Saxton '06: Worse than Mannix '02

Editor's Note: This comment was posted deep in another thread by Pete Sorenson, until recently a candidate for Governor. We're upgrading it to a full post.

Hello Blue Oregon,

This is Pete Sorenson. I spoke to the Governor yesterday and thanked him for his kind remarks about me and our campaign Tuesday night. I also told him that I had debated Ron Saxton and that I strongly support the Governor in this re-election year. Please get behind Ted Kulongoski. The Ron Saxton of 2006 is much worse than the Kevin Mannix of 2002.

Pete Sorenson, Lane County Commissioner, former Assistant Democratic Leader, Oregon State Senate

  • Ben Dover (unverified)

    Ron Saxton is more of a threat to the Democratic Party this time because he appeals to a higher cross section of voters. Although I have always voted Democratic in Oregon for the past 30 years, I will probably vote for Saxton for governor this time.
    Kulongoski has done nothing but exacerbate the illegal immigration problems in this state and Saxton is the only one promising to take action to help turn the tide back south.
    Illegal immigration is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It is a huge problem that is sucking the lifeblood from our standard of living and those who don't recognize that fact are naive. Many of those flooding into this country are criminals who have been jailed in Mexico and come here for the relatively easy pickings. Then, when they are released on bail, they flee back to Mexico only to enter the U.S. once again under yet another assumed name. If the Democrats are too spineless to acknowlege this problem, then voters will choose the candidate who will, no matter what political party he or she belongs to.

  • PG (unverified)

    I don't think many people are going to base their votes for governor about the candidate's stance on immigration (besides ben), particularly in a non-border state. I would suspect/hope people are more concerned about how the candidates plan to handle education, health care, and tax issues since these things make up a huge portion of state spending/economic output and because the governor actually has influence over the outcomes.

    I don't know if Saxton '06 is really worse than Mannix '02 but there may be another reason to rally around Ted: if the Democrats capture the house, Oregonians will finally have a government that can make the necessary changes to improve the state. Ted might not be a liberal crusader but he'll know what to do with a democratic legislature.

  • Ben Dover (unverified)

    PG - Wanna bet?

    Illegal Immigration and all the associated problems with it is a huge issue this year. It has been building in this state for a long time. You and those who wish to ignore it will surely find out this fall at election time.

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    Much is being made about the GOP's new "unity" (mostly by the GOP), but this is a very positive sign that the Dems may follow suit. Voters will still have to decide between Ted and Ben, but Democratic leaders shouldn't be making that job easy for them. Ted's the Democratic candidate.

    Kudos, too, to Pete. He gave voice to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and gave Ted some information about what voters want. He (Ted) can't ignore Pete's 16%. So thanks, Pete.

  • LT (unverified)

    The battle over immigration is really among Republicans on the national level.

    Bush and Tancredo and McCain and Kyl don't see eye to eye on the issue, and some very interesting debates are going on in the US Senate.

    And what resources do the party of spending limits and tax cuts intend to devote to immigration? Where would they get the money--ending some tax cuts, taking the money away from schools or not funding state troopers on the highway?

    "Immigration will be a big issue" is only a soundbite, not a proposed solution.

    When Republicans tell us that immigration is so important they are willing to discuss budget specifics, then I will believe them.

    But are landscape companies, construction companies, restaurants, etc. going to support "tough on immigration" candidates?

    And are voters willing to pay more to those companies for certified legal workers?

    Not to mention those who overstayed their visas--they came into the country legally but if their documents expired they are no longer legal.

    Of course, complexities don't make good sound bites--and there is a difference between rhetoric and problem solving..

  • Chris (unverified)

    I saw him at the OEA endoresments and I gotta say, some of the crap he said was pretty unbelievable. This guy is just awfu. He made no apologies either. He clearly knew he wasn't getting the endorsement and was using the opportunity (with news cameras rolling) to show the public how conservative he'd become. This was prior to the primary, of course.

    I'm really worried about his media in Portland compared with his media around the state. People think he's less conservative than Manix but he really isn't. He is horrible.

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    I find Ben's unsubstantiated, stereotyped and grossly inciendiary rhetoric a dangerously poorly-informed view of the immigration situation, and it speaks volumes of Ron Saxton that his position on the issue attracts that kind of voter.

    Immigration is certainly a problem, but demonizing whole classes of people and advocating preposterously impossible "solutions" like deporting all of them or building a high enough, long enough wall are totally counterproductive.

    Thanks, Ben--you've helped solidify Pete's comments: Saxton in 06 IS more dangerous.

  • Ben Dover (unverified)

    torridjoe -

    You'd better wake up before it's too late. "That kind of voter" is someone who is tired of paying high taxes to offset the damage done by masses of illegals who bring many social ills with them. There is a growing number of "that kind of voter" in Oregon regardless of political party affiliation.

    The denial of drivers licenses, social services and jobs to illegal aliens would go a long way to solve many of the problems. We need a governor who has the backbone to support the legislation and execution (sic) of laws that will restore public safety and family wages.

  • LT (unverified)

    The denial of drivers licenses, social services and jobs to illegal aliens would go a long way to solve many of the problems.

    So, unlicensed drivers on the roads (anyone getting a license has to provide an address and pass a written and driving test) and people who get contagious diseases afraid to go to hospitals ---that's the solution to immigration?

    How about penalizing employers / rewarding those who can show all their employees are either citizens or legal immigrants?

    But maybe those employers would rather pay substandard wages to illegals than pay min. wage, unemployment insurance, workers comp. etc?

    And are all illegal immigrants Hispanic?

    Are all Hispanics illegal?

    This state has a sorry history on how it treated Asians after Pearl Harbor. Just what problems would it solve to treat Hispanics as if they are the only illegals and anyone with Hispanic features or name (what about US AG Gonzales?) was treated as illegal unless they could prove otherwise?

  • Ben Dover (unverified)

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    Ben Dover: The denial of drivers licenses, social services and jobs to illegal aliens would go a long way to solve many of the problems.

    We had illegal immigration all during the Clinton years - and, as I recall, the economy didn't suffer that much. Yet suddenly, it's illegal immigrants who are responsible for sending family wage jobs to India and China? Not Republicans, who have put in place a system that charges more taxes to good corporations who keep American jobs at home, than the ones who outsource them?

    Sorry, I don't buy it. It's transparently obvious that conservatives are cynically trying to use illegal immigrants as a scapegoat for their failed national policies. And, as is typical for them, their demagogery has churned out the absolute worst policy decision.

    Ask yourself, what would the real effect of forcing people to prove citizenship to get a drivers license? Beyond annoying the hell out of Oregonians who don't keep documentation, it would dramatically the number of unlicensed drivers who don't know even basic traffic safety. We already require citizenship tests to get nearly any money from the government, so unless you're talking about not treating illegals with communicable diseases (boy - that's a real winner of an idea) there's not much more we can do. Oh, and denying illegal immigrants jobs? We already have laws doing that on the books. It's just that most American employers ignore them - even when the Social Security number are obviously fake.

    I'm not at all convinced that illegal workers hurt the U.S. economy, even regular blue-collar Americans. But even you are - most of the employers hiring illegals (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) are Republican. Do you really think a Republican is going to do what he's promising right now to get elected? Seriously? (If so, I've got a Clean-Skies, Healthy-Forests, No-Child-Left-Behind initiative, plus a Brooklyn Bridge to sell you - cheap.)

    I also don't get this business about needing to "restore" public safety. Thanks to early childhood programs funded in the 90s, the U.S. has the lowest crime rate it's seen in decades. (By the way, this is not due to Measure 11 - other states without that enormously expensive programs have had the same or better results.) So, um, beyond a few tragic anecdotes, where's the beef?

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)


    Your fear of illegal immigrants are based on a lot of information that is, well, wrong. I don't know whether you're intentionally lying or whether you have fallen victim to hysterical talk radio.

    At any rate, you'll be pleased to know the Oregon DMV does not issue drivers licenses to illegal imigrants. You must be a citizen or a legal immigrant in order to get one. I can post a link to the driver license requirements if you need one.

    You should also be pleased to know that it is illegal to hire an illegal immigrant.

    I can't address the "social ills" issue because I don't know what it means. It sounds very ominous, though.

  • Ben Dover (unverified)

    Illegals have Oregon driver licenses.

    Illegals receive Oregon welfare.

    Illegals work illegally in Oregon.

    Illegals commit numerous crimes in Oregon.

    But, go ahead and look the other way, maybe the problems will go away by themselves.

  • Brian (unverified)

    2000 - Democrats are Sexual Perverts 2002 - Democrats are irresponsible with the budget and ethics 2004 - Democrats are all gay 2006 - Democrats are all against America because we don't hate latinos.

    We've heard it all before. No one believes the lies.

  • Patrick (unverified)

    Saxton is more of a threat because he will say anything to be elected and is a blank slate. Mannix at least had a record, which made him more vulnerable to Kulongoski in '02 (and still it was close).

    And like Bush, he's got a mean streak. He said he'd fire every state worker and hire them back the next day in order to break their contract. I wonder if he'll pick the day the snow plows are clearing Hwy 22 over Mt Hood, when the elderly don't need their nursing home inspected or maybe the day the inmates at the state pen don't need guarding.

    Saxton is worse for us too because business had their doubts about Mannix. They love Saxton and will give him the $.

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    Ben Dover: Illegals commit numerous crimes in Oregon.

    Not only that, did you know criminals commit absolutely all crimes in the State of Oregon? In America too! No, I'm not kidding! It's that bad!

    If only someone - someone - would make crime illegal, then we wouldn't have so much of it. Because we all know that if crime is not just criminal, but extra super-de-duper criminal, with extra penalties sprinkled on top, then it just stops.

    Or something.

  • Terry (unverified)

    Way to go, Blue Oregon readers. You've just allowed Bend Over to hijack what might have been a productive and intelligent discussion of Ron Saxton's alarming hard turn to the right in order to win the Republican primary.

    Next time, please don't take the bait. You can start right now by talking about Saxton's reactionary views on education, taxation, and unions. Stay away from hot button issues like abortion. That'll just give another right winger an opportunity to again highjack the conversation.

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    No, Terry--I think BenDover is right: a fair bit of support for Saxton will come from that type of ill-informed, xenophobic Oregonian, and thus making direct refutations of his flimsy principles is exactly what's needed. On issues like PERS and immigration, Saxton is simply a demagogue. Most Oregonians don't think that kicking out all undocumented persons and firing all government workers are smart moves, and the faster Saxton is linked to those radical positions and tarred with their idiocy, the better.

  • Randy2 (unverified)

    ...umm, anyone want to speculate about the state of the state if Saxton wins and the Legislature remain Minnisized?

    DC-style governing in Salem?


  • Brandon (unverified)

    If Saxton wins and Legislature is Minnisized, then that sure as hell explains Pat Robertson's goofy prediction! ;)

  • Karl (unverified)

    I really don't know enough about Saxton yet to know if he's better or worse than Mannix, but I find it really hard to believe that a republican would do anything serious about stopping illegal immigration. It seems to me that they may blow smoke and make noise, but they all want cheap labor. We went through all this before, I think in '87. We got an amnesty, a guest worker program and a bunch of new laws against illegals and employing illegals... none of which have ever been enforced. The Bush plan is the same hollow BS.

    By the way... I understand that 45% of the illegals are here on overstayed visas.

  • Adam Marx (unverified)

    I wish the hystericals blathering about immigration would use 'illegal' as an adjective instead of a noun.

  • Patrick (unverified)

    I wish Blue Oregon bloggers weren't so easily distracted by "moles" like Bend Over who are clearly trying and succeeding in getting you off topic.


  • Ernie (unverified)

    Saxton suffers from foot-in-mouth. No amount of consultants will cure that. Saxton will self-destruct enough to lose in November unless Ben Westlund gets on the ballot. In that case, it could go either way.

    With Sacton on the ballot, labor can't sit this election out. Member numbers are not what's important, it's their get-out-the-vote skills that matter.

    Mannix was more dangerous. He also will say anything and I believe Loren Parks would have given him $1.5-2 million or more. Many neo-cons won't work at all or hardly for Saxton. They know he's a GOP liberal at heart. And let's not forget that all R's will be tarnished in November by their parties' culture of corruption.

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    Saxton will self-destruct enough to lose in November unless Ben Westlund gets on the ballot. In that case, it could go either way.

    I hate to break it to you, but Westlund's gonna be on the ballot. He's got the money to buy the signatures if he has to, but I don't think he will. Getting 30,000 sigs in this environment is not going to be too tough. It's fine to speculate on what will happen on the off chance he doesn't qualify, but I don't think that should be the default position.

    Saxton is gonna give Dems their biggest challenge since Fronmeyer and unless we're ready to pound the pavement, tie Saxton to Bush and the national Republicans, and fight off a Westlund insurgency (which part of me is even tempted to join just because the effort so far has been so pathetic), Ted's gonna be the only incumbent Dem in the whole country who actually loses in what is shaping up to be a very rough year nationally for our friends on the other side of the aisle.

  • myranda (unverified)

    Thanks, Nate, for bringing the conversation around to where it needs to be. And thanks to Pete Sorenson for his pledge to support the Democratis Party candidate, Kulongoski. (Jim Hill, whare are you...?) They key is to paint Saxton as Bush, and Westlund as a spoiler (not a viable candidate).

  • BJW (unverified)

    myranda said: They key is to paint Saxton as Bush, and Westlund as a spoiler (not a viable candidate).

    right, because that's what good partisans do, right myranda? Lockstep behind the party. Wait, isn't that what has everyone pissed at Queen Minnis? No honest debate about issues that matter...just paint the other candidate.

    Is there any way I'd consider voting for Saxton? Hell no. Am I considering Westlund? Absolutely. Will I fall into lockstep with Ted and the party because he/you "paint" Westlund? Hell no. That's the problem with some in the Democratic Party, you think you have to act like the Republicans to win. Voters are smarter than that.

    The fact that you feel you need to "paint" Westlund confirms for me that you are worried...and why would you be worried if Westlund wasn't a viable candidate? Because Westlund IS a viable candidate and he has momentum. Not to mention the slate of editorials and political pundits that said yesterday: with Westlund on the ballot, it's anyone's race.

  • LT (unverified)

    Nate, may I remind you that Dave F. turned out to be a disappointment even to some of those who admired him?

    Like claiming Barbara Roberts as a legislator had "voted against policewomen". But when I called the AG's office and demanded chapter and verse so I could research the vote myself, it turned out that the bill in question did not mention police women, and the campaign had to fall back on "it was something said in committee hearing". Well, if you are going to make that sort of accusation and then not back it up, you tend to look bad if people think that is unfair.

    Dave has done many great things in his life, but no one ever said he had the hard scrabble upbringing of someone like Kulongoski. The Frohnmayers are a well to do family from S. Oregon. And yet, his campaign tried to spread the rumor that "knowing the value of a dollar" was determined by party registration and nothing else. There were people who looked at that race and said "Hmmm, boy from a well to do family, single mother raising an autistic son on a bookkeeper's salary, and you want me to believe that knowing the value of a dollar is not from life experience but shown by party registration??".

    And then there was that infamous "brick through the plate glass window" ad. I think the slogan was "people who live in glass houses" but what I remember is the visual of the brick smashing the glass. That smashed any respect I had for Dave. I put a Barbara bumper sticker on my car after the first time I saw the ad, and if anyone asked, I said I knew both of the candidates but if he was going to run that kind of a brainless ad, I had lost respect for him.

    Add to that Barbara's hard work--as I recall, she spent part of most days during the state fair in front of the Democratic booth.

    This is not about what volunteers have to do, but what candidates have to do. If Dave had run a more inspiring campaign instead of some consultant (can't believe he's really that mean spirited himself) telling him negative campaigns work or some such nonsense, he might hav won. Some say Mobley was a spoiler by getting 13%. But since I don't recall the turnout being 100% of registered voters, had Dave run a more inspiring campaign and convinced 15% of the folks who stayed home to vote for him, Mobley would have been even less of the historical footnote he is now.

    As far as "fighting a Westlund insurgency", the only way to combat his appeal is to answer what he has said multiple times: "We are where we are, muddled in mediocrity" because partisanship has hampered common sense decisions.

    Common sense would say a governor should explain his actions WHILE the legislature is in session (or shortly after Sine Die) rather than waiting for an election year. Common sense says that if you are a challenger and you make a smart aleck remark (like "lay off all the public employees and then rehire them without PERS") and you want to be Governor, you'd better explain why that doesn't alienate all public employees and their friends. And if you have researched such an idea enough to know if that doesn't just invite a lawsuit--as a lawyer ought to know.

    Has anyone heard--is Joe Keating on the ballot (minor party)? I met him over a decade ago. Whatever else anyone thinks of Westlund and Keating, they are not the Mobley and Oerther of 1990--they are considerably smarter and some might see either or both as more in touch with the common sense of ordinary lives of people who did or did not vote in a low turnout primary.

    Elections are at least in part about candidate quality. Candidates who inflict ads and mailers on voters but don't engage in dialogue deserve to lose. Candidates who inspire people, cause them to mention the candidate to their friends, cause them to remember something the candidate said and pass it along to someone else verbally or by email are candidates who deserve to win.

    Would you buy a product from someone who said "You're supposed to buy this" or from someone who convinced you that you were getting good value and something you could really use? There is more of that in politics than some would like to admit.

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    Economic refugees is a bettter description, IMHO. Fix the mess in Mexico. Its the same as "Okies" in the 30s.

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    I honestly don't understand why you jumped on Nate's back. This is suppose to be a civil discussion and everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    Nate did stay that it was pointless to assume Westlund won't make the ballot, because in fact he probably will. I think that's a pretty fair assumption.

    From my understanding, the Westlund campaign has hired paid signature gathers. The fundemental problem with that is that it shows that he doesn't have the broad base support he needs yet to even get on the ballot.

    No one is forcing you to vote any other way that what you want to. Yet you insist on lashing out at those who support Kulongoski. This may be a popular blog for those who are politically active, but the majority of people in the state don't care what's said. My point is what's said on here only makes a diffrence to a select few (ok few thousand).

    I've often agreed with you in the past (whether I've said it out loud or not), but it seems like you've been quite agitiated. This is just an observation.

  • jrw (unverified)

    At first I was leaning toward the possibility that Saxton might be one of those nice, moderate Republicans.

    Then several things happened.

    First, I heard Saxton's position on illegal immigration. Some of my students are Latino kids. They're here legally. Nonetheless, based on their skin color and racial heritage, they're now suceptible to further harassment by the authorities should they so desire. In some cases, parents are worried about disciplining their kids for misbehavior because they're worried about being harassed by the authorities, even though they're legals. They fear, and most likely rightly so, that given the current environment, any steps they take that are approved within their culture will earn them harassment from the Anglo culture--so we have kids who act out knowing that they can hold the authorities over their parents who are first generation immigrants, while the kids know full well they're okay.

    Strike one.

    Next, I read the text of Saxton's comments at the OEA convention. Again, that was enough to convince me that he was genuinely leaning right.

    Strike two.

    And the third item (and the one which put me over the top on voting for Ted instead of holding out for Westlund) was David Reinhard's endorsement of Saxton, because he wouldn't cave to political pragmatism on abortion issues like Mannix would. I know Dave, and while he's a nice enough guy in person, the things he said in support of Saxton were enough to convince me that once again, this fall, I'm gonna hold my nose and vote the party line.

    Unless the polls really show it's a hopeless cause.

    I hope I don't get screwed again.

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    Just read in the Medford Mail Tribune that the powerful educator union, Oregon Education Association endorsed Kulongoski last night.

  • Ben Dover (unverified)

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    LT, whoa there, while I appreciate the history lesson (being somewhat youngish, my knowledge of that election is limited) I was actually just trying to make the very narrow point that it's been 16 years since Dems had to put in any real effort to win the governorship. I didn't mean to imply any real parallels between the two elections other than that.

    Second, I'm not supporting Ted (yet) and so far haven't in any of my posts here. I also did not vote for him in the primary. For the next few months, I'm going to do what I can to support progressive candidates for the House and Senate, and stew about how I feel about the guv. I'm also telling all of my indie friends to sign Westlund's petition (I may even gather sigs myself) partially because I may want to vote for him in November, but mostly because I want Ted and Ron to actually talk about health care and tax reform and actual issues that affect Oregonians and I think if you left it up to the two of them they'd just snipe at each other and pander to the disinterested, disaffected, and disconnected "middle" while trying to stand for as little as possible.

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    Ben has hired Democracy Direct to get signatures. They'll need north of 250 per day to make their goal by the deadline. Their claim is that all the nonvoters are ripe for Westlund. I'm not sure that their being too disaffected to vote is a positive sign for someone who seeks affection, but certainly they have a pool of people to work on.

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    Thanks for the additional information about Westlund's signature drive. It's interesting that he's hired a firm to help him gather enough signatures.

    I thought I heard they had a few thousand already? My guess is he's going to have to try to collect more then the 18,000 or so signatures he needs to account for possible problems when they are verified (much like they do for any ballot measure). So if I were his campaign I'd be shooting for more like 25,000. But that's just my take.

  • LT (unverified)

    mostly because I want Ted and Ron to actually talk about health care and tax reform and actual issues that affect Oregonians and I think if you left it up to the two of them they'd just snipe at each other and pander to the disinterested, disaffected, and disconnected "middle" while trying to stand for as little as possible.

    Given what we saw in the primary, that might be just the motivation some people need to sign Ben's petitions.

    And it may be why Ted is saying he's running against 2 Republicans. If Ben gets on the ballot, then (gasp!) both Ted and Ron will have to speak in more detail--maybe even the level of detail Kitzhaber and Wyden used when they ran.

  • Jonathan (unverified)

    With all due respect Commissioner Sorenston, I lived in Eugene for three years compleating my undergrad education. To make the hateful comment on this blog that Ron is a worse canidate than Kevin will only ensure that my man Saxton will win in November, thanks for the hate commissioner, way to keep with the Eug way...

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