Writings and observations

Reviewing the conventional wisdom

At least it feels as if there’s safety in numbers. The Oregon Punditology survey – predictions by watchers of politics around the state, done for fun and bragging rights – for the primary election just filed in yesterday, and today the numbers are in. This is worth some little attention because it constitutes the closest thing anyone will have to a comprehensive survey of what is the “conventional wisdom” about what will happen.

A blog post with many of the details is up at Blue Oregon. Your scribe was among the participants, and in all but a few cases sided with the majority (or plurality). Read the BO post; comments on it follow below.

The governor’s race bifurcates: The Democratic primary has the look of a slam dunk for John Kitzhaber, while the Republican is a little more uneasy. I was with the majority marking down a Chris Dudley win but by less than a landslide, and with the majority figuring Bill Sizemore will not hit a double digit percentage. The odds seem to favor both results. But Sizemore could still surprise with a Republican base searching for a straight-conservative contender; you can make a reasonable argument for him passing 10%. And the reaction of voters, Republican voters, in large numbers to either Dudley or Allen Alley remains as much guesswork as anything else. This race will be a true object of scrutiny.

Almost everyone figures primary wins by incumbent Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Representative David Wu (other major incumbents didn’t have a strong enough opponent to merit the survey question), and primary wins by Rob Cornilles, Art Robinson and Scott Bruun. I was with the majority on all, the only one giving me pause being Bruun’s contest with the insurgent (sort of Tea Party) candidate Fred Thompson (not the former presidential candidate, although who knows how many voters may be confused?); if the activists on the right are strong enough, Thompson might have a shot. If that upset happens, expect a lot of chatter about it on Wednesday.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo was an overwhelming expectation for re-election, but this is a race that merits some thought. In this nonpartisan contest, Castillo (who has served in the legislature as a Democrat) was running against Ron Maurer, currently a Republican legislator. This is a place where, as matters stood a while back, a Republican seemed to have a solid statewide shot. No party labels will appear on the ballot. Maurer picked up considerable support during his campaign, including a bunch of newspaper editorial endorsements. And Castillo has had some bad headlines. I’d have taken a flyer on Maurer winning this race but for what has seemed like a barely-visible campaign. Without that, the default goes to the incumbent.

Well, maybe. We’ll all know soon enough how solid the conventional wisdom really is.

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