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What will it take?

The polling, for whatever it may be worth, in the Oregon gubernatorial race has shown a close contest between Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican Chris Dudley. If that feels a little suspect, and it does, part of the reason is the regional breakdown: We’re seeing Dudley getting competitive poll numbers, in the 40-percent range and above, in places like Multnomah County – which has been super-solid Democratic – and Lane County – which has been landslide territory for Democrats too. (Multnomah results in 2008 for Barack Obama 76.7%, 2008 for Jeff Merkley 68.9%, in 2006 for Ted Kulongoski 68.4%.)

A massive sea change making Multnomah somewhere near competitive isn’t beyond imaging, but has to seem unlikely.

That’s part of the backdrop for an Oregon Catalyst post called, “Can a Republican win in Oregon?” The end of the post asks two questions, one on whether – in the opinion of commenters on the Republican-oriented site – Dudley’s campaign has been substantive enough, and the other: “What’s it going to take to get the votes needed in Lane County and Multnomah County?”

The discussion following is well worth the review.

One commenter: “72% of the registered voters in Lane and Multnomah Counties are Democrat. Dudley must surely know his message must resonate here but I’ve heard nothing that’s likely to swing these counties his way. I’m not even sure what the message to blue counties should be. I don’t think fiscal prudence alone is going to cut it. Emphasis on jobs may work if the unemployment rate is high enough. Specificity and believability of any message will be critical.”

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