Will Gordon Smith drop out - and run for Governor?

By Ernie Delmazzo of West Linn, Oregon. Ernie is a consumer advocate, an injured worker, and a website developer. He's also a Democratic Party activist who has worked on numerous campaigns as a volunteer or paid staffer.

Editor's note: This comment appeared on the post What does Joe Trippi think?. It's a compelling notion, so we're upgrading it to its own thread.

Here are my thoughts. I believe Smith will run for governor in 2010. He may even not seek reelection in '08. Why?

His business, Smith Frozen Foods, has to be less financially profitable due to, ironically, Free Trade Agreements and other Republican policies. Smith is restricted in managing the company due to his Senate job. As examples, he can't put his name on a company loan or line of credit and his receiving federal government subsidies and contracts would bring controversy.

As governor, little to no legal restrictions would apply and he could operate every aspect of Smith Foods, perhaps putting it in better shape during the two years while simultaneously having much more time to run for governor.

He's also in the minority party and so far it looks like Democrats will gain senate seats in '08. No committee chair for Gordy!

Senate incumbency has huge advantages at the polls while he'd have less advantage in a run for governor. If he was a senator in 2010 and ran for governor, he’d upset many voters. If he didn’t run in ’08 he’d have time to mind fences with Republicans and neo-cons if a Democrat got his seat. He’d be the most well known Republican in the primary and would play that up to gain support. R’s want the governorship really bad after decades of defeat.

There’s more power in governorship than being one of one hundred and being in the minority party.

Democrats in control means more time spent in D.C. That means less time for Smith to be with his family.

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    As I am not yet in the major loops of Oregon political circles, are there any behind-the-scenes conversations happening amongst those who would know?

  • Russell (unverified)

    I wouldn't doubt for a minute that Gordon Smith would attempt a run at governor. Smith dropping out of the Senate race is a bit unbelievable; but maybe if he's out of the political spotlight for a couple years, he'd be a more marketable moderate...Giving up his incumbency would make the Democrats' job a lot easier in 2008... Either way it should be fun defeating him in whatever office he pursues.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    "...he'd be a more marketable moderate..." Smith's a moderate? He may have voted like a moderate on a few occasions, but his complete record indicates he is more conservative than moderate. Instead of speculating on Smith becoming governor in 2010, let's focus on getting rid of him and his banality in 2008.

  • Michelle (unverified)

    In the back of my mind is the fear he will run for President!

  • abc (unverified)

    wishful thinking on Gordo.

    word is DeFazio is in for '08...

  • Tony (unverified)

    abc... where is the "word" coming from? not questioning, it would be exciting news

  • Coast Guy (unverified)


    Its funny you say DeFazio is in, when he said EARLY on that he was out. He is too much of a safe player to risk a chairmanship in the House on a hard Senate race.

    -Coast Guy

  • abc (unverified)

    just passing along what i heard today from someone who i think is in the know. only single sourced so far...

  • i know these thngs (unverified)

    Walden, not Smith, in 2010.

  • libbie (unverified)

    This from the guy who was for the war then not for the war and then voted twice for the war. I do believe he is more than confused. Deranged maybe? Big public statement of how he wasn't going to support the occupation andy more and then turn around and vote against even debating the occupation. I think we should send him to Iraq and stick him in the middle of Baghdad. this from the guy who voted with Frist and Bush on every conservation issue and then for publicity purposes, played it big on not getting the timber dollars. who is this guy? He's not even senatorial material let alone governor or president.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    Looking at the track record of GOP candidiates for OR gov. in the last 21 years, it is hard to beleive that either Smith or Walden would give up their seats to run for governor, unless they really decide that they don't like living in D.C. Thus far, they haven't revealed that distast. However, with congressional families increasingly left behind while the member lives in D.C. during the week, and the Democrats deciding that congress should put in a full work week like everyone else, one can imagine that Smith or Walden might want a change, especailly as they are in the minority. I remember a Pendelton politican who knows Smith fairly well telling me ten years ago that there was no doubt in his mind that Smith would one day run for president.

  • Ernie Delmazzo (unverified)


    If anyone outside Smith's very inner circle knows, it's Kevin Mannix. Mannix bought the domain MannixForOregon.us on 1/4/2007 even though he didn't renew the .net in October. The .us is the official country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the United States within the global domain name system (DNS). It's not a popular TLD.

    Since I don't believe Mannix's ego could handle being 1 of 435 in the House and he's turned down past chances to run against Darlene Hooley, perhaps he knows or suspects something.

  • Nate Westview (unverified)

    Are you F#$%ing nuts. No Republican would support smith for Governor. I would rather see another 4 years of Kulo than a 4year term for smith.

    Nate W Republican PDX

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    Not sure what happened to my [post, but I'll try again!

    Thank you Mr. Delmazzo.

    Given the conservative core of many areas of Oregon, I could see Smith garnering enough support to make a run for governor. Particularly if he lies a bit low for those two years, distancing himself from the Iraq flip-flopping. Even with the current wave of political awareness and determination, voters tend to have short memories.

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    Smith is not stepping down. I also doubt the speculation that Smith would run for Gov. Walden is more likely to throw his hat into that ring IMHO. I have heard the Earl is seriously eyeing Smith's seat, but I think DeFazio would be a better candidate for that seat were he to decide to make a go of it.

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    Actually we broke the news on NWRepublican back on Nov. 12.

    ...That Greg Walden was going to be running for Governor.

    The guy constantly travels back home to his district and it is wearing on him.

    He recently made some changes at his radio stations to better prepare for a run.

    So I know you guys really like looking for new reasons to hate Gordon Smith, let's just put this topic to bed right now eh? Smith aint runnin for Governor.

    So, now ya'll have to find a new reason to hate, though I know it won't be hard. I know... Why not hate his hair?

    yip yip

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    Coyote... That's cute - "broke the news". Unless you've got anything other than your own speculation, then you haven't broken any news.

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    Kari, It is more than my own speculation. If you would have read my blog post you would have read that it was based on a lunch discusion amongst some of the Republican political and business players.

    They had actually got together about a week before the general election afte reading the writing on the wall.

    Walden has a top gun working for him or with him on this project now. Watch, he won't run for reelection.

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