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Posts tagged as “Gordon Smith”

Nope, Smith’s not running for governor

There's been some chatter that Gordon Smith, who was the Republican senator from Oregon until he was defeated last year for re-election, might try a comeback in a run for governor.

Not gonna happen: He has just been named president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.

You can figure, for one thing, that naming a former senator (who doesn't have any specific professional background in broadcasting) to that job has a lot to do with congressional action.

Second string on deck

We've suspected for a while that the top-tier Republican possibilities for governor, former Senator Gordon Smith and current Representative Greg Walden, wouldn't go for it.

From an Oregonian story on the Republican Dorchester Conference, held this weekend at Seaside, come growing indications that seems about right.

About Smith, close associate Dan Lavey is quoted, "He's focused on the future, but the future has more to do with pea picking and the law firm than it does with politics." That sounds pretty clear.

And the story says, "Walden says the seniority he's built up in Congress and the lopsided voter registration edge Democrats hold over Republicans give him pause as he looks at a run for governor. He says he won't decide right away." You don't have to parse that too hard to get the drift.

No real specific indications from the Dorchester - this said from a distance, but with such information as is available - of active efforts as yet underway for GOP candidates for governor. Our best guess, for the moment, remains state Senator Jason Atkinson, R-Central Point. But the field is looking fairly open.

Alley’s space

Allen Alley

Allen Alley

The initial up-front question, in looking at businessman Allen Alley's entry into the 2010 Oregon gubernatorial field, is - how does he expect to win the Republican primary?

It wasn't hard when he ran last year for state treasurer; he was the only Republican who filed for the job. In the general, he did respectably (45.2% to Democrat Ben Westlund's 51.1%), but one reason was that his campaign ramped up unexpectedly at the end, taking the Democrats by somewhat by surprise. Nothing wrong with that strategy, but it likely wouldn't do as well in a higher profile governor's race. Alley did, as well, come across as an energetic candidate.

The primary issue comes up because Alley doesn't seem to have a large, easily definable constituency within the Republican voting base, or a really strong organization. It's hard to imagine him staying in the race should former Senator Gordon Smith or Representative Greg Walden enter (as we're guessing they won't, but which they could). The best guess here for a Republican gubernatorial nominee next year - assuming he runs - would be state Senator Jason Atkinson, who has a strong and enthusiastic support base, and has developed very strong campaign skills; he may have been the best natural campaigner for the governorship in 2006 in Oregon.

But who knows, yet, who will or won't enter - on either side? Alley's entry is demonstration of just that unpredictability.

OR: Prospects for 10

Jason Atkinson

Jason Atkinson

A recommended read on the Oregonian Jeff Mapes blog, about state Senator Jason Atkinson, R-Central Point; Atkinson is a prime prospect for the field of Oregon gubernatorial candidates in 2010.

Should be noted that when he ran for governor in 2006, he finished third - and not an especially close third - in the Republican primary. But that was then. Neither the two contenders who topped him (Kevin Mannix and Ron Saxton) almost certainly are out of the picture for 2010. The dynamic then favored a Republican nominee who would run as the centrist guy (that was supposed to be Saxton), while Atkinson is solidly conservative. But the internal party dynamic may be different next time, especially after the Saxton loss. Atkinson would start this effort with the revival of his old organization, building from there - a better start than most other Republicans not named Smith or Walden would have.

Besides which, there was this: Atkinson displayed excellent campaign skills in 2006, better maybe than his opponents. He delivered a knack for communicating with a centrist tone while not abandoning his essential take on things. He could be a very strong candidate for 2010.