News & Election Videos

August 18, 2008

Erickson's credibility problem

When we last heard from Oregon businessman and GOP Congressional nominee Mike Erickson, he was facing allegations that he paid for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion and then lied about it to the press.

Now it appears that Erickson is fibbing about a trip he took to Cuba in 2004, which he portrays in his campaign materials as a humanitarian mission. In reality, the trip was a vacation replete with drinking, fine dining, time at the famed Tropicana nightclub, a cigar factory tour, and cock fighting.

And the Oregonian newspaper found some serious holes in Erickson’s story that he delivered medical supplies to a Cuban relief agency during his trip.

The Oregonian has the full must-read story about Erickson’s vacation, which the itinerary referred to as "Comandante Fidel Castro's Annual Gala Cigar Dinner and Auction.”

The money grafs:

The package Erickson booked included a round-trip flight from Cancun, five nights at the Hotel Nacional and dinners at some of Havana's best restaurants.

Erickson and his group were offered several recreational options: marlin fishing, golf, "world-class baseball games," dove hunting, attending a cockfight or an evening at the famed Tropicana nightclub.

Erickson said he went to restaurants but not nightclubs. One man on the tour, however, said he and Erickson shared a table at the Tropicana, a place he described as "a Ricky Ricardo-style nightclub with showgirls."

When asked specifically about the Tropicana, Erickson recalled having dinner there with other "humanitarians," said Jeff Harvey, his campaign manager.

Erickson is running against Democratic state senator Kurt Schrader to succeed retiring Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.) – and has already spent well over $1 million of his own money on the campaign so far. But this latest development suggests that, no matter how much money he spends, he’ll have an extremely difficult task winning the seat.