Gubernatorial Endorsements

The long season of endorsement announcements has begun - especially where there are contested primaries.

Over the weekend, the Multnomah County Democrats announced their controversial picks in statewide, legislative, and local races.

This morning brings news that all four four of the five statewide office-holders have endorsed Governor Ted Kulongoski for re-election - including Labor Commissioner Dan Gardner, Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo, Treasurer Randall Edwards, and Attorney General Hardy Myers.

(Update: Secretary of State Bill Bradbury has announced that he is not making any endorsements this year - given his role in enforcing election law.)

Discuss.

(Editor's note: Here at BlueOregon, we'll do our best to provide coverage, but don't expect a comprehensive catalogue or announcement of every endorsement from every community group in every race.)

Comments

  • confused (unverified)
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    Reposted from other thread now that discussion is here (with appropriate gender correction via Mr. Chisholm):

    Regarding the logic and relevance of the first endorsement --

    Maybe Mr. White or Ms. Hagamier could write an article and explain the process and what happened in a little more detail? Having less than 3 dozen people at a meeting on a Saturday night doesn't seem like the kind of thing that warrants the attention this seems to have gotten from the conflict-happy media.

    I think I agree with Mr. Buckman's sentiments, but perhaps I don't understand why it is such a big deal. ("Multnomah County is big" is not the answer I'm looking for.)

    The post from the PSU Dem suggests this was more about people feeling like their importance wasn't acknowledged and/or they were "dissed" more than anything to do with the issues or the party platform. (Mr. White said Gov K. would have been endorsed if he had shown up for their meeting -- which IMHO makes their not endorsing him somewhat childish.) Ultimately, I guess I don't understand how drawing attention to an apparently spiteful non-endorsement helps elect Democrats. What is the purpose?

    Finally, as someone not entirely familiar with the process, what's the deal with the primary endorsement? I remember an article a while back where the party spokesman, Mr. Steele, said they didn't endorse in primaries. (Even though he pretty much sounded like they supported Gov K.) I can't find the article, but it was mostly about a poll that was taken. Has the endorsement policy changed and, if so, how come?

  • Jesse O (unverified)
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    The Ted press release reads: "The decision by these four leaders bucks the trend of Democrats sitting on the sidelines during a contested primary."

    Is this true even when there's an incumbent? I mean, the trend of Democrats running against incumbent statewide Democrats also bucks the trend.

    Party people, please educate me.

  • JB (unverified)
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    -Confused- Kelly Steel was a representative of the state party and not Multnomah county there for what he said only applied to the Democratic Party of Oregon and not Mulnomah County Dems. and while we are all a part of the same system each county is rather autonomos and have their own bylaws elections and leadership.

  • (Show?)

    From the Oregonian article:

    Neel Pender, executive director of the Democratic Party of Oregon, said county parties are often discouraged from endorsing candidates because of procedural inconsistencies. The Saturday meeting in Portland was poorly publicized and poorly attended, Pender said. "I do have some concerns over the process," said Pender of Saturday's vote. "I am one of the people who didn't get the notice in time." The committee's failure to endorse Kulongoski should not be taken as a sign of deep-rooted opposition, White said. "This is just the primary," he said. "When we get to the general election, we'll support whoever is the Democratic candidate."
  • S.Lowry (unverified)
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    Confused: Even if it's not the answer you're looking for, "Multnomah county is big" is indeed a significant point.

    I don't know if you recall November 2002, but the only two things that saved Kulongoski from an utterly embarassing showing were good returns from a very-invigorated Multnomah County and a good showing in Deschutes County.

    So... now we have the Multnomah County blues somewhat less than enthused about re-electing Ted and a competitor who, in his last state senate bid, pulled 82% of Deschutes County.

  • (Show?)

    now we have the Multnomah County blues somewhat less than enthused

    I think it's important to recognize that the 27 (or 35 or whatever) folks who showed up on Saturday night don't necessarily reflect the views of all registered Democrats in Multnomah County.

  • bigboy (unverified)
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    To S. Lowery: I really am stunned to your total ignorance on politics in this state. With all due respect to the party structure, it actually means didley. Have you evey been to one of their county meetings? If you had been you would know exactly what I am talking about. Most rank and file politicos, both elected and operative in status do not spend any time, except presidential year, worrying about the party structure. It does not give any value added to the electoral process. And if you think that the 27 people at the county event make the decisions about politics in the state, you are sadly mistaken.

    On your point about about "utterly embarassing showing by Ted" if I remember correctly, he won 6 or 7 counties, including Multnomah County. I believe he won counties on the coast, gorge and the valley. By the way, a win is win.

    Now, to your point about the person who won the 82% of Deschutes County. I assume you are talking about Ben. How much background do you have on the county selection process that put Ben in the seat? Here are the facts: Former State Senator Neil Bryant was charted to get the nod by the county (commission then party). Because of his moderated positions on Choice/Abortion, he was nailed to the wall by Gayle Atterberry and the nut balls at Right to Life. Mannix was behind this maneuver and did everything he could do to make sure Bryant was going to be denied the choice. Mannix hand picked Ben, and the rest, my friend, is history.

    'nough said...........

  • confused (unverified)
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    I guess I still don't understand the logic and purpose of what the Multnomah Dems did. Again, perhaps Mr. White or Ms. Hagamier could explain in a bit more detail?

    Mr. Pender makes the point that the meeting wasn't representative b/c of poor publicity and poor attendance. How many people attended, say, the meetings at which the officers/leadership of the party were elected?

    To reiterate from my original post, here's what perplexes me most:

    The posts in other threads and the media coverage suggest this endorsement was about certain people feeling like their importance wasn't acknowledged and/or they were "dissed" -- more than anything to do with issues or the party platform. (Mr. White said Gov K. would have been endorsed if he had just shown up for their meeting -- which IMHO makes their not endorsing him somewhat childish.) Ultimately, I guess I don't understand how drawing attention to an apparently spiteful non-endorsement helps elect Democrats. What is the purpose?
    Why did this get press coverage, and why would the Multnomah Dems proactively draw attention to the non-endorsement of an incumbent Democratic Governor? What is the point?

  • Amanda (unverified)
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    My point (as the mentioned PSU Dem) is that other Multnomah Dems, who aren't PCPs, are still going to feel slighted about the governor not showing to a Multonomah meeting or even bothering to send a reason. It's going to make people feel like they're being taken for granted. And a lot of it is about people feeling important. Why should I vote for a man who I feel doesn't care about my local issues? And I don't feel that way, because he didn't come or send someone who could eleviate my fears about his positions on certain issues. Jim Hill and Pete Sorensen spent time after the forum to talk to people. I feel like they care about my people.

    And please remember: I don't necessarily reflect the opinions of my group. I'm just a member. I stated that in my original post, but that post wasn't reposted in this thread.

  • Chris Andersen (unverified)
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    The Multnomah County Democratic Party does not represent all Democrats in Multnomah County. It only represents those who attend the meetings and become PCPs in the party.

    Their endorsements should not be read by anyone as being the opinion of all MultCo Dems. It should only be taken for what it is: the expressed opinion of those who are active enough in the party to show up for an event like this.

    And the possibility that Kulongoski's failure to show up having a factor in the results shouldn't be dismissed as simply sour-grapes on the part of party activists. One of the biggest complaints I hear from said activists is that state level leaders often take them for granted. The troops are treated like it should be a foregone conclusion that they will do whatever the leadership says they should do.

    That is not a viable means of encouraging democratic participation. And frankly, it's just stupid politics.

    It takes very little contact for people at the ground-level to feel like higher ups actually care about what they are doing. And the people at the ground level, who work the hardest in the trenches, frankly deserve a little more respect then that.

    Stop making excuses.

  • TrueBlueOregonian (unverified)
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    I realize Neil Pender, as head of the state party, wants to show loyalty to the current governer. I also realize, as a business owner myself, Kari Chisholm wants to show allegience to his client, Ted Kulongoski. But I find the damage control sales pitch being used by those two puzzling and kind of insane. If the HEAD OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON doesn't know when THE LARGEST DEMOCRATIC COUNTY IN THE STATE is having statewide endorsement meetings, the problems we face as a party are much bigger then a do nothing governor and a media outlet hounded by conflict of interest. Why aren't these two questioning the endorsments of Susan Castillo, Dan Gardner and the other statewide candidates who also spoke to the other Multnomah Democrats?

  • (Show?)

    Note: I don't speak for the county party-- I'm just a PCP. I speak only for myself.

    There wasn't enough notice

    Just because Neel Pender said there was poor notice doesn't mean that's true.

    The notice for the meeting was on the web site for more than 2 weeks and an e-mail was sent out more then 2 weeks prior to the event.

    Letters were sent to the PCPs from several of the candidates.

    The meeting was spoken about several times during the monthly county meeting earlier in the month.

    I'm sure even more was done to give the PCPs notice, but I just became one again a week and a half ago (after a year's break). As such, I wouldn't have received any phone/mail notices that came out before that.

    So the PCPs (who were the only ones who could vote) were indeed given notice for these endorsement meetings.

    The county dems were just mad he didn't show up

    This wasn't about being childish or feeling dissed.

    The people at the meeting had concerns about the governor and the way he's handled his time as governor. When they asked questions, they couldn't get any answers from his representative. That is not a good way to handle an endorsement meeting. You cannot reasonably expect to walk into a meeting, not be able to answer any questions (including where the governor was at), and still get the endorsement.

    To me, endorsements should not be automatic just because you're an incumbent and are from our party. You should have to work to get the endorsement just like everyone else-- answer the questionaire and either you or your representative be present and ready to answer questions. Sure your representative may not be able to answer all the questions, but the ability to answer some would be nice.

    The county dems are just some little group and don't matter

    You have to realize that the Multnomah County Democratic Party did not make themselves. They did not put themselves in as PCPs. They were voted in by the people in their precinct on the May, 2004 primary ballot. Subsequent people have been appointed to fill vacancies. PCPs are elected.

    The PCPs who participate in these endorsement meetings are typically the most active Dems in the entire county. They are the district leaders and officers who are out there organizing the districts and county. They're the "super volunteers" who are there year in and year out-- even when there aren't elections. They are the people who work tirelessly all year, every year to help Democrats.

    Elected officials do indeed come to the meetings. Almost every month there are reports from elected officials. During session they'll come in and give reports on what's happening. There are also elected officials who just come to the meetings to see what we're doing.

    State Senator Kate Brown was there this month and gave a great speech on the legislature, what the Senate did, and what they could get done if we win the house.

    Become a PCP

    Are you a democrat and don't like the way things are done? Go and fill out the form to be a PCP, get it into the county dems or county elections office, and run as a PCP. In most parts of the county there aren't enough PCPs to fill the slots. In some precincts you'll actually have to run an election-- going out and speaking to your neighbors.

  • (Show?)

    The troops are treated like it should be a foregone conclusion that they will do whatever the leadership says they should do.

    Chris,

    This is absolutely the Achilles Heel of the Dem leadership and they need to do this much better than they currently do, but it's also true that "leadership" often doesn't wish to be associated with ......oh........let's say........a resolution to demand the impeachment of Bush when the Republicans control all branches of government. It turns off all of the uninformed but fair minded voters that we will try to court in the election. The True Believers already know what they think. They want anybody but Ted, even if it winds up costing Dems the governorship. (And yes I am still a supporter of Jim Hill for the primary, and like Gavin said, I'll be on board with the primary winner in the general).

    So, again, pushing this resolution is like pissing yourself in a dark suit. It gives you a warm feeling, but nobody else notices, unless they smell it on you.....

  • (Show?)

    from the "picking nits" department:

    Sens Wyden and Smith are statewide elected officials, so saying "all four statewide office-holders have endorsed Governor Ted Kulongoski for re-election" isn't quite accurate. They're federal officeholders, but they do reflect statewide sentiment, I'd wager.

  • (Show?)

    Oh, and both Chair Gavin White and Treasurer Moses Ross comment over at Loaded Orygun.

  • (Show?)

    I also realize, as a business owner myself, Kari Chisholm wants to show allegience to his client, Ted Kulongoski.

    Once again, I'll share my thought process: I work for people I believe in. I choose my clients based on my personal political leanings. It's not the other way around. There are certainly political hacks whose first allegiance is to the paycheck and are happy flacking for whomever pays 'em the most. That's not me.

    I have, in the past, been asked by both sides in a ballot measure campaign to work for them. I decided to work for the one that paid my company less money -- because I agree with the position. I also once quit a full-time staff job at a consulting firm because I was asked to work on a campaign contrary to my own views.

    Does that mean that I agree with every single position taken by every single client? No. In fact, sometimes my clients disagree with each other. It does, however, mean that I believe my clients are good people and good organizations.

    I'm supporting Ted Kulongoski for Governor. He's also a client. In that order.

  • (Show?)

    Sens Wyden and Smith are statewide elected officials, so saying "all four statewide office-holders have endorsed Governor Ted Kulongoski for re-election" isn't quite accurate. They're federal officeholders, but they do reflect statewide sentiment, I'd wager.

    Well, yeah, but that's not how people use the lingo.

    All the Supreme Court justices are also statewide, but most folks refer to the five who are elected statewide and serve the state as the "statewides" - not in the courts or the US Senate.

  • (Show?)

    if there are five, it still wasn't accurate! :)

    I happily admit to not being most folks. When I think of statewide elected officials, I think of the Senators FIRST, before the superindendent of schools. Other than Myers, I barely even recollect pulling a lever for any of them.

    If I admit I'm violating lingo guidelines, will you admit Wyden's endorsement is more meaningful than Edwards'?

  • Aaron (unverified)
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    It is great to see that 4 state-wide office holders are endorsing the Gov.--but what about the 5th(and non-federal) and one that is 2nd most powerful(based on roles and responsibilities)---SEC of STATE BILL BRADBURY? Nevertheless, what about Mr. Bradbury’s endorsement, his silence is deafening to me!

    HMMMMMM

    Hearing all this "we all, Democrats, must be in lock-step for the incumbent Democratic Governor" makes me think that the general population is right about there is truly no difference with the D's and R's.

  • (Show?)

    I'm only writing to clarify one thing:

    Aaron writes:

    It is great to see that 4 state-wide office holders are endorsing the Gov.--but what about the 5th(and non-federal) and one that is 2nd most powerful(based on roles and responsibilities)---SEC of STATE BILL BRADBURY? Nevertheless, what about Mr. Bradbury’s endorsement, his silence is deafening to me!

    Bradbury announced some time ago that this year he wouldn't be making any endorsements in any races because he had come to believe as Sec. of State it was more important for him to be strictly neutral given the possibility of election disputes where he might be making rulings. So his silence in this particular race doesn't mean anything.

  • (Show?)

    Except that the word "all" should not be used when talking about the four state-wide office holders. Even if Bradbury has chosen to make no endorsements, he does still count as one of the state-wide office holders.

    At a minimum there should be an asterik that pointed to a note that Bill Bradbury is the fifth state-wide office holder, but because of his duties of being in charge of elections he's chosen to not make any endorsements.

  • (Show?)

    Except that the word "all" should not be used when talking about the four state-wide office holders.

    Wow -- took most of the day for someone to spot that error in the initial post. Thank you, and apologies to my friend Bill Bradbury.

    I've updated the post.

  • (Show?)

    cough--didn't I say that in a post at 430? :)

  • Aaron (unverified)
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    Torrid,

    Kari is busy trying to make money and juggling many clients; he cannot proof every press release that his clientele release for their websites. That is why he has us; too keep proofing them for him. Kari, send the check to Torrid web hosting company for proofing the press release.

  • (Show?)

    Oh, c'mon Aaron... That error here on BlueOregon was all mine - just a brainfart. You certainly won't find it in the Kulongoski press release.

  • (Show?)

    I think Bradbury's doing the right thing, BTW. He and a few others at the annual SoS meetings pledged to behave neutrally during election years or towards election decisions (endorsements, etc.)

  • Alice (unverified)
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    Doing the right think my ass!

    Truth in advertising: after the Florida debacle of 2000, Bradbury decided he better feign neutrality in case he needs to pick the winner of a close race. Better "neutral" Bradbury than the Oregon Supremes!

  • Alice (unverified)
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    Right "think" should read right "thing". Or left thing, your preference. Either way, it is laugh out loud funny to assume that Bradbury is only partisan in the out years.

  • Neel Pender (unverified)
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    TrueBlue / Jenny -

    In regards to my comments regarding whether there was ample notice of the MCDCC meeting, you should know the following:

    My comments in the Oregonian were crudely paraphrased and oversimplified.

    This is what I actually said:

    I said as a general rule the DPO doesn't take positions in primaries. However, county parties are autonomous entities and have the ability to make endorsements. That said, whenever there are endorsements, a sound process must be transparent, well publicized, and fair to all participants. Moreover, one strives for the largest possible turnout to ensure any decision is as representative and democratic as possible. In my opinion based on the facts presented to me, the relative low participation at the meeting called into question whether these standards were met.

    For the record, I actually think that endorsements, when done well, are an effective organizing tool for the party. MCDCC's initiative was right, but the execution merits some introspection. It may be that the other 475+ PCPs in Multnomah Cty. who didn't participate would agree with the decision of the 27 present, but I'd be awfully careful about drawing conclusions based on such a small sample.

    In my personal situation, it wasn't that I didn't know about the meeting, but it is true that there wasn't ample notice. The DPO had a long planned event in the morning and in the afternoon I had an even longer planned commitment to my wife and kids.

    A mistake too often made in politics is the assumption that everyone believes as passionately as we do. There are many great Democrats who will rearrange their lives on a moment's notice if necessary to attend a meeting, but this is far from the standard for an inclusive party. A minimu of one month's notice would be more appropriate for both candidates and PCPs - especially given that the filing deadline is still a couple of weeks off and the field isn't necessarily set.

    Primary endorsements are often tricky and if nothing else, I hope this experience yields more uniformity and greater understanding of party procedures.

  • (Show?)

    It seems ya can't win for losing, as the saying goes, and it seems pretty appropriate these days with Democrats. While Democrats nationally are taking heat for not taking a firm stance against the war, local Dems are feeling the heat FOR taking a stance.

    PCP's were given little encouragement from the Governor's office at last Saturday's endorsement meeting; a young campaign manager was sent to deliver campaign rhetoric, and he was unable to address several questions regarding policy.

    Significantly, both new race entrant Hill and the progressive Sorenson did appear and addressed the meeting. Kulingowski's no-show, combined with passion and dialogue from Hill and Sorenson, produced the result of endorsing both challengers and remaining non-commital on Kulingowski.

    Ever since, the press and State Party leadership has had a field day berating the Multnomah Dems. The critiques have ranged from "Oh, they don't really represent the democrats of Multnomah County," to "They didn't advertise the meeting," to "They're just a bunch of lefty wackos".

    The framing of the entire issue has become not "What's wrong with Kulingowski?" but "What's wrong with the Multnomah Dems?" While it's true that the PCPs at Saturday's meeting numbered 35, to dismiss the vote as an aberation of low numbers or as an inaccurate representation of democratic sentiment is completely invalid.

    There were, indeed, voices in the room that spoke for the endorsement of Governor Kulongowski: folks who found it inconceivable that the Party not support an incumbent. In the end, though, he was not endorsed, and the blame lies not with the dedicated Party activists who spent half their weekend in meetings because of their commitment to democratic ideals. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of Governor Kulingowski himself.

    He has been conspicously MIA in forums and events designed explicitly to present candidates and their positions. This trend will continue as Kulingowski plans to avoid the early March forum hosted by the Associated Press in Salem. Constituents, at best, get canned campaign rhetoric delivered by an aide or campaign manager. It's not simply that the Governor is ignoring the working democrats who elected him, it's that he's providing us no reason to re-elect him.

    KC Hanson

  • Spell Check (unverified)
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    A better question - why can't you spell Kulongoski?

    Remember: There's no Dubya in Kulongoski.

  • KC Hanson (unverified)
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    So noted and thank you!

    And believe me, I WANT Gov. Kulongoski to show up to these gigs. He is acting a little like W when he won't meet with folks.

  • RealityChecker (unverified)
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    While the letter W may not appear in Kulongoski's name, there is a whole lot of dubya in him. I hope people realize politics when they see it, mainly a right wing DLCer taking a sudden interest in education, health care, civil rights etc three months before the primary. I just wish I could take an active interest in my job once every 4 years and still get paid. But I dont have the cash to pay Kari to tell everyone that its acceptable.

  • (Show?)

    But I dont have the cash to pay Kari to tell everyone that its acceptable.

    Anonymous blogger "RealityChecker" - what a load of crap.

    I can personally attest to Kari's integrity when it comes to working with clients he believes in, not simply those offering the highest bid. Last cycle, we worked together to defeat a measure to limit the rights of greviously injured medical malpractice victims, despite the fact that the opposition approached Kari first about the campaign at a rate that I couldn't match with my budget.

    The docs and insurance companies had millions more than us, but Kari went with us b/c we were on the side of justice. That's what he does. To imply that Kari is just putting himself up for the highest bidder is just completely, totally wrong.

  • (Show?)

    Look, while Gov. K (note how I adeptly avoid the spelling issue altogether) may be Kari's client, the issue here isn't Kari, it's Gov. K. He wasn't endorsed by a Democratic Party organization. Detractors can come up with all the excuses thay want; Gov. K was not endorsed.

    As one of the voting PCPs at the meeting, I should also relate to you that in addition to not showing up at the meeting, Gov. responded with significant brevity to a questionaire provided to him by the Multnomah Dems Endorsement Committee. Answers provided by Sorenson and Jim Hill were significantly more detailed, and PCPs were better able to understand their positions and issues.

    Many grassroot Dems are increasingly resisting the urge to jump on a democratic candidate's bandwagon simply because he (or she) is the incumbant. DINOs in DC who've supported the barrage corporate legislation have left a bitter taste in the mouths of street level Dems. Incumbants like Gov. K need to understand that they still need to present themselves, articulate their positions and be willing to dialogue with Party faithful. In short, we're just not going to accept that being a Dem, even an incumbant, is good enough.

    TK was not endorsed simply because he gave us nothing to go on.

  • Craig Colby (unverified)
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    Welcome to politics, Gavin White. So you speculated that if the Governor had shown up and justified his quiescence during his term in office maybe the Multnomah Dems would have endorsed him. Then even some of your own party spun that to suggest the party declined to endorse simply out of pique.

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    Craig,

    What part of "he gave us nothing to go on" do you not understand? Real "pique" on the part of the Mult Dems would have been a vote to NOT endorse.

  • (Show?)

    CLARIFICATION:

    <h2>Votes were taken to either Endorse, remain Neutral, or Oppose. Gov. K's results fell in the neutral category, so I should clarify my above comment to read "real 'pique' would have been for the Mult Dems to oppose..."</h2>
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