Get out the crystal ball

So, let's get out the crystal ball and talk about potential scenarios in the upcoming gubernatorial election.

There's an incumbent, Governor Ted Kulongoski, and a Democratic challenger - Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson. On the GOP side, there's Kevin Mannix (a three-time loser statewide, but the GOP chairman and big name ID), Portland attorney Ron Saxton, and State Senator Jason Atkinson of Central Point. There are rumors of another Democratic challenger - State Senator Vicki Walker of Eugene - and a potential independent candidacy from Bend's GOP State Senator Ben Westlund.

So, what's going to happen, BlueOregonians? (Let's refrain from what you want to happen - and instead talk about what might/will happen.)

Will Kulongoski win the Democratic primary? Who will win the GOP primary? Will Westlund really run an independent race? Does his decision depend on the winner of the GOP primary? Are there other candidates who might jump in the race? Who wins in the end?

  • (Show?)

    I look forward to posts on this topic.

    My best guess, all things staying as the question posed...Ted wins the primary, Saxton wins the primary, Westlund does not run, Ted wins the general.

    Atkinson looks good for the future.

  • Seth Prickett (unverified)


    Ted wins, Mannix wins... Ted wins overall


    Ted wins, Saxton wins... Saxton wins overall

    If Westlund runs, I dont think it will be for very long. In the end he will endorse Saxton

  • Aaron (unverified)

    Primary Elections Results

    Democrats Teddy K 49% V Walker 33% P Sorenson 15% all others 3%

    Republican Primary If Sen Westlund announces before the primary election J Atkinson 38% Ron S 33% Mannix 25% all others 4%

    If Sen Westland does not announce J Atkinson 44% Ron S 29% Mannix 23% all others 4%

    General Elections results If Sen Westlund, Tom Cox and plus random Consitution party member runs and announces before the primary election

    Teddy K 44% J Atkinson 34% Ben W 12% Tom C 6% RCP mmeber 4%

    If Sen Westlund, Tom Cox plus random Consitution party member runs and announces after the primary election Teddy K 44% J Atkinson 40% Ben W 9% Tom C 5% RCP member 2%

    If Tom Cox plus random Consitution party member runs and Sen Westland does not Teddy K 46% J Atkinson 45% Tom C 6% RCP member 3%

    Note: Reasoning for this is Sen Westlund might "neutralize" some of the living Rural left and moderate Republican and conservative leaning voters, in both the general and primary elections; to would normally vote R and is not so sure of a "Metro Republican".

    If SoS Bradbury, State Treasurer Edwards, Congressman DeFazio or Walden and/or Senator Smith decide to run...all bets are off.

  • Betty (unverified)

    People seem to be underestimating Kevin Mannix. Mannix is smart, charasmatic, and he's learned from his past mistakes. Plus, he's the darling of the Republican base, and it's the base that turns out in primary elections.

    Unless a third conservative (in addition to Mannix and Atkinson) jumps into the Republican primary, Mannix wins the primary hands down. And Mannix will put up a good fight in the general against Ted.

  • LT (unverified)

    On the basis of a conversation last night with a friend of mine who is a swing voter (someone who doesn't pay a lot of attention to politics but in the past has voted for Bush, Hooley, Kitzhaber, Gordon Smith because of his opinion of them as individuals) my guess is that assuming Westlund runs his cheerfulness and willingness to engage the public in conversation will overcome the support of "the base" for partisans. My friend was really impressed that I would be calling him to tell him to read the Blue Oregon topic on Ben as an independent, but even more so that I was personally impressed by his cheerfulness. Activists forget how tired many ordinary folks are with partisanship.

    As for Mannix, someone I have known for a couple decades: 1)I have seen him be friendly and helpful. 2)I have seen him at a town hall style meeting in a restaurant explain his voting record in detail in a way that might have been done by a Democrat during the days of FDR, and was well received. 3)I have seen Kevin being cocky and sarcastic.

    I have not seen examples of the first 2 in the last several years. If Kevin is capable of charming a nonpartisan audience he might have a chance, but I will believe that when I see it. Until then, I will remember the young co-worker from 2002 who had voted in the Republican primary but not for Kevin. "Well, if it is between Ted and Kevin, I know I am voting for Ted because I know Kevin too well".

    Until Mannix can overcome comments like those, he won't win the general. The "base" of either party is probably less than the party registration --which is less than 40%. If either party has 38% of the registered voters in this state, I would be surprised. And remember, individuals cast votes, not blocs or "the base".

    And I recall someone running for office for the first time once making the statement of complete amazement that "if the voters don't like you, they won't listen to your ideas!".

  • (Show?)

    I have some of the results from the latest Riley Research poll up on my blog now.

    I predict that Kulongoski will win the Democratic primary very easily.

    Saxton will flame out and Mannix will get real silly real fast. Especially when people are reminded that he used his position as GOP chair to pay off previous debts.

    It will be Atkinson vs Kulongoski and I am not sure that I see a scenario where a Republican can win the Governor's race this time around.

    Although, once you get a ticket to the dance anything can happen?

    If Ben Westlund decides to get in he will help a conservative like Atkinson.

    Yip Yip

  • Aaron (unverified)


    I agree with your statement that Mannix is smart and charasmatic; but I think that the Mannix has burnt some bridges with some of his demands in the past couple years. Remember the stray poll from the Republican event The Dorchester earlier this year--Walden edged out Mannix, with Saxton a distance third.

    My reasons for my earlier is this Mannix and Saxton will have to fight is out for the "Urban/Suburban Rep" votes.

    Mannix lost Multnomah and Jackson county by less than 100 votes to Saxton 2002. Mannix lost Lane county by almost 2 to 1 to Roberts. Mannix won because of his wins in Washington and Clackamas counties, being very close in Multnomah and Jackson and with nearly 40%+ voters in the rest of the state.

    So Mannix has to crush Sen Atkinson in southern, eastern and coastal Oregon and to survive Saxton in the major valley counties.

    This year is not 3 western Oregon R's going at it.

  • forethought (unverified)

    Why did Kulongoski run again? Does he really think he's done a good job? Voting for the lesser of two evils is just that, getting less.

    Anyway, Ted will win, unfortunately.

  • Paco Pena (unverified)

    Alright all you Capitol Kids...stop thinking anyone cares what happens in the Marble Nut House. No one....and I mean No one knows who the hell Jason Atkinson is. Atkinson will get 15% of the vote if he is lucky.

  • doug (unverified)

    I hear that up and comer Doug Fasching is thinking of throwing his hat in the ring too. With the unions, teachers and businesses behind him, he'll give Kulongoski a run for his money.

    Dem primary:

    D Fasching 45% Teddy K 30% V Walker 20% P Sorenson 3% all others 2%

  • (Show?)

    I don't think Jason Atkinson will win the Republican Primary. I'm way more worried about his SOS run in 2008. He doesn't have to lose his seat for this election and he gets to increase his name id Statewide with other people's money. People might be like "Who is this guy and why the hell should I vote for him" in 2006 and "Oh I remeber that guy he ran for Governor, Well maybe he'll be a good Secretary of State." in 2008 The guy is Conservative as all hell and I don't want him drawing the House and Senate Districts in 2010.

  • (Show?)

    No one knows who Jason is yet. A little secret about Republican primaries... A conservative only needs a minimal amount of campaign cash to win a seat.

    Mannix has burnt ALOT of bridges with his paying off campaign debts using party money. THAT will not play well at all.

    As for Saxton, he gets fewer Republican votes than Kulongoski in the latest poll. I also have it from a candidate that has been doing his own polling in his district that Saxton has verrrry low name ID while Kevin has about 15% negatives in his own party. In his own party this early?!

    Now any veterans of campaigns on this board, Democrats though you may be, know that you don't want to be at this point in a campaign with 15% negatives. Especially after you have been the standard bearer for so long.... ouch....

  • DHSDiva (unverified)

    I think you underestimate the poor sentiment toward Kulongoski at the grass roots level. Kulongoski, who ran with full union support then proceeded to invoke wage and step freezes, supposedly to save money to continue to cover soaring health care costs. Fine, the state workers ate it for the common good. This year the state employees' union has had to fight tooth and nail to get the step and COLA increases and keep paid health care. I doubt the unions will come out with the strong support for TK that they gave him in 2002 and the state workers are, as a whole, fed up with him. Additionally, last time around, TK had John Kitzhaber's endorsement and, even though JK wasn't very popular toward the end, his endorsement still meant something to his supporters, mostly liberal intellectuals who now feel TK has sold out that endorsement - particularly the environmental agenda - to big business (and particularly to big business from out of state). And he did sort of burn his bridges personally by slamming JK in the press as a cold fish (pun intended). Maybe I'm naive, but if the unions and the ex guv endorsed my gubernatorial campaign, I'd be sugar sweet to them for a loooonnnnggg time. If Mannix plays his cards right, he could be our next governor. Canada, anyone?

  • Dudaday (unverified)

    Poor Pickings across the board in both parties. Not a class act in the bunch!

  • LT (unverified)

    If Mannix plays his cards right, he could be our next governor.

    Mannix "playing his cards right" would involve a more open humble presence, explaining the sarcastic remarks he has made over the years (even with things mentioned above plus the AuCoin nomination which was totally tin-ear clueless, Ted K. has rarely been THAT sarcastic, and seldom/ever given the level of put downs as Mannix) and offering more of a specific plan than "tough on crime no new taxes and you'd better agree with me or else!".

    Which is why I think even the idea of Westlund running is so popular: "Let's see, one guy disappointed me and the other guy was sarcastic--not much of a choice".

  • Jesse O (unverified)

    Ted wins the primary, unless a real Democrat gets into the race (DeFazio, Nesbitt, Blumenauer, etc.)

    Ted loses to Mannix or Saxton in the general (Saxton should pull out the primary, but Republicans are known to shoot themselves in the foot), unless there's a wild-card third candidate, or the R's choose Atkinson. Then Ted wins.

    Sorry, you piss off your ground troops, you lose the battle. No labor or enviros, no ground troops.

  • Aaron (unverified)

    Jesse O,

    You forgot the 3rd leg of the Oregon Political Trinity for Democrats....EDUCATION!!!!

    Teddy K has some serious issues within his own party...but until a "major player" steps up and challenges him; the D's are "stuck in between a rock and a hard place." If DeFazio or Blumenauer steps up, then an "arms race" would be started with the Republicans--Senator Gordon Smith steps in the ring--and then the fun truly begins. If DeFazio steps up--we might lose that Congressional seat--State Senators/Reps down there might not be able to carry it. If Blumenauer steps up--it would cause some chaos with the D's that live in his district because who would step up too fill that seat(Sen. Brown, Rep. Merkley, Rep. March, Rep Dingfielder, Cmmr. Sten, Cmmr. Saltzman, chair Linn, former Cmmr. Francisconi)? Can we say "cluster-*%^&"!!! Nesbitt is a great guy, but like Senator Atkinson. Name Familiarity? Very Little.

  • Chris Matson (unverified)

    I don't know what the big hubaloo is all about regarding who may or may not run for Governor, but I suppose it does make for good reading.

    As for my prediction, two years from now I fully expect to be working in Governor DeFazio's office.

  • Marshall Collins (unverified)

    "...two years from now I fully expect to be working in Governor DeFazio's office."

    Is this just a wish or a rumor? I am a big fan of DeFazio and would be estactic if he were to run.

    With the current candidates my prediction is Kulongoski in the primary. Mannix in his primary

    General Election: If Ben runs as an independant it will suck votes on both sides and would make it a toss up between K and M.

    If Ben stays out it will be K again by a larger (if only slightly) margin than what he won by last time.

    If DeFazio runs he takes them all out in a landslide

  • TimC (unverified)

    Kulongoski will win the primary unless Sorenson gets out and a single credible challenger enters the race. If Sorenson and Walker both run, Kulongoski will have no problem winning the primary as they will split the dissatisfied Democratic voters.

    Sorenson is just not a credible option - unless he has grown a bunch since his legislative days.

    Atkinson may have a bright future within the Republican party, but he's not there yet. Mannix wins the primary unless Walden or Smith join the race.

    In the general, I agree with Marshall - Kulongoski wins over Mannix by a slightly larger margin. I'll believe Westlund will run as an Independent when I see his name on the ballot.

  • Mitch (unverified)

    As a good R, (no jokes please), I would love to see Sen. Jason as our next Gov. (...and he will win the primary. Rural R's stick together. Saxton is Steve Forbes and as for Mannix, the definition of insanity is.....well you know the rest.)

    On the D side: I know the closet is plumb full, but don't underestimate Grossman's ability to spin "Vicki the giant killer". I won't be suprised to see her in the big chair. Just scared to death.

  • David English (unverified)

    I hate to say it, but I see a rematch of the 2002 Governor's Race. That is unless someone mounts a big challange against either Kulongoski or Mannix.

    Honestly as a democrat, I would have considered voting for Ron Saxton if he had been able to secure the nomination. I don't see Saxton being able to get the nod this time either.

    My opinion is Saxton needs to build his resume a bit with other public offices, rather then just taking a shot at running for governor. Yes, I know he's held other offices, but nothing that gives him name recongnition.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    Run, Peter, Run! (No, not you, Pete Sorenson.

    Interestingly, both Petes worked for my old boss Jim Weaver.

    At the Democratic Convention last year, Ted threw a big party at one of the famous old bars in Boston. I crashed as many parties as I could at the convention, and this had by far the best food and booze. Prime rib, lobster, the works. I was drinking beer for awhile until I realized the entire bar was hosted, whereupon I switched to Glen Morangie. So as much as I loved the party, it was paid for by Union Pacific. And I remember clearly Ted making a speech at the party in which he promised a government not beholden to special interests, with a VP of UP standing right next to him. I almost coughed up my crabcake.

    I would love to see a Democrat as governoer of this state. Can't we start a "Draft Burton" movement, as Burton is probably the person best equipped to run the state?

  • oracletom (unverified)

    Well, well, well! Seems like everyone has insider info on the guv's race. Problem is, this race may well not follow the old rules. People are disenchanted right now and may be more willing than ever to try something different. The question is whether that something different will come around.

    Sen Walker could give Ted fits in the next few months.With the Dem race void of other real candidates she will be able to get earned media gallore and it will not be complimentary towards Ted. She is quotable and will make her way into the voters minds. No 'big names' are going to enter the race on the D side so forget that unless something major happens to Ted. Then one or more of those folks who don't have the guts to run this fall may offer themselves as saviors later this winter. Consider that Walker comes out in November-December with polls showing she is less than 10 points behind Ted...I think a very real possibility since she will have a chance to get plenty of ink. Then DeFazio may, upon seeing blood being spilt, thank Vicki for doing all the dirty work, move his sizeable federal campaign cash over to a state PAC and enter the race. This would allow Walker to run for DeFazio's seat...something she really covets(and possible could win as she is a maverick populist in the DeFazio mold). I think other dems may enter this race before Christmas though and that could get interesting.

    I believe the unions will not throw Ted a life jacket in the primary if it gets another D could win this thing.

    As for Westlund..he wont go as an independent...especially since passage of HB2614 this year which makes an independent race almost impossible to accomplish now. He could however win an R primary..thats right an R primary...if Jason and Kevin split the conservative vote and Ben can convince Saxton to clear the way for him. This would be a reversal of the 2002 primary where two moderates split the vote giving Mannix the win. But there is more to come....and there are still eyes in the woods looking at these races...time to get out the flashlights and go looking.

  • latetotheparty (unverified)

    Couple of comments

    A) Why is Sorenson such a no starter? I saw him in Bend and he had great support.

    B) Walker- GET OUT NOW! She is going to give her Senate seat over to an R and have nothing but bad taste to show for it. She should wait until 2008 and run for SOS

    C) We underestimate Mannix. He can pull the money and the good ol boy network. Atkinson will be a solid 2008 SOS as well.

    D) The Westlund Independent - I agree with the above, believe it when I see it.

    E) Teddy may get union and OEA endorsement, but it will take a heck of a lot to convince the rank and file to phonebank/canvass etc. He won by such a slim margin and as they say - you dance with them who brung ya. Teddy left them off his card and will pay dearly.

    The major advantage to a Sorenson bid (or a Walker, but she will screw the Senate) is that the grassroots will come out and perhaps we'll wrest the House out of Karen Minnis' hands. With Teddy in the grassroots will go to sleep and the R's win the House.


    Go with the guy (or gal) who can motivate the grassroots, even if you lose Mahonia Hall, you take the legislature.

    Nobody should give ANY money to Vicki Walker until she can demonstrate her seat will not switch parties if she runs.

    And the Tom Cox news is bad for Mr. Riley.


  • Don Saxton (unverified)

    I don't believe Ron Saxton will win the GOP Primary!!! Ron is too liberal for the downstate Republicans, and besides that, nothing gets past Kevin Mannix when it comes to who will run for office in the state GOP!! (Yes- I AM related to Ron Saxton. He's my Cousin, though I'm a lifelong Democrat!!)

  • Chris Matson (unverified)

    latetotheparty (Seth) writes:

    "Walker- GET OUT NOW! She is going to give her Senate seat over to an R and have nothing but bad taste to show for it."

    Says who?

  • Mitch (unverified)

    So, Chris......who you got out there that beats Jim? Bob? Come on, seriously. Bob's a decent fella, but in an open race, how you gonna beat Jim?

    By the way, the Gov. DeFazio remark......that's funny. I agree that Peter DeFazio will eventually leave Congress............kicking and screaming and grasping at the curtains. :) :) :)

  • Chris Matson (unverified)


    Good to hear from you. There for a while I thought you disappeared from the face of the earth.

    It's always good to see a Republican knowingly commit political suicide. Just saw Feldkamp begin his run into political obscurity.

    Now, to your question "how you gonna beat Jim?"

    I used to think the same thing. Then came the West Eugene Parkway vote and who was key to getting it passed (when the campaign for passing it was going south big-time). Now, I'm not so sure.

    Perhaps I won't have to. Perhaps you guys will do that for me.

    But, as they say, the night is still young.

  • LT (unverified)

    For those of us outside Lane County, could you please provide us with the full names of Jim and Bob?

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