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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ben's final hour?

Is Gentle Ben Westlund giving up the ghost in his independent run for Oregon governor? He's got an ominous-sounding press conference scheduled for just under an hour from now:

Independent candidate for Oregon governor Ben Westlund will announce Thursday afternoon whether he will stay in the race at a news conference at the state Capitol in Salem.

John Turner, Westlund's communications director, refused to comment on the nature of the announcement. It was scheduled for 2 p.m.

I was just saying last night how Saxton is toast because he's got other Republicans running against him -- one to his right and one to his left. If Ben packs it in, it's a good day for the Nasal Nabob of Neildom. (Via KGW.)

UPDATE, 2:34 p.m.: It's official. Neil's third term is now a lock.

Comments (1)

It's not as if he has a snowball's chance in hell of winning a three-way race... Maybe ol' Ben has realized that the state would be worse off if Saxton sleezed his way into Mahonia.

A three-way race, while initially intriguing, doesn't work so well when the electorate is so bored/apathetic with it. The bigger issue is, how do we as a state and nation get people to pay attention, especially in voting cycles without a presidential race?

It's alarming how few people truly know what's happening in local politics... Is anyone else as worried as I am?

Posted by: TKrueg at August 10, 2006 01:51 PM

It would have been a four-way, if you count Mary Sterrett, and I would. I think Ben would have hurt Saxton more than Cool Long.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 10, 2006 02:07 PM

I dunno... for some reason, it seems most of Ben's current supporters are lefties, or at least his field team seems to suggest that.

Posted by: TKrueg at August 10, 2006 02:18 PM

Well, that sucks.

Posted by: Alan DeWitt at August 10, 2006 02:40 PM

Well, that sucks.

No kidding, I guess that part of my ballot will be blank now...

Posted by: Jon at August 10, 2006 03:20 PM

I think some recent polling made it perfectly clear: in a three way race, Kulongoski ahead by a few; in a two way race, Kulongoski ahead by many. Seems about 4-1 Ben's supporters choose Kulongoski over Saxton with Ben out of the way. Now, Saxton must move further to the left to grab some of the Westlund bloc, which makes Mary Starrett that much more dangerous.

Teddy is thanking whatever god(s) he prays to right about now.

Posted by: Gullyborg at August 10, 2006 06:23 PM

You folks are way overplaying Mary Starrett's influence. In the end, she won't get much more than Richard Morley or whoever the Green party person is.

Posted by: Hinckley at August 10, 2006 06:36 PM

Come on guys - have you forgotten how politics is played in Oregon? If Teddy (I like taxes) is re-elected, within the first six months Westlund is appointed to some cushy job in Teddy's cabinet. Anyone wanna bet?

By the same token, if Saxon gets elected (please God, let it be) - then we've heard the last of Westlund.

Posted by: mmmarvel at August 10, 2006 06:45 PM

Ben was never anything but a fat chance.

I don't know how he ever got the impression he
was viable or the stuff of greater political heights.

It seemed to me to be and combination of Ben's wishful thinking and a media driven delusion.

Ben's likely an OK guy and all but come on.
He had and has absolutely no sing of any base or statewide appeal at all.

Unless I have missed something.

Posted by: Steve Schopp at August 10, 2006 08:37 PM

I think he was under the delusion that having good ideas is enough to compensate for the lack of a party machine.

Damn shame it's not... I like that delusion.

Posted by: Alan DeWitt at August 10, 2006 09:23 PM

I'm never really sure what conservatives in this state have against Ted K... I understand you may not share every belief, but what has he done that stirs anger or outrage? He's a classic, middle of the road Oregon guv... yeah, he's a Goldschmidt-ite, but he wasn't a bad guv at the time. Conventional "Lars Larson" Wisdom says Teddy's a liberal, but he's a centrist in the classic Oregon mold... the talk radio/FOX pundit echo chamber has shifted our debate hard-Right and mostly hard-stupid.

The result? Most of the conservative posters on the net repeat the catchphrase ideology with little or no knowledge of which they speak. Tax-n-spend this, cut-n-run that. Nuance, details, common sense and reality be damned. No liberal I know LIKES taxes, every single one wants a balanced budget and fair taxation like anyone else. No liberal I know wants a wasteful, excessive government. These talking head-talking points never quite seem to hold water in the real world.

That is unless people don't bother to actually learn anything for themselves. Why else would guys like Reagan, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr have fiscal conservative cred?? Maybe it's the crazy social conservative policy that keeps the voting Republicans faithful in spite of the obvious contradictions on the ethical and fiscal fronts... lord knows there are scary islamo-facist-lesbian-government workers running amok. Better give away another no-bid contract to take care of it!

Posted by: TKrueg at August 10, 2006 09:27 PM

More to Steve's point, it seems that Eugene and Bend pols have a hard time getting ink in the 'O', any amount that would give them name recognition in the NW part of the state. Portland is obviously the most populous area, and a guv or U.S. Senator race almost necessitates a name-recognition running start. If a person only watches the evening news, forget it.

I guess it's too hard to make our state legislature news 'sexy'.

Posted by: TKrueg at August 10, 2006 09:37 PM

I wish Vicki Walker were running as an independent. She'd have the Two Good Old Boys jumping through some hoops.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 10, 2006 10:02 PM

I had Vicki, Pete Sorenson, and Ben in mind...

Posted by: TKrueg at August 10, 2006 10:25 PM

I'm never really sure what conservatives in this state have against Ted K... I understand you may not share every belief, but what has he done that stirs anger or outrage?

He's hasnt done a damn thing...thats the problem.

He's a classic, middle of the road Oregon guv

Now that's the funniest freakin' thing I have ever read here...

Posted by: Jon at August 11, 2006 08:06 AM

Teddy K is basically the face of the machine which represents the public employees unions. PERS will probably bankrupt the state even with his begrudging changes (now we are down to 24% of pay is for PERS) and that is my biggest issue with him.

He seems like a nice guy on a personal basis, but more of a manager than leader. I agree that Westlund will probably get a $100K+/year gig in state government somewheres for payback.

Posted by: Steve at August 11, 2006 08:18 AM

As a long-time Rep., I changed my registration to Independent so that I could vote for Ben. I have had it with the rep and/or dem parties. Following your advice, I did not vote in the primary in order to have my name and vote "count".

I would have liked to have heard what the man had to say on the issues at hand, and I believe he sold himself short as to the number of people that would have voted for him. Agreed, he probably would not have won, but he could have given it the good fight and suprised a lot of people and would have paved the way for himself , or others in the future.

I thought that Steve Duin summed it up quite well in the Sunday O.

Posted by: jerry at August 13, 2006 01:47 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


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