.

Your further casting it as
lashing out irrationally at a helpless 7 year old kid is just more imagination.

He's not a garbage candidate and your comparisons are ludicrous.

There was no battery.
So no need for an excuse like women use.
He didn't sow and needs no reaping.

You are misrepresenting the incident and Matt.

He is precisely the kind of candidate we need running.
Despite your effort ot taint him.

Ken Langseth said...

I see hypocrites have finally made it onto this blog. No, I'm not talking about the host, Mr. Kremer. I'm talking about people like Pat Ryan, who at 56 do not understand a single thing about parenting. I'm also talking about the woman 2 posts up from this one who is feigning indignance about this.

Why do I call them hypocrites? Simple. They are willing to support Democrat candidates who rape (Bill Clinton), steal (William Jefferson), murder (Hillary Clinton), and do all sorts of things (Kelley Wirth). Yet, when a Republican goes through the counseling and the necessary motions to turn his life around, they feign indignance.

Frankly, because of them, I now support Mr. Wingard. Because I know that they are not the arbiters of my life, my parenting.

My kids are 35, 32, and 28, respectively. They all dealt with corporal punishment. They are all perfectly fine, and are happily raising families of their own. People who tell me that corporal punishment is wrong, they need to look at MY kids and see how right it is, then go back home and cry into their pillows about how wrong they are.

So, Pat Ryan, anonymous woman two posts up, go to hell and fry in your own lying pit of dog slime.

Marilyn said...

"lying pit of dog slime"
That's exactly what they are dishing out. Deliberately and knowingly distorting the relatively insignificant and meaningless incident.

It's amazing really. They're equating this with everything horrid they can dream up.

But their efforts to damage a stellar candidate will fail miserabley.

There is no there there, no battery, no occassional child abuse and nothing to outrage over.

And this is not an ocassion where we need to be lectured that "physical abuse against children is WRONG".

As if anyone forgot that.

Mr. Wingrad has always known that as well. Evidenced by his concience avoidance of ever comitting any. The incident of this expunged record involved a single, slighty excessive, yet completely unintentional, attention getting tap which left a small bump.
Without the difficult, adversarial circumctances of divorce and child custody,(which unfortunately these days far too many people are too familliar with) nothing would have ever been made of it.

Comparing this story to
"the same logic battered women use to excuse their boyfriends from beating on them" is more of an offense than the incident itself.

No beating ever took place and NO ONE ever excused anything.

Anyone imagining or deliberately fabricating other vesions and severity are entirely out of line or unethical.

Stacey said...

I'm sorry Rob but as the parent of four children (ranging in age from 11 to 23) I can't once remember ever hitting a child so hard as to cause a lump/welt on their head. A grown man who hits a seven year old child hard enough to cause marks/lumps isn't the kind of guy I want in elected office representing me.

I think the Republican leadership is acting correctly and standing up for what is right despite what Matt's political cronies may think. They also have a duty to make sure the seat stays in Republican hands, something that is going to be very unlikely with Matt as the nominee. Real men don't beat children!

Rob Kremer said...

It is certainly your perogative to be of the opinion that this disqualifies Matt for elected office.

But I beleive in the power of redemption. Matt made a mistake, in a solitary moment that has never been repeated. He paid a huge price, and has fully taken responsiblity for it.

I think this experience, as painful as it has been for everyone involved, will make Matt a better legislator.

Barbara said...

Nice story telling Stacey.

This is trumpt up.

I don't believe Stacey and some others are legitimate.

I mean come on,

"as a parent of four children" ??


" Real men don't beat children!"

What? Is this suppose to establish that knwo how to detect a beating?

Was there a beating? No.

I have children. What does that tell you?

Maybe it is you who have beaten your children Stacy and you are feeling guilty.

See how easy that is.

Anonymous said...

How about some insight from a child?
Although I don't know the particulars of this "bump on the head" circumstance, and I'm a mere nineteen-year-old, I can attest:
I was spanked frequently, as needed until an age where I would have died of embarrassment had my friends known, my parents were not afraid to smack me with a wooden spoon when I was in the wrong.
I still live at home, have an excellent reationship with my parents, and if anyone ever comes after my parents for spanking me or my siblings, I will defend my parents. Why? (for those who could never understand it)
The neighbor kids and their families mentally abused eachother with their yelling, name-calling, "time-outs", leaving, kicking-out and every other ineffective corrective measure.
Their kids are now doped up & roaming the streets. My parents kids healed of a couple well-meaning, well-deserved handprints on the rump. The list of things I've never dared repeat or try would streach for miles!
Thanks Mom & Dad!
I dunno, the seven-year-old might be better for the bump!

Anonymous said...

One more point I forgot to make-

My nefew knew how to fake a cry for attention when he was two weeks old:

Children aren't as dumb and innocent as Dr. Spock would have you believe! Did anyone think to ask what Matt's kid did first?

- the nineteen-year-old