Could right-wing initiatives hurt Ron Saxton?

Over at CFM Insider - a political newsletter written by lobbying firm Conkling Fiskum McCormick - they're arguing that the hefty truckload of conservative-leaning ballot measures could hurt, not help, GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron Saxton.

Conservative voters in Oregon who feel increasingly alienated from the Bush Administration may have a lot to root for on November's general election ballot. They likely will have a chance to vote for ballot measures to curb state spending, elect judges regionally, limit eminent domain and require parental notification of abortions for girls 17 years and younger. ...

The conservative ballot measures, however, could complicate efforts by GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron Saxton to broaden his base and improve his chances to unseat Democratic incumbent Ted Kulongoski. Saxton has a record as a centrist Republican, and his campaign success is tied to attracting a chunk of moderate voters in Multnomah County, where he is known for his work as chair of the Portland Public Schools board.

The proposed state spending limit represents a tricky obstacle to Saxton's ability to hold on to fiscally conservative voters, while appealing to moderates. Don McIntire, sponsor of the initiative, says a spending limit is needed to block the impulse of lawmakers, especially Democrats, to spend every dollar the state collects. That rhetoric matches the spirit of Saxton's successful GOP primary campaign, where he pledged to shake up things in Salem and reduce spending.

Opponents, including many public education advocates, will charge that McIntire's spending limitation will doom K-12 schools in Oregon to permanent funding mediocrity. Many of the moderates Saxton hopes to court will hold this view.

It won't do Saxton much good to woo voters in the middle at the expense of losing voters he already locked up on the right.


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    I am shocked there's nary a single comment to this, particularly given the response to the WW post. In that article, one of the knocks against Democrats was that we have failed to field enough ballot measures to rally our own base to the polls.

    But what CFM point to is something I've been increasingly wondering about. With Starrett on the right and Westlund on the left, where does Saxton go?

    There has been a lot of talk of how Kulongoski hasn't been thrilling his base, and yet the left seems to be falling in line far more than the right behind their candidate. The right wing coalition appears to be fragmenting as they lose the ability to force wedge issues on the left--and issues in fact backfire as wedge issues among their own coalition.

    Most interesting!

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    Jeff, the premise of the article is either silly, or it's not articulated well enough.

    It seems the article is about voters who are too conservative to vote for Saxton. Those people won't influence the race whether they vote or not, so it's hard to see how the presence of far-right ballot measures could have an effect.

    Maybe the point is that the existence of the ballot measures will force Saxton to reveal his moderateness. But it seems to me there are all kinds of factors that will force Saxton to clarify his politics...all of them with political costs.

    So why is the presence of these ballot measures of any particular importance to Saxton? Seems to me just a regurgitation of the same boring headline:

    Saxton is moderate, so he'll have trouble wooing right-wing nutjobs.

    just like last cycle's headline:

    Mannix is a right-wing nutjob, so he'll have trouble wooing the moderates.


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