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Posts published in May 2006

Quarter view

The state quarter design choices have been an intriguing proposition all around: How do you effectively summarize what your state is about in a simple, and small, image?

Washington quarter designIt's an imperfect thing, but the idiosyncrasy of it can be charming. Does Crater Lake really sum up Oregon? Well, no. But it's a pleasing design, and you could say that some of the things you can say about Crater Lake can be said - metaphorically - about the state.

And so maybe Washington's choice too, chosen by Governor Chris Gregoire and just released, with the salmon and Mount Rainier. Think in terms of metaphor, and some of the connections with the state;s life and society and economy and even politics can come a little clearer.

Is it Saxton?

The just-out Oregonian and KATU poll shows Ron Saxton in what looks like a decided first place, poised to win the Republican nomination for Oregon govenror in the election now underway. (Yes, under way, ballots already having hit home mailboxes and started making their way back to the counties).

Maybe he will. But call us a little uncertain just yet.

The poll, which gives Portland lawyer Saxton 31% of the vote (favorable or leaning toward), while 2002 nominee Kevin Mannix gets 24% and state Senator Jason Atkinson 18%. There's a 5.6% margin of error, which could render the race fairly close.

(There's a bigger gap on the Democratic side, with Ted Kulongoski predictably well ahead of Jim Hill and Pete Sorensen.)

So does that suggest a Saxton win in the making? Certainly, a win is quite possible; he's heavily outspending his opponents, his ads have been hard to miss on the tube, and he's been picking up plenty of endorsements, notably newspaper endorsements. But then, in 2002 he picked up 24 of 25 of those around the state, and still came in third.

The variable in the equation is: Who actually votes? Traditionally, the extreme and the party activists do, and that would help Mannix, out of proportion to his poll numbers. On the other hand, good headlines for Saxton during the voting period might shore up his numbers.

Don't assume a done deal.

Unlikely to soothe

Could be an easy thing for Senator Maria Cantwell to do. With a clear majority (55% or more in recent poll) among Americans in disapproving - now - of the nation's entry into Iraq and of its ongoing effort there, might be easy for minority senators like Maria Cantwell to "solidify the base", renounce the entry into the war and urge immiedate troop withdrawal.

She han't. Her statement Wednesday on Iraq doubtless was ment to soothe the distressed, but it gives little ground and seems unlikely to do so.

Idaho 1st: One take

Headed toward the finish line a three weeks hence, the six-way Republican race for the the House in Idaho's 1st district appears to continue fluid, its outcome not yet nailed down. The contours for the end game do at least start to take a more definite shape.

Sheila Sorensen billboardThe bottom line seems to be a probable win by either state Representative Bill Sali or former state Senator Sheila Sorensen 9with a small edge to the former). That's not a rule-out of other possibilities, just an expression of what seems now to be the likelihood.

That's based in part on the appearance of activity, the way the candidates have been responding to each other and what looks like the shifts in base that each candidate can call their own.

It isn't much based on the one bit of recently-released polling information - for reasons we're about to mention - though it does give some useful cause for reflection. (more…)