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Alley’s space

Allen Alley

Allen Alley

The initial up-front question, in looking at businessman Allen Alley‘s entry into the 2010 Oregon gubernatorial field, is – how does he expect to win the Republican primary?

It wasn’t hard when he ran last year for state treasurer; he was the only Republican who filed for the job. In the general, he did respectably (45.2% to Democrat Ben Westlund‘s 51.1%), but one reason was that his campaign ramped up unexpectedly at the end, taking the Democrats by somewhat by surprise. Nothing wrong with that strategy, but it likely wouldn’t do as well in a higher profile governor’s race. Alley did, as well, come across as an energetic candidate.

The primary issue comes up because Alley doesn’t seem to have a large, easily definable constituency within the Republican voting base, or a really strong organization. It’s hard to imagine him staying in the race should former Senator Gordon Smith or Representative Greg Walden enter (as we’re guessing they won’t, but which they could). The best guess here for a Republican gubernatorial nominee next year – assuming he runs – would be state Senator Jason Atkinson, who has a strong and enthusiastic support base, and has developed very strong campaign skills; he may have been the best natural campaigner for the governorship in 2006 in Oregon.

But who knows, yet, who will or won’t enter – on either side? Alley’s entry is demonstration of just that unpredictability.

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