News reports now have it that Ben Westlund, just recently declared as an independent, is joining the race for governor.
Assuming he meets the statutory requirements for doing so – and that looks likely – he will make the general election a good deal more interesting.
Primary effects? Probably little to none on the Democratic side, since incumbent Ted Kulongoski is almost certainly to easily win that. On the Republican side, he could prospectively strengthen the hands of Kevin Mannix and Jason Atkinson against Ron Saxton. The latter has the reputation of being the “moderate” in the race; the argument could run that with Westlund in, a Republican would have to run stronger to the right in the general to wind up winning. But this sort of thing can and will be spun in all directions.
And Westlund’s chances? For one thing, he’s late in, and has to organize everything, and raise money, from scratch – a horribly tough proposition. For another, as matters sit, the numbers for neither Kulongoski nor any of the probable Republican nominees are so bad as to open a logical large chunk of the vote. Put another way: From where is Westlund going to collect the 35%-plus of the vote he would need to prevail? Until a satisfactory answer to that question emerges, he looks to be more an interesting factor in the race than a probable winner.
But keep watch. The dynamic hasn’t finished settling yet.Share on Facebook