Writings and observations

Some of them, anyway. This is the first official day of campaign ’10 in Idaho, because it’s the first day candidates were allowed formally to file for office. (In Oregon, they’ve been doing it since last fall.) A good many of them did that on Day 1, but the deadline for filing isn’t until a week from Friday.

The names listed so far on the sheet released twice-daily by the secretary of state offers no big surprises so far. The biggest Day 1 splash was the filing by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred, and three others – Republican Rex Rammell, independent Jana Kemp and Libertarian Ted Dunlap – also filed for the office. But the incumbent, Republican C.L. “Butch” Otter, who generally is expected to run, hasn’t shown yet.

No U.S Senate candidates yet (Republican incumbent Mike Crapo hasn’t turned in yet), but both U.S. House incumbents have filed. And while no one is in yet for lieutenant governor or superintendent of public instruction (where both incumbent are expected to run), the incumbent secretary of state, controller, attorney general and treasurer all filed their papers, and all were unopposed (as of the end of day 1).

Nothing yet by way of judicial challenges, though a couple have been rumored.

If my count is right, 49 of the current 105 legislators have filed for re-election – close to half on day one, a strong showing. But (will this hold up?) only a few challenges, primary or general, materializing as yet.

More as it comes.

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Idaho

A sense of whiplash today, so soon after the sad and shocking news of Oregon Treasurer Ben Westlund‘s death yesterday: An immediate, hard, fast for a job no one had expected to be on the ballot this year: Oregon state treasurer.

There are two races right now, in fact: One for appointment to the position, which could happen very quickly, and the other for election to the (partisan) job. That second will play out from here to November, of course, but the participants will have very little time to decide whether to enter. While candidate filing has been open since last September in Oregon, it ends tomorrow. The space of about 48 hours, the office will have come open for election, and the field of candidates for it will be closed. A weird state of events. And the key participants will mostly be people who counted Westlund as a good friend, and really would rather not be contemplating all this just now.

There is also this to consider: When Governor Ted Kulongoski appoints a new treasurer, that person is likely to be given an inside track on election to the job. If, that is, that person is a candidate. No immediate word on a choice from the governor’s office, but the timing puts unusual pressure on his decisionmaking, since running for the office as an incumbent could be a huge advantage.

The first in was state Senator Rick Metsger, D-Welches, who ran for secretary of state in 2008 and is leaving his Senate seat this year (that is, not running for re-election to it). A strong, appealing candidate who came across pretty well in the sec-state race, said he’s running for the office whether appointed to it or not.

At Blue Oregon, Carla Axtman spins out several other prospects too, including Greg Macpherson, the former state representative from Lake Oswego, Senate Majority Leader Richard Devlin, activist (and 2008 Senate candidate) Steve Novick, and Multnomah County Commission Chair Ted Wheeler. Any could be solid candidates for the job. Macpherson and Novick have experience running statewide.

But that doesn’t necessarily exhaust the field. We picked up talk this afternoon about another prospect as well, a highly-regarded officeholder, said to have a strong shot at the governor’s appointment. Of course, many such rumors could be circulating at this point.

MIA so far: Serious prospects for treasurer on the Republican side. But there’s no doubt some scrambling to get that ballot line, for an open office, filled quickly.

All of it is happening quickly. Feels as if, too quickly.

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Oregon