Across the blogosphere, folks have been asking - "Who is Dennis Richardson?" and "How can we defeat him in 2008?"
So here's the deal with DR. He's an attorney, when he is not in his role of part time legislator. His visibility is universal, as his law firm has a full page ad on the back of the phone directory (QwestDex or whatever it is this year), featureing Dennis in a flannel shirt and jeans in a nice clearing with the wooded (and logged) hills of Southern Oregon in the background...
The district he represents (Northwest Jackson county and a sliver of Josephine... with Central Point being the largest city (along with the towns of Rogue River and Gold Hill)) is solidly red - so much so that getting an opponent to step forward at all is like pulling teeth for the county dems. The guiy who has gone for it the last two times (Richard Koopmans) is not a candidate you are going to mobilize an unseating with.
The county dems don't throw support Koopmans' way at all, and the county-wide races are tight enough that the local political guru, Cathy Shaw, isn't going to allow Koopmans to upset the apple cart and accidently activate any GOP voters to the detriment of other D winnable local races (say the Gilmour commissioner race).
I know we like to think, 'but this is Oregon...', but Bush carried Jackson County, and he carried the precincts that make up HD4 very comfortably, offsetting the precincts that make up HD5 (Peter Buckley's adjacent seat (Jacksonville, Ashland)). This is a county that breaks in favor of the less nice things Oregn voters occasionally get to opine on, like various anti-gay initiatives and POBoR and TABoR crap thast we see here relentlessly.
Richardson is going to be a tough a nut to crack. His voters are part of the remaining 30% that still think we have a good President serving in DC. They are a majority in OR HD4.
In thinking about who lives in that district who has ANY shot, Dr Gilmour might be the only one the Dems could field, but he is clinging to the lone D seat on the County Commission, and honestly he probably couldn't muster a win just in that portion of the county.
So... I suppose we should slam the hell out of his comments. Try to frame them in a way to jar some of his support away. I think our best bet on that seat is to try to take him out with an I rather than a D... he isn't even in a seat where a moderate R on the old Oregon mold of McCall or Hatfield could hope to win the R primary - the Rs in HD4 are of the theocon stripe and aren't at all fans of old school Oregon R tradition.