Like father, like son: 'We're out to replace him'

Like father, like son: 'We're out to replace him' »Play Video
Matthew Robinson (left) filed to run against Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, for the Democratic nomination for Congress. Robinson's father, Art (at right), lost to DeFazio in 2010 and is again seeking the GOP nomination.

EUGENE, Ore. - Voters caught a glimpse of Matthew Robinson in TV ads 2 years ago when his father Art ran as the Republican nominee for Congress against Rep. Peter DeFazio, a 13-term Democrat from Springfield.

Now voters in Oregon's 4th District will see more of Robinson - both Art and Matthew.

In the run up to the May primary, Art Robinson intends to again seek the GOP nomination for Congress.

Matthew Robinson wants to run, too - as a Democrat. He changed his voter registration from Republican to Democrat last August and filed to run against DeFazio in the May primary.

The 24-year-old nuclear engineering graduate student at Oregon State University's birthday is in June, so he'll be old enough to meet the Constitutional age requirement.

"I decided that DeFazio needed some competition in the primary, so I decided to run against him," Robinson told KVAL News.

Part of the reason, he said, is personal.

The younger Robinson accuses DeFazio of making false statements about his dad in the 2010 general election campaign.

"He called our family farm a survivalist compound on national TV," he said, "and it's a sheep farm."

KVAL News contacted Rep. DeFazio for comment but had not heard back as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Steve Candee, who teaches political science at Lane Community College, said he can't recall a scenario like this one in the history of Oregon electoral politics.

"You have to sort of look at it as, hmm, this is a political strategy designed to ultimately help his father. That would be my take," Candee said.

He said cross-over voting could be part of the Robinson strategy: Republicans might re-register as Democrats this spring to vote for the younger Robinson.

"It's an attempt to try to unseat a popular incumbent," Candee said.

KVAL News asked Robinson about he and his father's attempt to doubleteam DeFazio.

"We're out to replace him," he said, "and this is a fine chance to replace him in the primary."