PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A millionaire former boyfriend who's now bankrolling ads against her opponent called the police last year on Monica Wehby, the leading Republican candidate in Oregon's U.S. Senate race, and accused her of stalking him as their relationship broke up.
Timber company executive Andrew Miller told a Portland police officer on April 4, 2013, that Wehby "had been 'harassing' his employees and 'stalking' him," according to a report the officer filed. Wehby is a pediatric neurosurgeon and the front-runner in next week's GOP primary. Miller is one of two donors to a super PAC attacking Wehby's rival, state Rep. Jason Conger.
Miller said Friday his description of Wehby's behavior was "excessively embellished." He said emotions were running high at the end of their relationship and he regrets calling police. "I made a mistake at a moment in time in terms of how I handled something, and I probably, in hindsight, wish I'd handled it a little differently," Miller said.
Wehby did not address the issue in a debate with Conger in Portland on Friday, and she ignored questions from reporters as she and her staff left out a side door. "A year ago I went through the process of concluding a relationship," Wehby said in a statement released by her campaign. "That relationship ended amicably, and while I'm not pleased that it has been deemed newsworthy, I guess that is the cost of challenging the political status quo."
Conger chided Wehby for refusing to answer questions, and said Republicans shouldn't nominate a candidate with controversy that can be exploited by Democrats. "I think it will create serious questions about her judgment in the minds of voters," Conger told reporters.
One in 5 registered Republicans has already returned their ballot in Oregon's mail-only election, which will temper any impact on the primary. Wehby has excited Republicans in Washington, who are impressed by her resume and are hopeful she can raise enough money to make her competitive against Democratic incumbent Jeff Merkley, despite Republicans' longstanding struggles to win statewide races in Oregon.
Authorities got involved when Miller called police to say Wehby wouldn't leave his house, according to the report. An officer spotted Wehby's Mercedes leaving Miller's neighborhood and pulled her over.
She told the officer she'd been in a relationship with Miller for two years but that something changed over the weekend and he'd stopped talking to her or returning her calls, according to the police report. She said she'd visited his house, and when he didn't answer, entered through an unlocked back door. The officer told her to go home and not to return to Miller's home unless she was invited.
The officer then called Miller, who said Wehby came to his home uninvited "about five times in the last 10 days," and the last several times he watched her knock on the doors and ring the doorbell repeatedly for about 10 minutes before leaving, according to the report. On the day he called police, he said he heard her enter the back door and go upstairs, so he used a different staircase to leave.
Miller, chief executive of Stimson Lumber, is a prolific donor to Republican candidates in Oregon. He gave $30,000 to a super PAC called "If He Votes Like That In Salem Imagine What He Will Do In Congress," which has attacked Conger in radio ads, mailers and billboards, saying he voted with Democrats on key issues important to Republicans.
Miller said he and Wehby remain friends but their relationship is over.