Writings and observations

Who’s the strongest?

A comment worth revisiting in the Oregonian about the next Oregon 5th district U.S. House race, now that district lines are settled, on the subject of a Republican challenge to Democratic Representative Kurt Schrader.

The 5th, which includes the Oregon City-Salem area and a piece of the central coast, has been and is the most competitive of Oregon’s five districts – one (the 2nd) is very strongly Republican and the other three are definably Democratic. The closest call of those three, the 4th, just got more Democratic in the new reapportionment. And the 5th probably just got a shade more Republican.

Last year, Schrader got a challenge from possibly the strongest candidate Republicans could have pitted against him – then-state Representative Scott Bruun, a well-skilled and experienced candidate conservative enough to win party loyalty but with enough moderate leanings to make him a reasonable fit for the district. It looked like a close race, and it was the closest of the five, but still not a nail-biter even in a strong Republican year – with Schrader winning 51.3%-46%.

So, next time? Bruun evidently was asked about the idea of a rematch, and he appeared to demur, saying that he wasn’t the strongest prospective challenger. That, he said, would be Chris Dudley.

Dudley is the former pro basketball player who came close to beating Democrat John Kitzhaber for governor last year. As Blue Oregon points out, Dudley won the 5th district’s voters in his race.

But Dudley too apparently is taking a pass – and wisely so, we’d think. In 2010 he was a fresh face riding a tide that was heavily rewarding non-governmental fresh faces. He had the best set of advantages he could have, and he came close but didn’t quite cross the line.

So the question: Who can, or will?

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