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Posts published in September 2015

GOP and IPO tickets

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The GOP’s state office dry spell makes this summers weather look like a monsoon. Nonetheless, the GOP is still considered the opposition party in Oregon. Even though it hasn’t put up much opposition in statewide races in the last 10 years. In fact, it’s been 30 years since there has been a Republican Governor.

But could the Democratic favorites be challenged in statewide races this year? Possibly, but it may not be the GOP that presents the Democrats biggest challenges.

For Governor, the only GOP candidates who have announced an intent to run for State offices are Dr. Bud Pierce a medical doctor who has never held elective office who has announced for Governor. And Jeffrey Gudman, a Lake Oswego city councilor who announced his interest for the office of State Treasurer and has started raising money(though less than $10,000 so far).

No Republican has announced their candidacies for Secretary of State or Attorney General. And, given the last several election cycles, serious GOP candidates may be hard to come by given the dominance of the Democratic Party.

Meanwhile rumor has it that Sen. Betsy Johnson (For Governor) and Bend City Council person/ former State Senator/CPA / Lottery Commissioner Chris Telfer (For Treasurer) could end up at the top of the ticket for the new major Party – Independent Party of Oregon. A moderate experienced current State Democratic Senator and a moderate experienced former Republican State Senator is an impressive ticket.

Ms. Telfer has already registered as an IPO member so doesn’t have to announce her candidacy until March, 2016. However, Sen. Johnson is (as far as I know) still a registered Democrat. She would have to register with the IPO by September 10th to be eligible for the IPO nomination so she needs to make a decision in the next two weeks. If she does re-register as an Independent it would be a pretty good indication that she is going to seek the IPO nod for Governor. Though she could re-register but not announce her intent until later. But de-registering from the Democratic Party is a serious matter. You don’t leave fight club.

Another possible sign that Sen. Johnson is going to run as an Independent would be Ms. Telfer’s announcement of her candidacy for Treasurer. Having Johnson and Telfer at the top of the IPO ticket would provide more gravitas to the IPO nomination so would benefit both. And since it would be an historical event, and both Ms. Telfer and Sen. Johnson have a plenty of history here in Oregon to mine, an IPO ticket of Johnson/Telfer should provide the media with a lot of story lines and content. Because frankly, there is little GOP news to cover and little DPO intrigue (Except in the Secretary of State race, which according to The Oregonian Editorial Board is shaping up as a race involving Valdemort, Darth Vadar and Marie Antoinette.

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First take

I last visited Alaska almost exactly 30 years ago, and drove with a friend from Anchorage to Fairbanks. Along the way we came to the park that included Alaska's, and the United States', highest peak. It was commonly referred to locally as Mount Denali. (At the time I had for some reason a hard time remembering the name.) The name came from a native phrase roughly meaning The Great One, and Alaskans seemed to like that, and it took on currency from the time the state began so referring to it years before I visited. Alaskans have since. Former Governor Sarah Palin referred to the mountain as Denali when she delivered her departure speech. So President Barack Obama's declaration in Alaska this week that the federal government now considers it to be "Mount Denali" should settle pretty easily, even if the peak formerly known as Mount McKinley - named for the 25th president, William McKinley, who never visited Alaska - is now a cause taken up by Ohio Republicans, whose state was the long-ago president's home. "Disrespectful," said one member of Congress. But you suspect that the move toward respect for the state and its natives are more likely to prevail. - rs