Seems as though the commonly-received wisdom in a bunch of quarters around Oregon is that in the Republican gubernatorial primary, former basketball player Chris Dudley will beat businessman Allen Alley, and the other candidates will be minor factors.
Maybe so. This space isn't up for bucking what seems like the consensus view: Speculation here remains that Dudley will win the nod . . . and yet . . .
Dudley's appeal is in large part simply that of an outsider celebrity. He comes cross as smart but not well educated in the wonky details of substance and process of Oregon government. (Could he give a good answer if asked simply, what is it that the governor does?) His support feels mostly like a calculation, this cycle's algebraic result for the Republican puzzler of how to win the governorship. In the end, how many votes will that bring? Enough? Maybe; but does anyone really know?
Does anyone really know, either, what kind of number legally-troubled Bill Sizemore may get? Not only may he be the best-known name in the race, but he also has the strongest claim to straight-line conservative voters, who are dominant in the Republican Party. No, we don't expect him to win. But might he break into double diget percentages? Maybe. And if he does, what might that do to Dudley-Alley? Does anyone have any idea?
Alley, on the other hand, has campaigned much longer and harder and has delivered a lot more meaty substance. He is even a better public speaker, and his personal presence may be better on every ground other than sheer physical height. A lot of the key endorsements have gone to him, including most of the media endorsements (with the main big exception of the Oregonian).
And he keeps winning straw poll-type events. Yes, they're often self-selecting and statistically they don't mean a lot, but they do add up. Today, as the ballots start to come back in, the Portland Business Journal is conducting a (self-selecting) online poll of its readers on the Republican gubernatorial candidates. With 2,095 votes in, Alley was ahead at 51%, Dudley at 30%, John Lim at 6% and Sizemore at 3%.
Lessons of some sort stand to be learned out this primary. As to what they may be . . .