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Posts published in “Day: April 6, 2006”

Oregon’s special session

The timing is notable. This evening, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski was headed into his first debate with his two Democratic opponents in this year's primary election.

A few hours before that, he said he was calling the Oregon legislature into special session, effective April 20.

The timing of the one couldn't have had anything to do with the other, could it? After all, the call abruptly became the topic du jour once he did it - affecting the content and twist of the debate.

Regardless, the call had merit. People fromboth parties were calling for it. The subject matter listed in his call was certainly weighty enough:

The legislature should limit its attention to two critical issues facing the state of Oregon:

The need to rebalance the budget of the Department of Human Services, and address revenue shortfalls caused by the loss of anticipated federal dollars and higher-than-anticipated caseloads; and
The need to provide additional funding support to Oregon’s public schools.

"I want to emphasize that I am committed to an efficient and productive special session. Discussions with legislative leadership and individual members have gone well. I believe if we work together we can accomplish our task in one or two days.

Those legislators with primary contests ahead no doubt hope so too.

Collisions, maybe

The approach the Washington Republican Party is using to determine who can and can't run as a Republican makes sense from a number of angles: encouraging candidates to worh with and be part of the party strcture, to set them up as a relatively unified group, and to have the people who are active in the party have a role in who will be their standard bearers on the ballot.

But it also requires that everything fall into place just right, and therein lies the problem - if it doesn't, lawsuits and political chaos could result.

The situation is outlined in the Vancouver Columbian, home of one of the spots in Washington where all this may matter most, since Clark County is a politically competitive place, and fast-growing besides.

The Washington Republican Party has put in place a rule placing an added requirement for some candidates who want to run as Republicans. The Columbian described it: "Under new rules adopted by the state GOP, all candidates for legislative and partisan state and local offices who are not incumbents must win the support of at least 25 percent of voting delegates in the districts they seek to represent if they want to run as Republicans in the September primary."

As noted, there are organizational benefits to this approach - it is not irrational or unreasonable. But there is a problem. (more…)