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Sports guys

Is there some reason longshot races in Washington and Oregon seem to be drawing the interest of pro sports figures, as Republican contenders? . . . Albeit two very different candidates.

Didier

Clint Didier

There’s the new report in Washington of – finally, very late in the cycle – a candidate against three-term Senator Patty Murray, not in the usual form of an experienced and established politician (as has usually been the case) but rather a farmer from Connell, and former Washington Redskin football player Clint Didier. He has an exploratory web site up.

According to news reports, he says he will have to have $300,000 by end of year for entry. He might get that; Republicans have to be scrambling to fill the ballot line. But he might have to be able to raise 50 times as much, in the nine months after that, to compete in the arena.

A few quick issues quotes: “I am in strong support of using a Constitutional Amendment to limit Congressional seats to twelve years total (two terms for the Senate and six terms for the House). . . . Health insurance companies should be able to offer their services nationwide. That competition would create a climate that would allow for the offering of better services and premiums while encouraging cost reductions through private industry solutions. . . The Federal Government has reached far beyond its original authority as granted by our Constitution.”

His exploratory web site makes it clear: He seems prepped to appeal to the red meat crowd on the right, but probably not much of the rest. (He could probably run well on his current message east of the Cascades, but . . .)

Dudley

Chris Dudley

In Oregon former Portland Trail Blazer Chris Dudley continues to move ahead. Since a batch of articles a month ago about his prospective candidacy for governor, word we’ve heard is odds of his entry continue to grow. H has been active in sports and non-profit activities in Oregon since, and sports fans recall his name.

Dudley also has an exploratory web site up, but from it he seems a far stretch from Didier – not a red meat kind of guy. You get a sense from the statement on it: “Right now, too many Oregonians have been without work for far too long. And without jobs, families are hit hard and schools and other important services suffer. In order to change this, Oregon needs new ideas and new leadership. By opening the Friends of Chris Dudley committee, I’ve taken the first necessary step toward determining how I can help, whether running for Governor or some other way.”

You get the sense of someone not inclined to throw ideological bombs. And there’s some word out too that he may not be, on a number of fronts, especially conservative, which would be an immediate issue for a lot of Republican primary voters.

Two sports figures as candidates in top races next year? Both probably would be reliant on a big trend toward outsiders and newcomers (of which we did see indications last week). But hopes for success for these two would be reliant on very different kinds of currents.

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One Comment

  1. torridjoe torridjoe November 10, 2009

    I think the GOP seems to rely on it more, but I think the idea is that former sports stars a) have an immediate Q rating that others may have to build with money rather than earned media, abd b) are typically going to be likeable stars who have brought positive feelings through their accomplishments. The former Seahawk WR Steve Largent is an excellent example, being not only a beloved longtime Hawk, but also one of the best WR of all time.

    It doesn’t have to be players, either–Tom Osborne is as close to a deity as you can get in Nebraska, by being coach of the Huskers. Mike Ditka was considered in Illinois for a time to run against Obama, if I recall right.

    …which brings me to my third point, which is that c) you most often see them when that party’s bench is especially thin. I can’t speak for Washington, but with Jason Atkinson likely out and Allen Alley not exactly inspiring GOP cartwheels, Dudley has a much better chance of making it to the general.

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