Ron Saxton throws his hat in the ring

RonsaxtonThis just in. Ron Saxton, who lost the 2002 GOP gubernatorial primary to Kevin Mannix, has announced that he's running for Governor. From the AP:

[Saxton] said he is leaving his post as a commentator for KATU-TV and the Medford Mail Tribune to launch an exploratory campaign for the 2006 race. "Assuming I find the support I expect to find, I will be a candidate," said Saxton.

This comes on the heels of the GOP Dorchester Conference straw poll in which Greg Walden, who's definitely not running, got 52 votes - widely seen as an anti-Mannix vote among GOP faithful. Mannix got 50, and Saxton got 33.

Before it disappears, be sure to check out this archive of Saxton's 2002 campaign website.

(Hat tip to "skinny" who alerted us to this breaking news.)

  • Sal Brown (unverified)

    As a liberal who's never voted for an R, Saxton's one Republican I might be willing to vote for to show my displeasure with Ted K.

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    Ron is the type of R who would probably win a general election over the likes of a Kulongoski, Bev Stein, Jim Hill, or Pete Sorenson. I still think Kitzhaber would beat him but it would be close.

    But can he get through the primary? Probably not. Even if he does, there's probably another Al Mobley waiting in the wings.

  • LT (unverified)

    Here is my modest proposal--why I think Saxton is not a good candidate for Gov. 1) He talks on his 2002 site about living within means while assuring people their kicker checks will still keep coming--but not saying what should be cut to ensure there would be money for that. Contrast that with the Hunt-Berger capital gains tax cut coupled with changes in the corporate income tax and the kicker. The bill is HB 3114. You can find the full text here:

    My sense of Saxton is an allergy to details such that he wouldn't be willing/able to say whether he supports HB 3114 and why. Same for PERS. Mr. "PERS=ENRON" (2002 ad) is unlikely to ever say in public which parts of the PERS court decision he agrees / disagrees with and WHY--too much homework required? What does he specifically think should be done instead?

    2) Kulongoski, Stein, Hill, Sorenson are all former legislators who are identified with big cities. Aside from the rerun factor and the low number of votes at Dorchester, what evidence is there that voters in Washington, Clackamas, Marion, Deschutes or Jackson counties would reward Saxton with their votes?

    2006 will not be 2002 for any number of reasons. There are those in both parties who believe politics is broken, and are looking for concrete proposals rather than slick generalities. What evidence of leadership have Saxton or Sorenson given --compared, for instance, to the above Hunt-Berger legislation? How many voters consider such bipartisan legislation a good thing, and how many prefer partisan polarization?

    For all the flak he got, I think it was a masterstroke for Kulongoski to visit bowling alleys in 2002. Try to imagine any of the other potential candidates doing that sort of thing in counties outside the Portland metro area. I suspect those folks are too down to earth for Saxton's "I have all the answers just as long as you don't ask for details".

    Finally, Saxton has a whiny voice and an attitude that he can explain everything for us and then we should just "think about it" (his closing tagline on KATU). If voters wanted a pontificator to explain it all to them, wouldn't they have chosen Mannix in 2002?

  • Aaron (unverified)

    Ron will have his work cut out for him. He needs too find a way to bring the anti-Mannix conservatives R on his side without pissing off the centrist/liberal R's that are already supporting him.

    The real question for BlueOregon gadflies:

    Do we under cut Saxton, so there is a Mannix-Kulongoski rematch? Or do we find ways to under cut Mannix, so there might be a bloody battle for the centrist voters between Kulongski-Saxton? Or totally ignore the R's, until Feb 16 thru Mar 16, 2006; to see which R's are on the primary ticket?

  • LT (unverified)

    Do we under cut Saxton, so there is a Mannix-Kulongoski rematch? Or do we find ways to under cut Mannix, so there might be a bloody battle for the centrist voters between Kulongski-Saxton? Or totally ignore the R's, until Feb 16 thru Mar 16, 2006; to see which R's are on the primary ticket? I'd say the last choice, because of my belief that in the real world no one pays attention around Easter 2005 to speculation whether 2006 Oregon Gov. election will be a rerun of 2002, Hillary Clinton will be the front runner in 2008, etc. My guess is that this weekend more people are concerned with work, family, where they will have Easter dinner (at home, with friends, etc) and other everyday concerns of 2005.

  • Pedro (unverified)

    We could all hope for Bill Sizemore to run again!

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    Here's a line from his 2002 site which kind of pops out:

    Instead, as co-founder of a law firm, I have spent much of my business life working for clients on issues that affect your lives: energy, manufacturing, food processing and the start-up and growth of small and entrepreneurial businesses.

    Ater Wynne did such a bang up job on the PGE sale, in which it first represented the City of Portland then dropped them when a more lucrative client showed up, who wouldn't to run state government more like this business?

    Saxton's law site also has this line about what he's been working on recently:

    Representation of Sierra Pacific Resources in acquisition of Portland General Electric

    Keep tapping into that Texas Pacific magic, buddy!

  • andrew kaza (unverified)

    I think it's sad when you guys debate about which candidate to "undercut" instead of looking for a candidate that you will truly and unreservedly support. A real sign of the times, I suppose...(sigh) but I do agree with LT that "politics is broken" - perhaps this negativity is part of the problem?

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    Andrew, I agree. The whole notion that BlueOregon people could "undercut" Saxton or Mannix is stupid. That's up to the righties - first rule of politics, when they're self-destructing (again), get out of the way.

    I'm more interested in finding candidates to support. Personally, I'll be working to re-elect the governor.

  • LT (unverified)

    "...perhaps this negativity is part of the problem?"

    Thanks for the agreement, but.... Would this be the same Andrew Kaza who expected to defeat Darlene Hooley in the 2004 primary without having lived here as long as she has, and without specifying why Oregon's veterans would be better off with a freshman not known in most veterans circles rather than Darlene who has the support of many veterans?

    As I may have said before, someone asked me recently "you said you were a registered Indep. for some years, what do you think of the Gov. race?".

    My response was that Ted K. had built up a large resevoir of good will over the years and the only way anyone could seriously challenge him was to have someone of the caliber of Max Williams, Ben Westlund, or John Kitzhaber. Someone who has visited Oregon's smaller communities and realizes they are not all like Portland.

    Since there is currently no one like that on the horizon and it is Easter weekend, my thoughts are more about family and Easter dinner tomorrow than on who will file next year.

    But the smart candidate will do as Ferrioli did in supporting Heffernan over AuCoin in the recent Forestry Board debate. Just as there was talk on a recent West Wing episode of the value of running a positive campaign for a change, I have more respect for those who build bipartisan coalitions with a concrete purpose (Retain Heffernan for Forestry Board is an example)than those who merely attack.

  • LG (unverified)

    LT talking about a whiney Saxton is like the pot calling the kettle black. I'm tired of reading your posts. You suck.

  • andrew kaza (unverified)

    Yeh LT, this is the same Andrew Kaza, the guy who's only lived in Oregon 30 yrs. (but then Rep. Hooley is 23 yrs. my senior). You're right, I didn't focus on veterans issues but I ran a positive campaign that give D primary voters a choice for the first time in eight yrs. and I have no regrets about it. I'm still no big fan of hers (maybe if I was a veteran, I would be). In my book, Saxton would have had a better chance running against her than for Guv. But 5th District Rs are likely to continue to "self-destruct" with hard-right conservative candidates in both races, thus making the point moot.

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    I think it's sad when you guys debate about which candidate to "undercut"

    Anderw, my post about Ater Wynne's less than ethical handling of the PGE sale wasn't intended as a response to Adam's earlier "undercutting" comment- even though I do think that ratepayers- both Rs and Ds- would have been hurt had his firm been successful.

    Having said that, no, the only impact Ds attacking Saxton in a R primary would have is to shore up Saxton's conservative credentials and actually helping him convert skeptical primary voters. Bad idea, on many levels.

    We should focus on our game, not get too clever by half.

  • KazaSucks (unverified)

    A positive campaign? Good one, Kaza. Last time I checked, running a campaign that's based on the single ad-hominem attack "She's is Republicrat" isn't exactly "positive". But keep it up. I find your sanctimonious blather entertaining.

  • Christopher Nicholson (unverified)

    Now, I only know as much about Oregon politics as I've read over the past year and a half, but the sense that I've gotten from the political science professors at my school (Reed, that bastion of liberalism) is that if Mannix goes up against Kulongoski, Mannix will win. Again, this is just what my political science professors have been telling me.

    I've met Kevin Mannix once or twice, and he's an amazing speaker who would be a terrible governor because of what he might do to this state.

    It gets to me a little bit when I hear talk about how Democrats have to play nice and run positive campaigns. The only way Gray Davis got re-elected in 2002 is because he went after Dick Riordan in the primary. We have to be just as willing as the Republicans to play dirty, because otherwise our minority will soon be completely powerless, and we'll have no hope of regaining the majority. I'm not sure Kulongoski can beat Ron Saxton, but from what i've heard from the people I trust, I don't like his chances against Mannix.

    The problem with driving the Republican party to the right, is that every so often (and more and more often these days) they win, and we end up with people like Bush as President instead of McCain. I'm not a fan of Ron Saxton, but politics in a primary system with plurality voting is a lesser of two evils question.

    Question: If the GOP wins this election, would you rather have the winner be Ron Saxton or Kevin Mannix?


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