Gubernatorial Debate: The Gloves Come Off

BoxingglovesLast night, Governor Kulongoski faced off with his two primary rivals - Lane County Commish Pete Sorenson and former State Treasurer Jim Hill. The debate was combative and tense.

From the Oregonian:

Two Democratic challengers to Gov. Ted Kulongoski let loose on the incumbent Thursday, charging that he failed to make progress on Oregon's biggest problems and should be replaced. In the first debate of the primary to feature all three Democrats running for governor, Jim Hill and Pete Sorenson relentlessly attacked Kulongoski, from how he handled increasingly crowded schools to Willamette River polluters. ...

Kulongoski, widely considered the frontrunner, gave as good as he got, saying he helped move the state toward prosperity after one of its worst recessions. He accused his opponents of distorting his first term record, bristling especially at their comments that he hasn't been a good Democrat. "Sometimes we forget who our real opponent is," he said.

But he saved his strongest zinger for last, saying he's the only one who has been actively trying to solve the problems they accused him of helping create. "There's been a lot of finger-pointing here tonight," Kulongoski said. "That's the difference between us. It's the difference between talking and doing."

Discuss.

  • LT (unverified)
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    I want an Oregon where candidates address problems, not talk about themselves or their opponents.

    I want an Oregon where candidates speak specifically to those with less than average income, the unemployed and underemployed. How are such people supposed to feel better by being told the "average" earnings went up when they struggle to make ends meet? Or don't they matter because some consultant somewhere has decreed that as your age and your income rise, so do your odds of voting--therefore all politicians should speak only to those above a certain age and pay grade?

    I want an Oregon where politicians address HOW as well as WHAT--from what they want to do to crack down on crime (add jail terms, pay for state troopers, and still not find new revenue because of the magical "be careful and disciplined about spending"? )to how they intend to pay for education and services to the neediest among us incl. DD clients who can't care for themselves. I want Democrats to challenge House Republicans by asking "OK--how are you going to pay for all this?--in detail, not just talking points" rather than being worried that big bad McIntire or CSE / FreedomWorks might go after them.

    I want an Oregon where statistics are used not as a debate killer, as in "look at these statistics and you will see we have done well". Not all people's lives match the statistics.

    I want an Oregon where the old QUESTION ASSUMPTIONS bumper sticker is honored, not an Oregon where we are told to accept an assumption and debate from there.

    I want an Oregon where more detailed debates are in public, not "in a negotiation room" behind closed doors---or we deserve to publicly hear the reason why decisions must be made behind closed doors and not debated in public.

    I want an Oregon where politicians begin their statement with "After my opening statement I look forward to answering your questions"--and then actually give responsive answers to ordinary citizens.

    I want an Oregon where a politician can speak for 3 minutes without using a personal pronoun.

    I want an Oregon where the corporate kicker is used to fund education, and we have an open public debate on corporate tax burden vs. individual tax burden.

    I want an Oregon where the State Employment website and process work as well as Career Builder, Simply Hired, and Craigslist. Or the people in charge of state government explaining why those websites are more effective. Just how many job seekers have found jobs thru iMatch and State Employment vs. the other websites, local ads, networking, etc.? Or aren't we supposed to ask such tough questions because employment statistics in Oregon are rising?

    As an auditor's daughter, I want an Oregon where audit results are explained and problems corrected, not an Oregon where public officials say "isn't it great" that something vague like "creating jobs" or "outsourcing to prevent the growth of government" took place and no oversight is needed. http://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-14/1144394648302920.xml&storylist=orlocal Audit finds ODOT overspent in use of outside consultants 4/7/2006, 12:15 a.m. PT The Associated Press

    I want an Oregon where we should applaud the authors of SB 382 last year and demand to know why there wasn't a more public debate on this and other tax reform proposals. NOT a campaign where everyone talks about which candidate helps or hurts which other candidate as if We The People think elections are really about 2 sides playing chess rather than a job interview which helps ordinary voters make decisions. If ordinary folks are complaining there is too much arguing and not enough solving problems, which of the candidates running for Gov. is really addressing that?

    Finally, I want an Oregon where the moderator of last night's debate deprived the candidate who has been whining about press treatment of the opportunity to do that anymore--by playing that candidate's opening statement from last night's debate on his morning program first, before playing the statements of the contenders who have already been elected to statewide office more than once.

  • TrueBlueOregonian (unverified)
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    Perhaps, LT, Mr. Hartmann played Commissioner Pete Sorenson's opening statement first this morning because he was selected to deliver the first opening statement last night. Deprived? Give me a break.

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    My impression comes down to the old truism: the smaller the differences, the nastier the tone.

    In a debate largely about strategy on how to achieve goals they all agreed was best - their top three goals as Governor were nearly indistinguishable - each candidate did themselves a disservice by making the argument personal.

    Sorenson sounded flat out whiny, angry, and out of touch, as he pretended that he "could not believe" that he couldn't find "5 good Republicans" to defy Minnis in the House to get Democratic legislation through. (Has this man even visited Salem in the last 5 years?!?) His attacks against Kulongoski were both personal and non-specific, almost always focusing on problems of the State, not concrete realistic solutions that wouldn't be immediately reversed by initiative.

    The statements Kulongoski's had pre-written were strong but carefully measured, and he did have some good responses to some specific criticisms. I was particularly impressed with his defense of the Cascade Locks casino siting, saying that the Indian Gaming Act tied his hands, and he faced the choice "not whether to build a casino, but where". Still, his off-the-cuff anger was both disconcerting and disappointing. (Here's a clue Governor, if you want people who don't agree with you 100% to vote for you out of party loyalty, you'd better show some party loyalty in return -- the answer to Hartman's question "Will you support the winner of the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary, if it isn't you" has only ONE right answer, and it's not "I'll write in Kitzhaber".)

    At first Hill was the most measured, and sometimes even funny, even though he, like Sorenson, seemed completely divorced from the reality that Republicans also live in this state, and can get demogaugic tax-giveaway initiatives passed seemingly at a whim. Halfway through the debate, he'd won over my 15 year old daughter. But then, in his he lost her with the inexcusable statement that "in the entire hall", there was only one person who was not a Democrat: "Kulongoski". Wow. Beyond the pale.

    All in all, not the best night for any of them. They were all too thin-skinned and sorely missing gravitas. But if I had to pick a winner, I'd say Kulongoski, if only because this debate didn't change the election dynamics. He did show up, and wasn't knocked down.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    Totally agree w/Steven. Ted really defended himself (what Sorenson called "excuses") on specific critisims. Sorenson made me laugh a couple times when he raised his voice at inexplicable times. I felt tired every time Jim Hill spoke. Hill and Sorenson seem to think the only way to win this is to be mean. I don't get it. Where's the vision? Started out bad w/Hills, "nice to see you finally show up to one of these." Ugh. ...and I honestly went into this w/open ears. I was surprised at how well Ted did.

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    Hill and Sorenson are thin in real solutions and thick with cynicism. Pete and Jim, hurling tasteless personal comments recklessly throughout the debate does not a good Governor make. Picture either one of them in important negotiations and you get the picture. It was a tiresome evening. Governor Kulongoski was a class act and combative when he had to be. We saw a weak field of wantabee's showed their true colors during the debate this time around. Review Ted's accomplishments and future plans, then review what Mannix, Atkinson and Saxton stand for. We'll be voting soon.

  • Democrat (unverified)
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    I was at the debate. It appears we all have a different perspective of the debate. In my opinion, Hill gave the best reasons for changing direction. "Leadership" & "Standing Up to Special Interests" and "standing up for working families." Kulongoski clearly was angry and upset that he was being challenged on his positions to not reduce toxics in our rivers and streams and to cut pension benefits of workers after promising not to. Can't take the heat? Get out of the kitchen.

    As a Democrat and a native Oregonian, I want to elect a leader that will again make me proud to be a Democrat and proud to be an Oregonian. Oregon has continually slipped backwards. It is time to move forward with a progressive leader. Jim Hill has my vote.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    If Ted doesn't win this primary we're screwed. Vote for Ted - get out and volunteer for democrats running for state legislature -then perhaps he can get something done in Salem.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Katy, if you are involved in Ted's campaign, please advise the folks you know that a primary win is not an entitlement. Ted needs to be out more answering questions in public, like why Oregonians with below average incomes should be thrilled that the average income has risen and therefore the current Gov. should be re-elected based on that statistic whatever is going on in their own lives.

    And that those of us who recall the 1982 Gov. general election worry we are seeing the same thing all over again.

    Except this time there is an appealing, mainstream Independent candidate who could well become the 2nd Indep. Gov. if the strategy of "Vote for Ted or else" turns off more voters than it gains.

  • MarkDaMan (unverified)
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    "Leadership" & "Standing Up to Special Interests" and "standing up for working families."

    Those are so tired. They mean nothing!

    I want to hear how they can help me finish off my last few years of college in Oregon. I want to hear how they can offer comprehensive insurance to those that currently don't have it. I want to hear how they plan to bring more companies and jobs to Oregon. I want to hear how they will bring Oregon back to being the leader in this country, instead of the follower.

    I want to hear more! Hill and Sorenson are the challengers they need to offer more than stupid Karl Rove lines to change my mind. I still see no reason not to support Kulongoski '06.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    Totally not involved in Ted's campaign. Like I said, I went into the debate last night w/open ears and I agree w/you that Ted needs to be doing more of this. I say we're screwed if Ted doesn't win the primary simply because after last night I honestly don't see how in the world Sorenson or Hill can win in the general. Not because Ted's the incumbant but because neither of them seem to have what it takes - and they've gone so negative it's painful. I don't see a clear vision from either campaign, nor do I see the charisma. Just a humble opinion from someone who happened to be in attendance last night.

  • Jesse O (unverified)
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    I'm also so tired of every gubernatorial candidate (D and R) promising the clean up the Willamette and then failing to do so. Ted among them.

    Ted screwed us with trying to expand Measure 37, he screwed us with not pushing hard on the Willamette, and he was pretty much an absent governor during the legislature. There's a difference between talking and acting, and Ted's the talker.

  • LT (unverified)
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    A word about anger--whether or not it is justified.

    Consider this: Carol M. Braun was an underfunded primary candidate who only had the money to run ads the weekend before the election. The other candidates had worn themselves out running negative ads, and by the time she was able to afford to run one positive ad (couldn't afford to produce multiple ads) people turned to her as an alternative to send a message to those running the nasty ads. She only lasted one term, the Republican who replaced her only lasted one term, and the young Senator from Illinois who now holds that seat speaks of peacemaking, concrete solutions, and speaking to all citizens, not just certain groups. He talks seriously but also is capable of humor.

    In 2004, "Young John Edwards--too inexperienced to have a chance" came in 2nd in Iowa after Dean and Gephardt made the mistake of attacking each other rather than proposing hope and solutions to voters.

    This year the R candidates are angry there are still any taxes collected in Oregon, the D candidates are angry at each other, and there is a positive candidate with a website full of solutions run by a cheerful Independent st. senator who offers hope to others.

    If Westlund gets on the ballot with more signatures than anyone imagined, it may be as simple as ordinary voters saying they are tired of polarization.

    I am old enough to remember when this song was new--time to think about it again:

    Come gather 'round people Wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept it that soon You'll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you Is worth savin' Then you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin'.

  • MarkDaMan (unverified)
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    Westlund is a very interesting prospect. I've heard both D's and R's expressing interest in the guy.

    Would he really be that bad? I'd like to hear more from him too!

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    A developing trend during this primary season is piling on Governor Kulongoski. I don't mind his rivals taking shots at his record, but I'm offended by people questioning his character. I've never met the man, but based on his long record of service and every public event I've seen him at, he seems like an absolutely wonderful person.

    Dems, at the very least, should recognize that.

  • Democrat (unverified)
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    Jeff, you have to be kidding? Protecting someone who won't protect your water (he worked against eliminating toxic mixing zones), will let Bush take care of health care (thinks it's a national issue vs. a local one as he said last night), and supported far worse land use changes than even Measure 37 brought us. Why would you be protecting the current governor from his own troops? And you have to ask yourself - why he needs protecting in the first place? The truth is the emporor has no clothes.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jeff, as someone who changed registration from Indep. to Dem. to vote in the 2002 primary for Ted, I knew my old friend was a wonderful person.

    But the re-elect campaign does itself no favors by claiming that those of us who supported him in 2002 have no right to be disappointed or question the wisdom of anything Ted has done since he was sworn in.

    That is not an attack on character.

    If Ted wants me to support Ben Westlund,(or for that matter if Jim wants that) they should keep saying no one has the right to question anything they say, and cracks about an opponent are really what we want in a Governor.

    Ted should say "You who have below average incomes, I understand that a statistic showing average incomes going up does not impress you, and I will be glad to answer your questions", not "Oregonians should be happy average income has increased".

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    Ted had his chance as governor and IMO has demonstrated that he's little more than a cypher.

    Where was he during the last legislative session? The Democrats should have been running Salem..yet the GOP was running roughshod all over the place. Kulongoski showed absolutely no leadership. He's an utter dissapointment.

    I disagree with Katy as well. We are hardly "screwed" by not having Kulongoski as the candidate. I think Hill could run a highly effective race. I know conservatives in Eastern Oregon who admire him for his financial acumen and would gladly vote for him.

    Even Sorenson..as poor as his campaign has been managed so far..could beat any of the Republicans currently running, IMO.

    And I'm still very skeptical that Westlund can mount anything of a challenge once it gets down to it. His record shows a conservative streak that despite what's coming from the campaign is going to be tough to dodge.

  • Jeff L (unverified)
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    Carla,

    You nearly made me spit out my coffe with that laughable line, "Sorenson could bean any of the Republicans currently running." Hahahahaha! Are you joking? Oregon's a big state and I find it hard to believe that folks outside of Portland or Eugene will vote for him. And simply because you know a couple people in Eastern Oregon who admire him doesn't mean he could win a state-wide race. Jim Hill has absolutley no charisma.

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    Aren't we getting a little tired of the stance taken by LT on questioning candidates? Most folks hanging around the water cooler question and read and think about candidates before they vote. Every single time a contributer says "vote for Governor Kulongoski," LT makes the leap and assumption that the contributor hasn't thought through their support of him. Well I have.

    Oregon turned the corner in recovering from the past recession because of the leadership of one man, Ted Kulongoski. There have been strong gains in personal income and job growth. Oregon has the 5th fastest job growth in America right now. Growth in personal income was 5.8% in 2005. Unemployment is at the lowest rate in the past 5 years. Oregon is back, thanks to Governor Kulongoski. Job growth is the strongest it's been since 1997. Under Ted, the personal and corporate income taxes will gain in revenues up by $188 million and $86 million. Under Ted Oregon has invested wisely and Oregon has taken agressive steps to help the economy to grow. Ted has agressively promoted Oregon for high-tech research, development and manufacturing. Under Ted the state of Oregon has invested a record $500 million dollars in capital construction at Oregon's community colleges and public universities, expanding learning opportunities and creating more than 8,0000 construction jobs. All this, while Hill and Sorenson whined and offered no plans or visions in last night's debate..but they were filled with bitterness. Maybe Hill was just upset because he had to pay campaign finance penalties dating back to his failed run for Governor in 2002. His campaign delivered a check to the elections division, one day after the Willamette Week reported that Hill had not paid the bulk of his campaigns penalties. Neither Sorenson or Hill can say with certainity what value they would add to the betterment of our state. Ted has demonstatively added value to our state, I hope he will be allowed the opportunity to continue to do so for 4 more years.

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    Point taken Jeff, but for every LT there's a paulie.

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    One thing Ted has been pretty lousy at is PR. That could be because he didn't do anything ans several commenters have opined, or it coiuld be because he was addressing more important issues.

    I'm pretty clear that Ted ain't no Bill Clinton quality schmoozer, but that has to do with.......er......reelectability rather than actual accomplishments or good governance....

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    Picture Peter Sorenson with a sense of humor and a sharp tongue. That person could take the entire state. Anger and acrimony, even if truth based, won't get him to 50% plus one......

    I'm convinced that he's correct on a lot of issues, although he seems to have this idea that we should be spending on this this and this without addressing the elephant in the room, how will you get the money.

    Tightening up a couple of corporate loopholes does not a budget make for any of the seven of them.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Paulie, Sorry you are getting tired of me. But about this: Oregon turned the corner in recovering from the past recession because of the leadership of one man, Ted Kulongoski.

    the problem is there are people who were employed when they voted for Ted and later were laid off. If those people have yet to find full time work, should they just shut up because not finding work is their own fault--after all, Oregon has turned the corner and average incomes are up?

    The Ted K I knew more than 20 years ago would find it in himself to say somewhere, sometime, that the average income doesn't mean there are not Oregonians who are financially struggling.

    But this Ted seems to think we are supposed to rejoice in statistics and not talk about what we actually see happening. An LA I knew last year said legislators were so wrapped up in themselves they had no clue what ordinary Oregonians cared about. The 2 major party debates make it sound like that applies to major party candidates for Gov.

    Gathering around a real water cooler in a real office implies an office job. Lots of Oregonians work part time / multiple jobs (if at all) in occupations where there is no office water cooler.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Yeah... Oregon turned the corner in recovering from the past recession because of the leadership of one man, Alan Greenspan.

    Job growth is up partly because Bush emptied out a bunch of jobs by sending the employees to go fight in Iraq. Job growth is up in larger part because the Fed lowered the prime rate to practically zero.

    How do jobs not get created in a situation like that?

  • Robert (unverified)
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    I attended the debate last evening....and, thank you #290 Union Folks for hosting.....I thought the only candidate worth listening to was JIM HILL....What a breath of fresh air....Solid, calm, (some might say boring, but no less passion than the other two clowns), smart, compassionate, and totally committed and dedicated to making Oregon strong again.....Ted was angry, and Pete was Pete. Why would Ted get so angry when confronted with the facts from other candidates.....Why is he so defensive? Jim Hill has my vote.... Come on Dems ..wake up. Did you not hear Ted say that he would NOT -I say, NOT vote for one of the current Democratic Gov. candidates....His answer to the question on supporting one of the other candidates in the general election was NO....I will not support the Democratic nominee in the general election....

    That does not sound like loyality to me....Maybe Jim HIll is right when he was stated that "Ted has not been a good Democrat! Ted is "old school".... Time for a change... Go Jim Hill!!!!.....and if Peter Sorenson wins the primary, I say, Go Peter!!!!!!!!!!

  • Katy (unverified)
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    He said he would write in Kitzhaber, and it was hilarious. Are you kidding? Jim Hill wasn't angry? I like Jim Hill & think you're right about his smarts and compassion(although you're right, I found myself getting sleepy every time he spoke)but he seemed the angriest to me. He's gone so negative, it's a turn off.

  • Michael (unverified)
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    I agree with Robert...thanks for making it clear. Ted was asked "will you support the democratic candidate for governor?", if not you. Ted said no.....can you believe he said no! I don't care who he intends to write in....(Kitz, Clinton, McCall) I guess he might vote republican or independent... But as he said last night, he will not be voting for the democratic candidate.. Sad... Maybe everything we have been hearing about Ted is right.... Thanks Jim and Pete for bringing these issues to our attention... You both have my vote.. Thanks for being loyal dems!

  • Katy (unverified)
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    The question was not will you vote for the cadidate, it was "regardless of the outcome of the primary, do you pledge to ENDORSE the democratic candidate."

    Seems his humor was lost on some folks - most of the people in the room last night laughed out loud at his answer.

    DPO has the audio for the entire debate up on the their website if anyone wants to hear for themselves.

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    LT, I am not tired of you, I am tired of your reflexive stance when ever any contributor writes they support Kulongoski. My poorly made point is, most contributors here are thinking, qustioning, reading and listening before they cast their vote. The Governor is fully aware that some Oregonians are struggling, that's why he has workforce reports sent to him, why he spends hours and hours recruiting companies to come to Oregon. Oregonians are happy to get work at the new Lowes disribution center, or at Amy's kitchen, or the expanded ODS, or the Royal Caribbean Center, GenenTech, MathStar, Google, Yahoo, Wachovia, Country Coach, Keystone RV, Sun Microsystems, and Sabroso Corporation..all here, expanding and providing jobs because of Ted's focus on growing the economy here in Oregon. States are in heavy competition for wooing companies to their states. Typically, a company looks at over 100 sites across the United States, narrows their choices to 2 or 3 states then makes a decision. Ted has been hammering on job creation for the unemployed and underemployed all the time he's been in office. Longterm labor forecasts can help jobseekers who must develop their skill sets to match the jobs available. For instance, health care is showing strong growth, professional and business services are growing, retail will grow slowly, and construction and manufacturing will grow. The question aked in an earlier post,"How do jobs not get created in a situation like this?" gets an easy answer, just look at other states and it's obvious that Ted has led Oregon to be the 5th fastest growing economy in America. Forty-five other states are trying to do what Oregon's done. Governor Kulongoski brought $7.5 billion into the state's economy last year alone because of the success of Brand Oregon and the growth in tourism.

    One of the untold stories is by a manager at a large manufacturing facility. He had over 100 applicants for several new positions. Only three applicants passed the drug screening. Some ompanies are desperate for workers. Oops, that must be Ted's fault..wait, isn't he's leading the charge to shut down meth labs.

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    A quick comment about relying on "fastest growing economy" assertions: usually that which grows fastest, is on the rebound from having crashed the hardest. It's easy to show high percentage rates of growth, when your baseline is no growth or a recession. Given how much further back Oregon fell during the early part of the 21st century, it's not only logical but expected that things would advance faster in the recovery here than elsewhere--there's more ground to make up.

    That said, given the dismal state of OR's finances and the way in which things were hamstrung by existing law and a divided legislature, it's not unfair to give Ted some of the credit for the current resurgence. And his efforts to bring companies into the state havd a direct impact on that resurgence, I'd wager.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "Develop their skill sets to match the jobs available". Hmmm. So there is no problem other than the mismatch of skills? And of course under our wonderful Governor, iMatch skills has such great success matching skilled people with jobs that there are statistics on the number of people matched under that system and it competes with those who have gotten interviews via Career Builder, Craigslist, Simply Hired?

    It couldn't be that some jobs have too many applicants to deal with, while others (esp. in health care) have too few? Should we all get health care training because every Oregonian who is not employed full time would do an excellent job in any health care position they are willing to be trained for? Some jobs require typing over 45wpm or lifting over 25 pounds. If unemployed people try hard enough, will they be able to qualify for those jobs, or is it possible some will never type at 45wpm and some (esp. over a certain age or of a certain build) are just not cut out for lifting 25 lbs or more on a regular basis? Could it be that college grads with experience in a couple different areas need to be retrained in other areas and of course at the end of the training there will be jobs for those people?

    Paulie, when was the last time you went job hunting? There are employers who interview and never get back to those interviewees--not enough time, they claim. Other employers find a soft spot in the hearts of applicants--the notify all who interviewed when someone is hired, and rarely but sometimes even say "we hired someone with more experience" or something like that.

    Often, there are equally qualified finalists and those who don't get the job are not told what tipped the balance in favor of the person hired (sometimes the person hired knew someone already working there).

    It seems to me that Ted Kulongoski wants us to believe he has done great things (as long as we don't question whether he did enough or details like how he did it) and we should trust his proposals--conveniently outlined in an email which went out last night, including:

    • to make health coverage available to every child in the state, and health care more affordable for every person in the state; and

    • to develop and fully fund an education system that guarantees that every child in Oregon has the same opportunity I had.

    Apparently loyal Democrats are not supposed to ask how health care for kids will happen if people who work in the capitol tell us when and which taxes or tax reform we are allowed to discuss publicly--and when "the voters have spoken" therefore individuals should shut up. As I recall, Ted was one of those in the capitol telling us taxes were not an allowed topic for debate in 2005.

    And does Ted have an education proposal other than a certain percentage of tax revenues to schools but questions about the details shouldn't be discussed in public? Will legislators in an election year buy into a proposal that vague?

    I've been around a lot of hotly contested primaries, and am basically sitting this one out. My political activistism is mostly concentrated on helping legislative candidates.

    Paulie and everyone else, if you think Ted is the one, then by all means spend your spare time working on his campaign.

    But as someone who has been around politics for a long time, my message is that peer pressure politics doesn't work. It was tried 10 years ago in the US Senate campaign after the May primary. The response was people opting out of the partisan contest: jokes were made like " you mean you're not going to choose between the slick one and the chinless one, you're voting 3rd party?"

    What I am is pro-debate. I want to see the Democratic nominee, the Republican nominee, and Westlund (and if Joe Keating has an active campaign maybe also Joe Keating) giving us the public debate on Oregon issues we were denied last year during the legislative session. We need a public debate on education, on health care, on public safety, on whether consultants are the best way to do transportation projects. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1144290328270310.xml&coll=7

    And on a multitude of other issues either never discussed or not discussed in public lest actual voters might want input.

    I called the offices of several legislators today about the special session. There have been legislators who say they want Jessica's Law which calls for more incarceration (which costs money). There were legislators at the Developmental Disabilities forum who pledged all the promises made when Fairview closed will be kept (costs money--as I recall there has already been a court settlement). http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060402/STATE/604020328&SearchID=73240859410641

    I said to the staff in those offices that what bothers me is not the merits of those ideas, but how they will be paid for. I expect leading legislators to back up proposals with specific funding sources, as in "I support Jessica's Law which should be funded by cutting----------or raising___revenue. "

    So, this is not just an attack on a candidate for Governor. One of my ancestors was a politician who explained things in detail to the general public--I inherited his clippings. Among Oregon politicians, Westlund and DeFazio come closest to the way he did things--candid, problem-solving, explanatory, there were people who liked his approach and others who didn't--but by golly people knew who he was and where he stood.

    That's an independent standard of quality: how all politicans should behave, not Ted is better than Jim and all Democrats are better than Republicans, etc.

    One more thing. Having attended some post-primary unity events (and seen candidates who didn't hold such events struggle in the general election), I am not sure how many voters were won over by Hill and Sorenson saying they would support the nominee but Ted saying he would write in Kitzhaber. Sounds like Ted sees the nomination as an entitlement.

    I think the nomination goes to the person with the most votes, not the person who claims to be entitled to it. If that makes me all the things Paulie called me, I can live with that.

    I did after all start this century as an Independent and change back to Democrat in 2002 to vote for Ted. And darned right I am angry at being told " Ted has done wonderful things for this state, you're supposed to vote for him and not ask questions". Had I been told in 2002 I would be giving up the right to question anything Ted did when I voted for him, I might have voted for Jim, or I might have kept my Indep. registration.

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    I must be missing something because I have no recollection of any poster or contributor stating we should not ask questions of our candidates.. just as I've never read anything or heard a single person say that Ted thinks he's entitled to anyone's vote. He'll earn every vote he gets, just as he did in 2002. His use of humor at the debate about writing in Kitzhaber was really funny. The audience shared a good laugh. I'm guessing the vast majority on Blue Oregon are pro-debate, study issues, check and research before they reach their own judgement. Because a poster announces support for Hill or Sorenson or Kulongoski doesn't mean anyone else should, it simply means, based on personal research, this is where I stand.

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    I was able listen to the debates online which was nice. However, I was disappointed there was no video. I guess that's what I get for being an overseas voter!

    First of all, I agree that Sorenson sounded like he was whining the entire way through the debate. I really was leaning toward Hill, but I think his performance in the debate turned me off. Yet, I'm still not happy with Kulongoski.

    Second, someone mentioned polling and said that even Sorenson could beat any of the Republicans. That I'm going to disagree with. Here are some polling numbers. Yes, he is ahead in head to head with Republicans, but once you figure in Westlund, it's a losing battle for Sorenson. My guess is Westlund's numbers will only go up, especially after the primary. (and no I'm not a Westlund supporter, that just makes common sense)

    Here are the Zogby poll numbers which DO include both Sorenson and Westlund in the latter part of the report: http://oregonianextra.com/documents/wf_or.pdf

    Third, despite what Carla calls a joke, I think the question to the candidates of whether they would support Democratic candidate for governor was a serious question. Kulongoski's humor (if it was that) fell on deaf ear for me. A united party behind whomever is the nominee is important and joking that your going to write in Kitzhaber is just plain stupid.

    Yet, those things said I'm still left to try to choose between Kulongoski and Hill. In the end, the debate didn't sway me one way or the other.

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    David,

    Thanks for posting the Zogby polling data. Unfortunately, it confirms my worst fears: Westlund pulls heavily from D's and moderate I's in this state, and Saxton's support among his base is currently stronger than that of any Democratic candidate.

    Also, from what I've seen, he's the only Gubernatorial candidate who is working in in the rural parts of the valley.

    Regardless of who the eventual Democratic nominee is, they will have a big mountain to climb to win this race if Westlund makes the ballot.

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    the numbers show that Pete is hurt a bit by Westlund's presence, but that's a name recognition thing, i think. with the nomination and the spotlight that comes with it, i think he gains back points lost at this time due to not being known. but the good point is that, straight up against the Rs, Pete wins. very encouraging.

    as far as the debate goes, i've only heard what Hartmann played this morning. it was very encouraging. Pete was able to share a lot of the solid ideas he does have; if you think he doesn't, invite him to a small group and just talk to him. the guy has chops. i heard nothing to make me not continue to support him. he is clearly the most progressive of the three, and i think the debate (and the poll) demonstrates he is electable.

    and i will add: i liked Ted's feistiness. too bad he didn't bring it out last year when Minnis was subverting the Legislature.

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    That's some pretty interesting polling. If Kulongoski is alone vs Saxton (my opinion of the most likely primary outcome--apologies to those who support other candidates), he beats him 46% to 38.8%, well outside the margin of error. Throw Westlund into the mix, and Saxton closes the gap: K, 32.5%; S, 33.7%; W, 10.3%. As expected, Westlund looks well out of the race with less than a third of the support of the other two candidates. But there's something funny about those numbers.

    Where did all those votes go. "Not Sure" goes from less than 10% to nearly 20%, that's where. That extra 10% are people who are just waiting for a reason to vote Westlund. They're looking at him closely. Why else would he make them so unsure? Then, say he gets half of the other 10% of the undecideds, and a hefty slice of the "other" group who must be hoping for some other candidate (or voting Green/Libertarian/Socialist?). So, by the time the eventual primary winners have alienated the losers' supporters by beating them up with negativity (nice work Ted, with the comment about not supporting the others if they won), how many more will come over when dust from the primary battles has settled?

    I think this is really interesting because so much of the "conventional wisdom" I've heard has suggested that Westlund could influence the election but wouldn't actually come close to winning it. If people start to actually take him seriously and think a vote for him might not be just handing it to the other side, it could really put him over the top.

    He may be more than just a protest vote after all...

  • LT (unverified)
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    Regardless of who the eventual Democratic nominee is, they will have a big mountain to climb to win this race if Westlund makes the ballot.

    In which case it might be wise for active Democrats to look at all the proposals on Westlund's website http://www.benwestlund.com/

    Which of those proposals do any/ all Democrats agree/disagree with?

    Is there any Democratic website which has an online ad and other videos in both small files and large files so that even someone with a dialup connection (in some rural areas, dialup is the only option) can watch the "small files" video? If not, why not?

    Think of this in terms of sales, people! If the store down the street has a better, more easily usable product and better customer service, how many are going to be loyal to the store where they have always shopped, and how many are going to check out the new store their friends are talking about?

    That's why the Sorenson whine and the write-in Kitzhaber "joke" and Hill's verbal potshots are stupid. Not because Saxton is gaining in popularity (at a rural meal stop over Christmas in S. Oregon, I met a couple who'd been for Mannix last time and were now supporting Atkinson; and when I asked what they thought of Saxton, they said "WHO?") but because the old saying "if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door" is true. While Ds argue about who is a real Democrat, and Rs preach ideology to the converted, a very candid but cheery Westlund decries partisanship AND has a variety of solutions on his website.

    Also, he has a great story to tell, backed up by budget expertise. And while some partisans may not want to hear this, there are people who known Ben (incl. lots in Salem) who admire his recovery from cancer surgery and might mention it to family/ friends facing cancer surgery--how cheerful he was when he came back, that speech he gave upon returning from the hospital, how he missed votes because he was taking chemo and then radiation while working as a state rep.

    To use another analogy, elections are job interviews. It doesn't matter how ideologically pure someone is---"the base" is not a majority of voters. And none of the rhetoric from either major party debate is likely to trump one friend saying to another, "sure admire that Ben Westlund because...". As the saying goes, word of mouth is an old and powerful form of advertising.

    Some of us have been warning about this phenomenon for years. The political corollary to "if a tree falls in a forest, does anyone hear?" is "if a conversation goes on which no consultant knows about (in the breakroom at work, at a social event, over lunch, over the phone, in a chance encounter while shopping, etc) did the conversation happen and did it affect anyone's vote?".

    Remember Kevin Mannix putting his pieces of Measure 40 on the ballot after the court threw 40 out due to the single subject rule? All the advertising was Vote Yes on All or Vote No on All. The voters in their wisdom voted 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. I was engaged in enough conversations about the indiv. measures to know that was a possibility, but I think some of the political professionals were startled by the result.

    I have voted for a friend of a friend ("you can trust her, we went to high school together"), been to gatherings where a group debated all the ballot measures (before 2000 when there were so many), had a friend convince me to support a ballot measure and talked to friends about ballot items, had friends call up and ask "how are you voting on--- and why?".

    If the partisan candidates seem to be speaking to each other and Westlund seems to be speaking to voters, OF COURSE he will get support--he's paying attention to actual voters!

    Ron Wyden won in January, 1996 by holding town hall meetings ("come to the ice cream social in January" got a lot of publicity, and the phone banks added a line to the script "if you are unsure, come to the ice cream social and hear for yourself") where Ron spoke and answered questions (in a come one, come all format) for over an hour.

    If Westlund is doing that more than the partisan candidates, of course Westlund gains support from the ordinary person who is tired of arguing and "wants someone who can mow the lawn and fix the roof" as someone said to me recently.

  • Karl (unverified)
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    I hope everybody isn't buying into this "rebounding from the recession jive". It may be that the "average" income is going up, but that doesn't mean that the average oregonian's income is going up. It just means that the rich are getting richer a little faster than the rest of us are getting poorer. The "ownership society", the people who make their living on wall street are doing OK. People who work for a living are not. It's true that more peoploe are going back to work. It's also true that they arn't earning what they used to. I just heard today that unemployment among immigrants (legal and illegal) is lower than among native born Americans. Can you guess why?

  • Anony (unverified)
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    Of course Westlund is pulling more from Dems right now... they're the ones who know who their candidate is going to be (let's be real, people) and the ones that don't like Ted are easy pickings. The Republicans on the other hand are already lined up behind one of three candidates. Whoever loses on the (R) side, their supporters are going to have the chance to swing into Westlund's camp... and it'll be open season on undecided Republican voters. But right now the moderate Democrats are just scooped up a lot easier than moderate R's

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    It may be that the "average" income is going up, but that doesn't mean that the average oregonian's income is going up.

    I've heard a lot of variations on this theme lately. I've even seen some data that appears to back it up on the Federal level. But I know a lot of "average" and lower income folks (and actually am one as well) and we're all doing much better than we were five years ago. It's still not great, I think it could be better, and I don't really see that Ted has had all that much to do it, but I really do think things in Oregon are better than they were half a decade ago, if only because they really had gotten so bad there was nowhere to go but up (I spent much of 2001-2003 on the unemployment rolls, and was grossly under-employed for an additional year).

    So, it this all rhetoric or are there some numbers to back up this little piece of conventional wisdom? I'm not challenging this to be difficult, and I actually do agree with the underlying premise that Ted hasn't done a whole lot, but I just want to make sure I've got all the details and facts straight.

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    Nate,

    I disagree with your statement about Westlund. Given the fact that A) there are still a large vote of voters who are undecided B) Westlund does not have to "technically" run in the primary, his numbers have no where to go but up.

    That is if he packages his campaign correctly and gets his message out as an alternative.

    What I'm saying is that Westlund is a bigger threat then just a "spoiler." Any campaign that thinks otherwise is foolish and naive.

    Never underestimate your opponents

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    Nate,

    My applogies, I misread your statment.

    I still do think it's important to emphasis Westlund could cause a few diffrent senenarios to occur. It will certainly make this election more interesting then the plot of a movie.

  • Robert (unverified)
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    I want to thank David for agreeing with me on the Ted answer..."pledge to support the democratic candidate for Gov.".. Ted got cute and said "I will write in Kitz"....Come on Governor, this is hardly the time to be "cute"...That comment was in poor taste....These are very serious times and very serious issues...what could possibly motivate you to try and be "cute" with a remark like that... We were in a union hall, with solid democrat support, trying to hold on to what makes Oregon strong, and we want dems want assurances that the three demo candidates will stand united in the General Election.....By the comments made at the debate, the only two candidates that publicly stated they will support all Dems was ...Hill and Pete... They both have my vote.... Come on Dems ....The arrangance of Ted is "enough to send him packing" I don't know who I will be voting for, but it sure will NOT be TED.

  • michael (unverified)
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    Still Confused.... I have been following some of the comments about Ted's response to the question at the debate....something about supporting the Dem Candidate for Governor....Would he support Jim or Pete (assuming one of them wins the primary)....It is my understanding that Ted said NO. How can that be? I need some help here...I was not at the debate, but I have read that it was a joke....A joke!!!! Is this a time to be funny... Sorry Ted...that was not funny. You just lost my vote... At least the other two guys (Jim/Pete) have stated they will support you.....Why would a strong Democrat like Ted K. not want to support the Democratic Candidate for Governor.. Sorry Ted...You have clearly LOST MY VOTE Come on Dems...Let's vote for the other guys...Let's give them a chance to be "good democrats".....unlike our current governor.

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    But the re-elect campaign does itself no favors by claiming that those of us who supported him in 2002 have no right to be disappointed or question the wisdom of anything Ted has done since he was sworn in.

    That is not an attack on character.

    Don't mistake my point--Ted must run on his record, and he is presumably proud of it. That's what primaries are for. My point was just that it's disappointing to see Dems attack Ted personally. I admire his service to the state and would hate that to get lost in the shuffle. I don't know who'll get my vote in the primary, but in no case do I forget what Ted has tried to do for Oregon. His intentions alone may not be worth my vote, but they are certainly worth my thanks--and something other than derision from his party.

  • LT (unverified)
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    As someone who has known Ted for over a quarter of a century, Jim for longer than that, knew Pete slightly, and knows the behind the scenes battle that Westlund fought in the House against Minnis (he was one of the trio who got HB 2152 started and then passed---or how long would that session have gone??), I don't regard any of them as "opponents". I think they are trying to do what is best as they see it.

    But at this point only Hill and Westlund have my potential support.

    And I don't think such a statement (or asking Ted why he made the "joke" about writing in Kitzhaber) are attacks on his character.

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    More than a few Dem leaders have said it: In the Spring you fall in love; in the Fall, you fall in line.

    But perhaps this rule of thumb somehow doesn't apply when an incumbant is involved. At least this seems to be the thinking of many Democratic leaders, and of TK himself. Apparently, some think that you blindly follow the leader because he IS the incumbant, and if he loses the Primary, well, all bets are off.

    "...write in Kitzhaber.." a joke? My butt. It was a vindictive, demeaning, whiney slap at both Pete and Jim. Because it produced some nervous, surprised laughter doesn't make it "just a joke."

    TK does himself no favors with cracks like that. He further alienates Pete's and Jim's supporters who WOULD vote Dem in the General. I talked to at least one Hill supporter who said "after THAT crack, I'll never vote for Ted for ANYTHING."

    Me? In '04 I was a dedicated Kucinich Progessive who worked my arss off for John Kerry when he became the Party's nominee. Today I ardently support Pete, and up until thursday night would have told you that I'd support any Dem Party nominee in November. Now, I'm not so sure, and it really bothers me that I've been forced to this position.

    The crack didn't buy TK any points with the undecideds, either... 2 of whom I spoke with after we all attended the debate. Their thought of his "joke"? Appalled.

    REALITY CHECK for Ted and his staff: If you think you're going to win the Primary because the progressives and the unimpressed will split between Pete and Jim, it might be a good idea to remember that you'll need their votes in November.

  • Bob (unverified)
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    Gov Ted K. does NOT SUPPORT DEMOCRATICS.... He said it Thursday evening....it is on tape. So, if he will not support Jim or Pete, look out legislative candidates, or any other candidates with party affiliation races. If you are running for the Legislature...and might be expecting a little support from Gov. Ted ...Don't Count on It!!!!!! Even if he wins the primary, what legislative candidate would want his support....Be careful who you ask for support. Gov. Ted is not the guy I would ask.

    Ted made it absolutely clear that he will NOT SUPPORT DEMOCRATICS in the 200 race.....Excuse me, he said he would support Former Gov. John Kitzhaber....remember that's that guy who almost declared his candidacy for the Govenors race because the current guy is doing a terrible job... Oh Well....

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    OK, I didn't make it to the debate, but the "Kitzhaber" crack was obviously a throw away line that people think can be used against him, but does anyone really believe that Kulongoski wouldn't publicly endorse and campaign for the nominee if it's not Ted? Of course not.

    Maybe the comment wasn't thought through, but I'm sure if you asked Ted, he'd say that he expects to get the nomination, but if not (hypothetically), he'd support and actively campaign for the nominee.

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    Much ado about nothing. Kitz is a Dem! It was a very funny joke greeted with lots of laughter from the audience. Governor Kulongoski gets points for lightning the mood in an otherwise personal, mean spirited debate by his two opponents. Hill's opening jab set the tone for a tiresome evening.

  • Bob (unverified)
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    Charlie: If he is stupid enough to make that kind of comment in front of the other two candidates, in a totally democratic union hall, he has just lost my vote.... By the way, why do you think democrates like Hill, Sorenson, Walker, and even Kitzhaber, have publicly said they are not satisfied with the job Ted is doing.... And, at least two of them decided to actually file for the office, and become viable candidates for Gov. Ted is history!!!!! Let's thank him for his service, and give him an early retirment.

  • Bob (unverified)
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    Pauline: Did you ever ask yourself why there is such a mean spirtied campaign.... If Ted was doing his job there would be NO other candidates in this race.... Let's get real...The Republcans or Independents WILL take over the Governorship if Ted is in the general election.

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    David, no need for an apology, especially since it sounds like we're more or less in complete agreement. This election should be one hell of a ride...

    Charlie, I think the point is someone did ask him. And he answered. At this point it is not up to us to ask again ("no, seriously Ted..."). He's had 48 hours to clarify (or contradict) that statement and has not chosen to do so. At this point, lacking any direct knowledge to the contrary, I think it's not surprising to feel maybe we should take him at his word.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Charlie, about this: OK, I didn't make it to the debate, but the "Kitzhaber" crack was obviously a throw away line that people think can be used against him, but does anyone really believe that Kulongoski wouldn't publicly endorse and campaign for the nominee if it's not Ted? Of course not. Maybe the comment wasn't thought through, but I'm sure if you asked Ted, he'd say that he expects to get the nomination, but if not (hypothetically), he'd support and actively campaign for the nominee. There are those of us who live in districts which currently have Republican legislators (although people like me are doing our best to change that). Should we demand more of Republicans because Dems are "our guys" and should not be held to the same high standard? Isn't that what GOP has been doing for many years? Aren't we better than that?

    What worries me about the attitude you and some others have is that I have seen it before. And all it does is alienate people. Democrats being told to take orders and not think for themselves or express their opinions generally find they have a better use for their time than active political involvement--activities where they ARE allowed to express an opinion someone else might not like.

    And if you are in contact with Ted or anyone on his staff, please convey the message some of us have been trying to get through:

    When we say ENOUGH ALREADY! to express our displeasure with what happened in the 2005 session, we are talking about EVERYONE who served in the capitol during the 2005 session who we (in our own opinion) believe did not communicate well enough with voters who were not in the capitol every day.

    And if I am drummed out of the progressive ranks for saying that there were members of both parties who did communicate well (on my list are Courtney, Schrader, Ferrioli, Westlund, and a staffer who captured the annoyance of many by saying "these legislators are so wrapped up in their games that the population of Oregon could be rioting in the streets or just pick up and leave and no one in this building would notice because they are so inward looking") and others (in both parties, in the Gov. office and the legislature) who didn't seem to see ordinary voters as important, then big deal, I am not a "progressive".

    I have talked to my state senator's office recently and said if she's going to say we need new expenditures (help for DD clients and caretakers, the added incarceration in Jessica's Law, etc. ) she'd better be talking publicly about the details of how to pay for that and not just the vague "spending discipline" rhetoric of those in the GOP like Kim Thatcher.

    Charlie, whether you intended this message or not, you and some of the others posting here seem to be giving the impression we should hold Republicans and Westlund accountable for everything they have said and done, but give a pass to the overworked governor who has done so many good things for us that we should give him the benefit of the doubt as in, "I'm sure if you asked Ted, he'd say that he expects to get the nomination, but if not (hypothetically), he'd support and actively campaign for the nominee."

    Exactly where are most of us likely to see Ted to ask him that in person, even if we wanted to?

    Sorry, I ain't buying. I think EVERY elected official is responsible for their prepared speeches and their chance, offhand remarks. People in many other lines of work can get commended or reprimanded due to what they say while working, but not the Governor?

    And if that makes me "not a good Democrat", I can re-register Indep. after the primary.

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    I disagree with the Governor's decision to agree to support a casino in the gorge, and at the time he made his decision, I disagreed with the reforms that he called for with PERS.

    However, I think that PERS decision will ultimately help funding for things that I care about such as Oregon schools without the need to increase taxes. If we're totally honest here, PERS needed fixing, and Kulongoski could have opted for reforms that would have been much more damaging to public employees, such as guaranteed contributions as opposed to guaranteed benefits.

    And though he is just plain wrong about the need to put an off-reservation casino in Cascade Locks, I believe that he felt that he had the best interests of the state at heart in taking that position.

    I also disagree with the Governor's position on transferability in light of Measure 37. We need moderate reform to fix 37, not a green light on new development. I believe that his position would have literally given away the farm if the Senate hadn't killed it.

    However, I think he has taken good positions on raising emissions standards. I think that the special session is a good idea. And I agree that he did a great deal more behind the scenes than most people realize during the session. He's done several things that I agree with.

    I'm still not sure who I will vote for in this primary, but from what I've seen, the governor is very willing to put the interests of the state as he sees them ahead of his own political well-being.

    It may not be enough to win him my vote in this primary, but he has definitely earned my respect.
    Finally, LT is right. Ted's supporters, and the supporters of all of these candidates need to quit focusing on ad hominems, arguments about electability, fear-mongering, and all of the other B.S. I've seen in this thread. Start making the case for or against your candidate's policy postions. If you don't want this to debate to be personal then lead by example and focus on policy.

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    From The Advocate, March 28, 2006 and interview by Sean Kennedy.

    "As a freshman Democratic member of Oregon's state house in 1975, Ted Kulonoski introduced legislation to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. It didn't pass. Now, as the states's governor, Kulongoski is still fighting for equality. Citing the refusal by the Republican house speaker to bring a gay-inclusive antidiscrimination bill to the floor for a vote in 2005, he recently established the Governor's Task Force on Equality to advance the bill next year and to rally the public against further antigay Republican positioning."

    Kulongoski went on to say, "After Oregon passed this constitutuional amendment banning same-sex marriages, which I campaigned against in 2004, I think everyone thought the political process would go dead on this issue. I put it back in the next legislative session two months after the election because I don't want it to go dead. I like the task force because I don't want a political vacuum to be generated. I want the public to care about this debate."

    Sean Kennedy asked Kulongoski about his Catholic religion. "I grew up in a Catholic boy's home. (After being abanded by his mother) My addition. They taught me never to be judgemental about people. I have always believed in fairness and equality. It's the reason I went to law school, that I got into the labor movement. I thought this was a way I could best express this value of giving people a chance."

  • (Show?)

    What worries me about the attitude you and some others have is that I have seen it before. And all it does is alienate people. Democrats being told to take orders and not think for themselves or express their opinions generally find they have a better use for their time than active political involvement--activities where they ARE allowed to express an opinion someone else might not like.

    LT -- I'm an undecided voter who hasn't said anything negative about the other candidates including Westlund. I wrote, and still believe, that there are plenty of reasons to vote for and against Ted, Jim and Pete, but this throw-away line isn't one of them. Go back and reread my comments.

    As an advocate of Jim Hill your attitude isn't really overwhelming me either. I believe that Ted's comments were a clumsy joke and really not a lot more. If you're going to leave the Democratic party after the primary beccause I point that out, I think that says more about your committment than his.

  • (Show?)

    Ted Kulongoski's own words from a speech he gave at the Oregon AFL-CIO Convention stating his thoughts on family wage jobs.

    "The people I talk to, their greatest concern is am I going to have a job tomorrow, the next day, next month, next year? Am I going to be able to put food on the table and clothing for my children and family? What about my healthcare?

    (snip)

    "I still believe, it is focusing on the issue of providing more family wage jobs for the people of America."

    (snip)

    "Here is why the Oregon government should always be looking for how can we make an investment in Oregon. In 2003 when we pushed the transportation bill through, we created through that measure over 5,000 jobs annually in repairing and improving the roads and bridges in this state. Just this last session we passed another $100 million investment in the short line railroads, the ports, the regional airports of this state, the transit systems in this state. We're building a new air terminal in Coos Bay/North Bend for $10 million dollars. We're investing over $500 million in capital construction on our university and community college campuses."

    (snip)

    "If we want to have additional revenues in government to be all to do all the things that we believe are necessary, (schools, universities, healthcare.) My addition. We have to grow the economy. We have to provide more of those living wage jobs."

    Kulongoski refutes many of the sentences flung into previous posts with his own words and more importantly his own deeds. Like he said at the debate, he's a doer.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Okay, so we shouldn't vote for Kulo as the Oregon State Comedian, but I think SJP makes a good point about starting to look at records and performance in office to make a decision about Ted for Governor.

    Paulie -- It's great to hear that Kulongoski takes credit for the civil unions bill... problem is, it wasn't his credit to take. That seems to be his m.o. these days, tho.

    The Seattle Times reported way back in November 2002 that it was Westlund, not Kulongoski, who was working on Civil Unions. Now, I'm sure that if Kulo had something to do with civil unions, Mr. Cain would at least have written the word "Kulongoski" somewhere in his article.

    So which seems more likely... that Westlund, who lobbied and testified for the bill during session, had more to do with the bill and that Ted took credit only during election season...

    ... or that Kulongoski was secretly the driving force behind it and then suddenly decided to not even show up for a hearing on the issue during session -- let alone lobby for it.

    If that's an example of how Kulongoski treats legislation that he wants passed... then his support is truly the kiss of death for any policy item.

  • Undecided (unverified)
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    I am also undecided, its actually a very strange place to be at in this race because one would assume that a registered democrat could make up their mind. Instead, this campaign is turning me off.

    Ted is surprising me with some of his appearances because he does well to defend his record. When I listen to some other activists I know out there, you would think that he couldn't walk into the room and do that. Sure, Ted has not been the governor I wanted to see. He has been slow to react to progressive issues, slow to come out publicly in support of people sometimes but, he hasn't been all bad either.

    Pete - ugh, drop out. I like him a lot but, there is no way I can see him winning. Its not that he is unelectable if all things were equal today but, in reality they aren't. He's been running for a year and a half and hasn't gotten anywhere. Its time to re-evaluate. Also, Sorenson supporters need to stop acting like there is a conspiracy affecting the campaign.

    You know what!? In my experience there isn't an organized center in the Democratic party of Oregon capable of a campaign to shut someone out. So, spend more time on the doors, less time writing blogs about it. Seriously.

    Jim Hill - seems agreeable on issues but, doesn't get me out of my chair yet.

    So, all in all. This campaign is a downer for me because the "base" is running anti-Kulongoski, instead of for something/someone.

  • Anony (unverified)
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    Lame! Okay, I'll call BS on Ted and Paulie...

    Here's the translation of those snippets:

    The people I talk to, their greatest concern is am I going to have a job tomorrow, the next day, next month, next year? Am I going to be able to put food on the table and clothing for my children and family? What about my healthcare

    Means: "People talk to me. I have ears."

    I still believe, it is focusing on the issue of providing more family wage jobs for the people of America.

    Means: "I am pro-job... just like every other politician in the world."

    ...In 2003 when we pushed the transportation bill through, we created through that measure over 5,000 jobs annually in repairing and improving the roads and bridges in this state. Just this last session we passed another $100 million investment in the short line railroads, the ports, the regional airports of this state, the transit systems in this state. We're building a new air terminal in Coos Bay/North Bend for $10 million dollars. We're investing over $500 million in capital construction on our university and community college campuses.

    Means: "Last year we appropriated the budget. I showed up for negotiations by July, which was too late, but I sure signed the bugger."

    If we want to have additional revenues in government to be all to do all the things that we believe are necessary. We have to grow the economy. We have to provide more of those living wage jobs.

    Means: "I am in favor of growing the economy. Unlike my opponents, who secretly want to shrink the economy."

    Woo hoo, Ted. Way to embody action!

  • (Show?)

    Undecided,

    I think you, myself and Nate are in the same boat. I agree it's difficult to choose.

    My problem, is as an overseas voter, I have to decided pretty soon (my ballot should arrive any day now) who I want to vote for. It ultimately might come down to the wire when I'm filing out my ballot as to who I vote for.

    To those who are simply blowing off the governor's joke:

    This is a serious debate about serious issues. At the end of the day, one of the three candidates will be going forward as the Democratic nomniee for Governor. As a Democrat, one would hope that the other two would support whomever gets the nomination.

    Kulongoski made a huge error by alienating voters and stating he would not support the nominee (even if it wasn't him). There just are no two ways about it.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    My bad... November 2004 was when Westlund was reported as having started work on civil unions... not November 2002.

    The link clears that up, though.

  • (Show?)

    Why I think Governor Kulongoski is the most qualified to continue as Governor.

    .He is the only governor in Oregon's history to serve in all three branches of government at the state level, supreme court justice, legislator and governor.

    . He introduced legislation to protect gays and lesbians against discrimination as a freshman legislator in 1975.

    . He improved the minimum wage.

    .He took office when the state faced a $3 million deficit in the state budget, a more than 20% loss of revenue. He is now leading the fifth fastest growing economy in America in just three years.

    . He founded his own law firm representing labor organizations which became Oregon's largest labor-law firm.

    . He grew up in an orphanage, enlisted in the Marines, served in Southeast Asia, returned, worked as a truck driver and in a steel mill as a brick layer, used the GI Bill to go to college and law school.

    . He reformed the Oregon Juvenile Justice system which now provides certainty and accountability for juvenile offenders.

    .He made homelessness a state issue instead of a local community issue.

    . He's a master at bringing people together to solve some of the state's difficult problems.

    . He's humble, not a showboater, who gives others the credit, when he could easily blow his own horn.

    . He pulled himself up by the bootstraps and he brought Oregon back from nearly falling off the cliff.

    . He reformed the Oregons Worker Compensation System.

    I don't want a rookie or a Republican in the Governor's office. I want a man who has incredible character, can crack a joke at a mean spirited debate, and leave with his head high. I have done my research before reaching my conclusion.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Paulie, your "research" looks exactly like the meet Ted page on tedforgov.com. I mean, it's basically just his campaign's talking points, right?

    Here's something I don't get... one one post you say,

    [Ted] is now leading the fifth fastest growing economy in America in just three years.

    and on another post you (er, Ted) says,

    The people I talk to, their greatest concern is am I going to have a job tomorrow, the next day, next month, next year?

    So basically you're saying that Ted is doing a great job having turned the economy around... so much in fact that everyone he talks to is worried about losing their job? Bewilderment.

  • LT (unverified)
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    OK, folks, let's get serious and drop the talking points.

    Over at the "Breaking News: Special Session" topic, Magenta and Captain Dandy are having a serious discussion which involves : HB 2797 By Representative NELSON -- Relating to universal access to support services; and declaring an emergency.

    a bill which passed almost unanimously.

    And how the DD population served by this bill might just get left out in the cold if there isn't enough money for State Troopers, Jessica's Law, school funding, etc.

    Those of you who are actively supporting a candidate, what will your guy do to make sure HB 2797 is not ignored and that those 400 or so clients, caregivers and family members in that recent Salem legislative forum on DD issues don't get forgotten by the legislators who made promises to them?

    Because if that can't be done, I don't care if a candidate for governor doubled the number of jobs in this state and is the greatest human being on the face of the earth. If those people are ignored again, whoever does the ignoring deserves to lose in November, no excuses allowed.

    It is time to discuss these issues seriously.

  • captain dandy and Magenta (unverified)
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    LT... You indeed seem to be on the same page as DAWG is, and we thank you for caring about our peeps. Our intention (and we ARE VERY committed ) is to create a groundswell of people who will join us in ensuring that people with developmental disabilities are ACKNOWLEDGED as valuable citizens with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of their non disabled peers in this state. Right on brother or sister!

  • Magenta (unverified)
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    We have sent captain dandy's article to both Sorenson and Hill. Let's see who has the courage to respond. Kulongoski's already blown us off.

  • captain dandy (unverified)
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    In fact, my daughter who is a Junior at U of O contacted DONNA NELSON directly asking her how HB2797 came to be, ie. who was involved in the discussions which led to its final draft. She is very concerned about services for developmental disabilities. Her cousin has Autism, and she wants to know things will be ok for him. She is also working toward a degree involving social service (you go girl!) Though she sent her request for this info. back on 11/20/05 she stlii hasn't received an answer.

  • (Show?)

    So which seems more likely... that Westlund, who lobbied and testified for the bill during session, had more to do with the bill and that Ted took credit only during election season...

    JHL, it is true that Ben Westlund was a key player in pushing SB 1000 in the legislature during the last session, but it's a distortion to say that the governor went MIA on the bill. My recollection is that Oregon's first lady testified on its behalf, and that the Governor put his name behind the bill and spoke on its behalf on several occasions.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Captain Dandy and Magenta: I was at the DD forum at the Salem Senior Center. I talked to several of the legislators afterwards.

    You will probably understand something that some of the folks posting here may not understand.

    I recognized someone in the audience at that DD forum--someone I had known a long time ago. Someone my family knew decades ago, back when this woman's daughter was born. That daughter turned out to be DD. Years later, that daughter was profiled in a Garten mailing about their "First Jobs Program" as someone who had been part of the program.

    I think this issue is about the soul of the Democratic Party. There is a wonderful Bible quote which sums up how I feel about this: "Though I speak with the tongue of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal" (I Cor 13:1 KJV should anyone care to look it up)

    I find some of the debate in this thread dispiriting. Schools are underfunded, there are not enough state troopers, there is the problem of funding for disabled Oregonians, among other problems. Yet people try to convince us that we should laugh at a joke as if we have no right to decide for ourselves if it was funny. I recall seeing a poster in a middle school years ago "It is not funny if..." including if someone is offended, feels put down, their feelings are hurt, etc. For instance, it is not funny to call a kid with glasses "four-eyes", it is just plain mean spirited.

    If the Democratic Party is only about winning elections and not about caring for the neediest among us now, not just promises for the future (how specifically will programs be funded?, not "we will create jobs which will create revenue which will eventually pay for everything") then why have a party?

    Is committment to party or competition between candidates more important than solving problems? If so, it is no wonder a friend of mine (an active Democrat in previous decades) wrote me an email saying he " would prefer to just go to a non partisan legislature. The parties are a joke and leadership curries only to money and power...wait that's the way it has always been!!!....what is needed is a visionary leader focused on the real issues..in Oregon it the lousy tax system..and Ben is the only one focusing on that."

    If the Democrats are debating whether a candidate told a mean spirited joke or made a stupid remark, and Westlund has a list of specific proposals on his website, wouldn't voters looking for solutions gravitate towards Westlund?

    Now there are those here who think because they support a candidate, we should too--after all, they have done their research and we should believe their conclusions.

    I say if you like your candidate, leave the blog and start volunteering with the campaign--phone banks, door to door, etc.

    But the better way would be to have the candidates show us they care about DD issues, school funding, state troopers, etc. by asking for our vote and telling us what specific proposals they have on those issues. They can do that before and during the special session by their words and actions.

    And although some would not like to hear me say this (it was funny, how dare I say otherwise), Ted could alleviate concern over a joke not all thought was funny by announcing some sort of unity event for a day or a week after the primary. The next morning is too early (might not be decided) but an afternoon joint appearance or a spaghetti feed for all the volunteers of the 3 campaigns a week or a month later (sponsored by the winner) would be a very smart move. He could publicly invite all to join him in planning such an event before the votes are counted.

    I once helped cook spaghetti sauce for such a spaghetti feed--along with a friend who supported the winning candidate who I had opposed. So don't say my committment is weak. I have probably survived more contested primaries in the last 3 decades than most people on this blog.

  • hottamale (unverified)
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    This whole debate about Democratic gubernatorial candidates here just makes me shake my head in disbelief. And is totally why I believe that the Democrats are not going to recapture the US House or Senate in the November elections.

    Maybe I'm not as "progressive" (whatever that means) as the other people here on the blogs and I am missing something but this is how I see the situation.

    Oregon has a sitting incumbent Democratic governor. A majority in the state Senate. And a Republican house. Instead of concentrating on the House and winning that, it seems like most people here are more interested in beating up on the governor. The Republicans, on the other hand would try to extend and consolidate their gains instead of focusing on this internecine warfare.

  • (Show?)

    Oregon has a sitting incumbent Democratic governor. A majority in the state Senate. And a Republican house. Instead of concentrating on the House and winning that, it seems like most people here are more interested in beating up on the governor.

    Don't read too much into it. 8 people going back and forth about a primary election is not exactly a bellweather for what the party is up to. Besides, some of us spent a majority of our day canvassing and on the phone trying to build support for local candidates.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Hottamale --

    Good points... but I must dissent in part. The Democrats should be focused on taking back the House, except what are they doing instead? Focusing on taking out Minnis.

    It's not Representative Minnis that's the problem... it's Speaker Minnis! Has anyone explained to the Dems that even if Minnis is gone, the Republicans still get to choose the speaker if they have the majority? Dems from all over the state are asked to give money to a race in Gresham, and they should be looking out for their local races in Eugene, Salem, etc...

    Incidentally, the reason people seem to be harsh on Ted is just like you said: "Oregon has a sitting incumbent Democratic governor. A [Democratic] majority in the state Senate. And a Republican house."

    So why has the governor let Karen Minnis run the show? By all accounts, she's outnumbered.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Exactly, JHL

    Dems from all over the state are asked to give money to a race in Gresham, and they should be looking out for their local races in Eugene, Salem, etc...

    If Democrats with at least part of their district in Marion County (B. Grisham, C. Garcia, B. Clem, C. Lee, B. Komp, J. Gilbert) win their House elections in 2006, but Minnis and Scott get re-elected, that would in some ways be better than Minnis and Scott losing but 31 House Republicans winning. Karen and Wayne would learn about life in the minority--good education and lesson in humility.

    The House is now 33 Republican. If even half of the abovementioned Marion County Democrats win, all other things being equal, it is a split House--no more Queen Karen and Wayne's World.

    So as much as I hope Rob Brading dethrones the Queen, my attention is on Marion County candidates.

    And people who want Kulongoski to win the primary should have him out on the stump saying "I wasn't more outspoken in 2005 because..." and with a more specific "because " than "talking is better than doing".

    Some people don't like to hear this, but among the "leadership" in the capitol in 2005, Sens. Courtney and Ferrioli did a better job communicating with the general public than anyone else.

    I know Ted grew up in an orphanage, did admirable things in his career, brought businesses Oregon, etc.

    But he didn't communicate well with the public in 2005 and I refuse to vote for someone who says they don't need to communicate with average voters. If that is their attitude, they shouldn't be on the public payroll. PERIOD.

  • (Show?)

    Cmon kids,

    If I have 200 bucks to spend on elections between now and November, I'm giving 60 to my hd candidate, 60 to futurePAC, and splitting the last 80 up among:

    Dem gubernatorial candidate Brading My local senate race My local county commissioner race Any number of well intentioned initiatives

    We will all slice our little pies differently, but the vast majority pf progressives are quite capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time.

    Some progressives are actually

  • LT (unverified)
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    My concern about FP is emails like this one:

    What: Grassroots fundraiser for the Rob Brading for Oregon campaign. Admission: Suggested donation of $20 or more to Rob's campaign. Contribute onsite or at the website: www.robbrading.com. Where: McMenamin's Kennedy School & Brew Pub, 5736 NE 33rd Ave. When: Monday, April 10, 6:30pm - 8:00pm Contact: For Questions, call or e-mail Marah Hall, 503-661-3786 or [email protected]

    When FP starts sending out emails inviting people to a "grassroots fundraiser" in a county other than Multnomah for a candidate in a county other than Mult., Clackamas, Washington (the METRO counties) then I will believe that FP really cares as much about gaining a Dem. majority as it does about defeating Minnis.

  • (Show?)

    LT, funny that you don't consider defeating Karen Minnis and gaining a Dem majority in the House as interconnected.

    The McMennamin's event's gonna be great -- I just spent part of the afternoon with Markos and Jerome who are the headliners of the event. They're both really smart guys with some innovative ideas about winning elections.

    The two could logistically only do an event in the Metro area, so this is it. It's not a sign of Future Pac's failure that they're not doing more; it's a sign of success that FP pulled off the one event in the first place.

    Once again no good deed goes unpunished.

  • LT (unverified)
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    That's fine to have national figures in Portland--makes perfect sense.

    But earlier this year there was an event for a Portland area candidate and a Salem area candidate held in Portland, without nationally famous people. Will there be any more like that or will there be some fundraisers somewhere else in the state?

    I want Rob Brading to win, I just don't want ONLY Rob Brading to win.

    Surely there is a way for FP to hold some sort of fundraiser (without national public figures) in Salem, or Eugene, or someplace else.

    I think the most important thing to happen is a majority of 31 or pref. more.

    And think about it: if the majority happens due to downstate Democrats and the only mass fundraisers complete with multiple FP email reminders happen in Portland, that means House Democrats who won without the help of FP. In that case, there will be more power for downstate Democrats in the next session. That would be fine with me.

    The House Democrats did a good thing visiting the towns in the 2nd Cong. District. They should do more of that instead of always expecting the rest of the state to come to Portland.

    If this was the only FP event I had ever gotten multiple email reminders about, I wouldn't have mentioned it. But it isn't, and JHL has a point:

    "It's not Representative Minnis that's the problem... it's Speaker Minnis! "

  • (Show?)

    Um, LT, you're clearly not on all the right email lists. There have been plenty of events outside of Portland for Democratic candidates.

    I think it's important -- in everything, not just this -- to remember that one's own experience isn't necessarily reflective of the complete reality in the universe.

  • LT (unverified)
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    You missed the point. There have been lots of events (I've been to some and friends have been to others) for Democratic legislative candidates.

    My point was, have there been FUTURE PAC events (with multiple email reminders sent to the email list) outside of Portland?

    Or are we not allowed to ask about the activities of FP lest we be told "remember that one's own experience isn't necessarily reflective of the complete reality in the universe."?

    I think FP is responsible for the actions of FP, and that any individual campaign knows what is best in a district more than FP knows. If a campaign has decided they don't want FP doing an event for them in Portland if the district is several counties away and FP only does events in Portland, that's fine. Call me a cynic or whatever, but I would like to see FP helping candidates other than Brading.

    Maybe they will do that after the primary.

  • (Show?)

    LT, are you organizing any fundraisers for House candidates outside Portland? If so, seems like a good time to let folks know.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Charlie, My strength is in research and grass roots, not in organizing fundraisers. Not everyone has that gift, just as not everyone has the money to attend fundraisers (or for gas to attend Portland fundraisers). Friends attend fundraisers and tell me about them, as I am not in a position to contribute money to anyone (there was a time when Democrats cared about people barely scraping by who couldn't afford to attend fundraisers).

    I am a battlescarred 3 decade political veteran who has been burned out on politics many times. I volunteered on the 2 House campaigns in old District 31 after people began to believe it was possible for a Democrat to win (Norma Paulus having left the House to run for statewide office)--campaigns sometimes called "the last couple campaigns before Jim Hill showed how it was done". (That doesn't mean I am actively involved in the Hill for Gov. campaign, just that I was one of 2 in the audience Jim mentioned during his campaign kickoff speech as "glad to see there are people in the audience who were with me from the beginning".)

    I can remember Peter Courtney's original campaign kickoff (have known him since he was on the city council) and one of the few people still around who remember those who said in 1980, "Jim Hill running in S. Salem? You must be kidding! No Democrat has won in that district, much less a black Democrat".

    My point is that Democrats won House seats in counties like Marion long before Future Pac (which has yet to win a House majority) certainly long before email and blogs, back in the days when a Marion County legislative election was organized and run in Marion County, not from some central office in a place like Portland.

    AND I agree with JHL:

    It's not Representative Minnis that's the problem... it's Speaker Minnis! Has anyone explained to the Dems that even if Minnis is gone, the Republicans still get to choose the speaker if they have the majority? Dems from all over the state are asked to give money to a race in Gresham, and they should be looking out for their local races in Eugene, Salem, etc...

  • (Show?)

    My point was, have there been FUTURE PAC events

    Aha. Got it. The Brading event is NOT a future pac event. They're helping with the promotion some (as I am, too) but it's a Brading for State Rep. event.

  • (Show?)

    Friends attend fundraisers and tell me about them, as I am not in a position to contribute money to anyone

    All the more reason to organize one. And it's not hard. Just get some crackers and some cheese (maybe $8-10 worth) and call up a bunch of friends. Get a candidate over, and start talking. At some point, ask your pals to make a donation. $20 x 20 people is $400. And that goes a long way in Oregon politics: pays for the health care for the campaign mgr for a month, or sends 1000 direct mail pieces, or prints 200 lawn signs.

    Fundraisers don't need to be fancy deals with catered food, a band, a rented ballroom, etc. Just some friends in a room.

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