Rumor: Westlund dropping out?

The Oregonian blog is reporting that Ben Westlund may be dropping out of the race.

Amid reports that he is dropping his candidacy for governor, independent Ben Westlund is scheduled a major campaign announcement for 2 p.m. Thursday in the state Capitol in Salem. ...

Clearly, something major was up. Key Westlund supporters were told in advance to be on alert for his announcement and there were reports that he had stopped fund-raising. The news was also circulating among Democratic political circles.

We'll keep you posted as the story develops. Stay tuned right here at BlueOregon.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Gosh, should we start a pool on Westlund's decision or hand out tissues to the grieving Westlund supporters? Westlund's far from robust campaign barely made it to the level of, "Ben who?"

  • No way... (unverified)
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    He's probably just turning in signatures and making a press event out of it to gain more publicity. I could not see him dropping out of the race--though it would be a dream come true.

  • No way... (unverified)
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    He's probably just turning in signatures and making a press event out of it to gain more publicity. I could not see him dropping out of the race--though it would be a dream come true.

  • (Show?)

    Maybe he's announcing that he's switching to the Connecticut for Lieberman party.

  • (Show?)

    Pinch me, I'm dreaming!

    Anyone know if this is going to be televised, or better yet, web-televised?

  • (Show?)

    Wow. If true, it could mean that Ben Westlund has become a real progressive and if so we should welcome him wholeheartedly to the fold.

    The risk with the Westlund candidacy has always been that his stances on the issues appeal to progressives, so he would take votes away from Kulongoski and turn the governor’s office over to Saxton.

    It’s rare that you’ll find a politician who is willing to put the state’s needs before his own. Whether or not you think he could win, he had all the signatures he needed and a viable statewide campaign. So if he does pull out, Westlund would be giving up a three-month statewide platform to talk about the issues he cares passionately about – such as health care and tax reform.

    I can't wait to see what happens and ready to be impressed.

  • (Show?)

    My analysis from the insider scuttlebutt is here, at Loaded O. Shorter me: If he gets up there and says he's dropping out for the good of the order, it's a cover for something else.

  • (Show?)

    Gay Rights Watch says they've confirmed he's out, and will endorse Ted. http://gayrightswatch.com/

  • anon (unverified)
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    The announcement will reported be broadcast by Legislative services here, but not live.

    They will air the interim Education committee meeting and then put the press conference on after that. Perhaps 3pm and should re-air periodically after that as the video loops.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    Torridjoe -

    Its obvious Westlund is dropping out because he's decided he can't win.

    So if he does pull out, Westlund would be giving up a three-month statewide platform to talk about the issues he cares passionately about – such as health care and tax reform.

    If he wanted to talk about issues, he could have started a blog. Until he became a serious candidate with a chance of being elected governor, his views on tax reforms and health care were irrelevant. The only press coverage he was going to get was speculation on how he was effecting the real race for governor.

    This is evidence for what many of us here have been saying here for a long time - the non-partisan middle is not a political base.

  • (Show?)

    is anyone carrying this live, anywhere??? Can't find it...

  • (Show?)

    I am sure the reason he is dropping is because he found out it is a lot harder to gather signatures than people think.

    Welcome to our world Ben.

    yip yip

  • THE WOLFE (unverified)
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    Coyote,

    Don't you mean buy signatures?

    Oh yeah...and shut your trap.

  • (Show?)

    is anyone carrying this live, anywhere??? Can't find it...

    No, I can't find it, either. Everyone is now reporting it, but there's not a word yet on the actual press conference. The O has a screamer headline and a slightly altered version of their earlier report, but no actual data.

    Let me know Torrid--we're trying to get it up, too. (And damn you for trying to get the scoop!)

  • (Show?)

    No I actually mean gather signatures. Pretty standard language.

    Sorry you are so angry Wolfie. And what is the word I am looking for?... uh... "no"

    yip yip

  • (Show?)

    I don't think this has to do with the signatures. Its possible..but I don't think that's it.

    TJ will be writing this up at LO..so I'm gonna let him speak for what we think. But sigs..not likely.

    Btw..I am now officially a pathetic politics/news junkie. I'm supposed to be in bed on pain meds and I can't stand doing it and missing out on all this.

  • (Show?)

    "Let me know Torrid--we're trying to get it up, too. (And damn you for trying to get the scoop!)"

    If I had a dollar for every time BO has scooped us, we wouldn't still be on Blogger, I can tell you that. :)

  • THE WOLFE (unverified)
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    Coyote,

    You know who you are...you're that little fat kid back in the 5th grade that no one liked and in order to hang out with the cool kids anytime you got any information you would yell, "I have a secret, I have a secret."

    You don't know anything special...you aren't special...you are a tool of various Republicans who just use you and throw you away like toilet paper.

    Well I believe it's time to flush.

  • lars (unverified)
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    [comment from someone impersonating lars larson deleted - editor.]

  • THE WOLFE (unverified)
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    Hey Lars,

    Nice to see all the geeky, fat kids have shown up.

  • progvoice (unverified)
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    http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_081006_news_westlund_gov_.16599d7.html

    State Sen. Ben Westlund drops out of Ore. gov. race

    02:30 PM PDT on Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Associated Press

    SALEM -- In a stroke of good luck for Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski, s tate Sen. Ben Westlund, an independent from Central Oregon, said Thursday that he will drop out of the Oregon gubernatorial race.

    Former state Senator Ben Westlund.

    At a hastily called press conference, Westlund told reporters that he didn't want to be a "spoiler" candidate -- skimming off just enough votes from the Kulongoski camp to give Republican challenger Ron Saxton the victory.

    "We have rekindled Oregon's political center. We have shown tens of thousands of Oregonians that they may once again take the helm of their own ship of state," Westlund said.

  • Anonymous (unverified)
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    Hey Lars. Don't you have a job. Maybe if you put half as much effort into your show as you do trolling around, your ratings might not be in the crapper.

  • progvoice (unverified)
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    http://www.oregonlive.com/newslogs/oregonian/index.ssf?/mtlogs/olive_oregonian_news/archives/2006_08.html#170828

    Thursday, August 10, 2006
    

    Westlund Out of Governor's Race Sen. Ben Westlund dropped out of the governor's race on Thursday, saying he feared he would only play the role of spoiler.

    "At the beginning of this campaign, I made a commitment to the people of Oregon that I was in it to win it and that I absolutely would not play a spoiler role," Westlund said at a news conference in Salem.

    "Therefore today, with no regrets but some sadness I am here to honor that commitment. I am proud to keep that promise to the people of Oregon--despite the fact I unquestionably could qualify for the ballot--by announcing my withdrawal from the race for governor."

    Westlund, a Bend independent and former Republican, said he spoke by telephone with the campaigns of both Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Republican nominee Ron Saxon before the announcement. He did not say why he concluded he could not win the race as an independent. But if said "if you look at the political landscape, you see the path to victory has narrowed.

    Westlund has been espousing views closer to Kulongoski than to Saxton. That has led many Democrats to worry that Westlund would be a spoiler who would help elect Saxton.

    Westlund's campaign was in the midst of a signature drive to qualify for the November ballot as an independent. Campaign officials had said they were confident he had enough signatures to qualify, but they haven't yet been verified.

    -- Edward Walsh and Jeff Mapes

  • THE WOLFE (unverified)
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    LOL @ Anonymous

  • Greg P (unverified)
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    Lars: sorry to hear you still have that acid reflux going. Ben doesn't need the job. I am sorry to see someone stepping down who -- to me at least -- was willing to not bow down to silly things like the kicker. Ted tried -- but then his handlers pulled him back.

    But as Adam Davis first reported -- most Oregonians don't know and don't care about elected leaders.(47% didn't know how many US senators there are)

    Those of us willing to engage or care about these issues are a dwindling minority.

  • R. Murphy (unverified)
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    God, Larson is such an inane wing nut.

    The problem is that if the GOP selects someone too "moderate" the fringe right trots out Mary Starrett, and if they nominate too far to the right, they have no shot in the general election.

    Rock and Hard Place, I guess.

  • Brian Grisham (unverified)
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    I question the need for the name calling. Can we drop that?

    I say it because although it didn't show in high poll numbers, there are a good many folks who believe in sweeter partisanship, rather than bitter. In this very flawed game of politics, Ben did a good thing and tried something new. Any legitimate attempt to look for common ground seems a positive thing to me. Ben may not deserve praise all around, but I don't think he, or anyone else, deserves to get personally slammed simply because of a different political bent.

    Having said that, I'd love to hear some political handicapping from others on the race as it now stands.

  • JB Eads (unverified)
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    This couldn't have been in an easy decision -- Westlund and his hard working staff should be proud of their efforts and campaign.

    I would imagine running as an independent here or anywhere else is tough, but inasmuch as it forced innovation and creativity, much of their advertising, online organizing, and earned media were impressive.

    Ben pushed a lot of important issues; now it's up to the other major candidates to articulate how their plans will best improve health care, education and energy security.

  • Independent Thinker (unverified)
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    Let me be the first to suggest that Ben Westlund should consider running for the U.S. Senate against Gordon Smith in 2008.

  • Rodney King (unverified)
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    hey Wolfe, Lars, Coyote, and Anon,

    I don't like reading your insults back and forth. Knock it off please.

    And Westlund had the signatures, almost 3x as many as he needed. This shows Ben to be a stand up guy. He said he wouldn't stay in if he couldn't win it, and he hasn't. Plenty of people across the political spectrum owe him an apology for attacking him as an opportunist. Big Ben is going to be BMOC on campus next session, and if he and Avel Gordly form their independent caucus it'll make things interesting.

    I admire the man. I respect the man. And although I was torn about voting for him, I wanted him on the ballot. This gubnatorial election has just become a snoozer. Luckily there are house and senate races to occupy the news below the fold. (or page A23)

  • (Show?)

    Rodney--he turned in 3x as many as he needed. They haven't been verified, and although under normal circumstances that should have been plenty, no one's tried to gather them under these rules before.

    And maybe I'm spacing, but next session Ben will be at home--he gave up his seat, didn't he?

    How does this not make him an opportunist, again? Maybe he just realizes his opportunity is gone...

    Ditto on the comment insults.

  • THE WOLFE (unverified)
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    Rodney King,

    Come on....you got to say it!

  • (Show?)

    Lars didn't cast the first stone, and, having read the Governor's statement (see latest post), it's hard to argue that he's taken a very big leap in assumptions here.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    Lighten up Rodney.

  • Annie (unverified)
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    No, Ben still has his seat. He ran in 2004 and won with 80% of the vote. So thing's'll be interesting in Deschutes County next cycle.

  • (Show?)

    Torrid, Exactly. One can gather scads of signatures. Yet the hurdles, especially the hurdles that an Independent candidate must follow, are legion.

    Contrary to what some on here may say. I know a leetle about the petitioning process.

    Although I think Westlund is kinda kookie, it would have been fun to see him on the ballot, and not just from a Republican perspective.

    yip yip

  • (Show?)

    Listen up. Whoever it is claiming to be Lars Larson is NOT actually Lars. When Lars wants to comment here, he'll be welcome - but so far, he's never actually commented here at BlueOregon.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    Annie,

    That district will interesting because it will be an open seat after Westlund is finally term limited out in '08.

    Ben is really angling for an appointment. He's worked both governor candidates to auction off his endorsement.

    Like Lane Shetterly, Len Hannon, Max Williams and John Minnis - Ben will be rewarded with his own little fiefdom for his "loyalty."

  • THE WOLFE (unverified)
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    PanchoPdx,

    Term limits won't pass.

    And what you call "loyality" the rest of Oregon calls "doing the right thing."

    Oh yeah...and speaking of "loyality," how's Charles Starr doing?

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    It wouldn't do the D's much good to appoint Ben to a gov't job. That senate district is a pretty safe R seat.

  • (Show?)

    First, Term Limits will pass in a walk. Kansas City just tried to repeal and weaken their TLs locally. Went down hard. The anti-TL vote was a whopping 31%.

    The zenith for anti-TL votes was in California ('02 I believe) where the anti folks recieved 41%. After spending $11 million to the pro-TLs, $1 million.

    Further it is polling 25 points ahead right now. You can put that issue to bed and fight one of the others.

    Pancho is correct in supposing Westlund is angling for an appointment. Just before TLs was tossed by the supremes in '01 Ben was angling for an appointment to be director of the Oregon Arts Commission that he had created during his time as state rep.

    So some committee appointment is fitting with his previous behavior.

  • (Show?)

    polling cite please, Coyote?

  • THE WOLFE (unverified)
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    Coyote,

    I so badly want to illustrate how truly stupid or ignorant you are but all these tree-hugging, Portland liberals would rather we just "Hug it out" as oppose to fight it out like men.

    But I will say this. Term Limits may pass, but by no more than 5%. But you forget that the Court is Strongly Dem and the little term limits bill you wrote....is big time unconstitutional.

    As for Ben being bought off is crap. You needed Ben the race to get Saxton elected and now your boy is going to go down by double digits. So you want to keep any of Oregon red I would advise you to help Karen Minnis. Her Campaign website is: www.speakerminnis.com

    Now go off and spank yourselves with a paddle or do what ever Republicans do.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    So Wolfe,

    Term Limits will pass but the courts ("Strongly Dem" as you put it) will overturn the will of the people? Again?

    I'm glad, at least, that you seem to concede that such an outcome would be political.

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
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    "But you forget that the Court is Strongly Dem and the little term limits bill you wrote....is big time unconstitutional."

    Interesting observation. If the term limit measure passes, it will be struck down because of the Democratic makeup of the Oregon Supreme Court.

    That's exactly the reasoning behind the "Elect Yer Local Supreme Court Judge" measure.

    Yet, this is the same Court that struck down Multnomah County's same-sex marriage licenses, 7-0.

    • Wes
  • THE WOLFE (unverified)
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    PanchoPdx,

    Oh yeah...Courts are never political.

    Sincerely,

    Al Gore for President 2000

    (And it wouldn't be political...it’s called the unconstitutional. You know...the law...it’s that thing that applies to everyone but your President)

  • THE WOLFE (unverified)
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    Wesley Charles,

    The licenses were..............illegal.

    But you don't care about the law as long as we do what you want us to do. I think you should run for Dictator of Oregon.

    Is it possible for you to b**** and moan any more than you do?

  • Anonymous (unverified)
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    There's another Minnis diary at dailykos:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/8/2/94248/13221

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