Writings and observations

First take

Lots of parsing going on with the comments of Ted Wheeler, the Oregon state treasurer whose decisions on office-seeking for next year will likely shape a good deal of Oregon politics. Before the John Kitzhaber implosion at the beginning of this year, Wheeler probably was the best single bet to become the next governor of Oregon, in 2018. Now, incumbent Kate Brown (back then still the secretary of state) seems well positioned to hold the office in 2016, and that gives Wheeler two main unappealing choices, both involving challenging an incumbent: Brown for governor, or Charlie Hales for mayor of Portland. Here’s where the tea leaves come in, and also the tenor of the Oregonian story about this, which puts some emphasis on how a number of Portland-area money are trying to persuade Wheeler to challenge Hales. Wheeler does have local political strength, remember, from his days when he was elected to and served on the Multnomah County Commission. So the betting seems to be running in the direction of mayor. Wheeler says he’ll announce a decision (which could include running for nothing next year) within a couple of weeks. Whichever way, Oregon politics 2016 will take a turn. (photo: Wheeler, standing between Sam Adams and Jeff Merkley.)

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