The insiders speak; time for us to get to work.

OK, people, if you haven't started volunteering and donating yet, now is the time.

Over at big-time lobbying firm Conkling Fiskum McCormick, they're making predictions "based on an evaluation of polling data, media coverage, campaign momentum and strategy". And they're calling it a disaster for Democrats:

* GOP gubernatorial challenger Ron Saxton edges incumbent Governor Ted Kulongoski.

* Measure 48, the proposed state spending limit, fails, but Measure 41, which increases the personal deduction on state income tax returns, is a closer call and still could win.

* Republicans narrowly hang on to control in the Oregon House, maybe with a slim 31-29 majority.

* Democrats also narrowly retain control in the Oregon Senate, with a 16-12 advantage over Republicans and with two independents.

As they say in sports, though, there's a reason they play the games. Betting lines don't win; better teams do.

Remember, campaigns are all about turnout. And when Democrats turn out, Democrats win.

What are you going to do about it?

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    Oy, grim. It's interesting how while the rest of the country swings left, Oregon swings right. Maybe the WW was onto something with their "Red Oregon" article this summer.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    There doesn't seem to be an ounce of science in this. Speculation isn't worth the paper it's printed on. When I see some hard polling data, it will be more credible. If you want to get people scared and motivated, fine. There's a lot of time left and a big debate tonight. Turnout is right. Nationally turnout is going with Dems.

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    Personally, I don't believe Oregon is swinging right. But I do believe that we can't allow Oregon Dems to sit on their hands this year. It's time to work.

    Time to turn off the computer and knock on some doors.

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    Sometimes so-called "experts" have some self-interest on the line. How are we to trust someone who gave money to one candidate or the other to make predictions? Getting worried about who the lobbyists claim to think will win sounds like a horrible way to spend one's time.

  • LT (unverified)

    Patton P. and Bill R. both have a point. Someone once ran an ad saying "word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising".

    I live in a "challenger doesn't have a chance" district, but one where there is unhappiness with the incumbent. As much as canvassing and other campaign tactics are important, so are conversations among people who live in a district.

    Conversations which lead to comments like "Glad to meet someone who actually knows the candidate" or "Gee the incumbent was condescending in that debate" are valuable campaign tools leading people to actually think about the election. I've known too many "not a chance" candidates who won or ended up in a recount situation to trust this type of "insider" information.

    The incumbent in my district is spending a lot of money on radio ads, but when I heard the ad I laughed---it is aimed at people already likely to vote for the incumbent, and it is a very generic ad with little relationship to actual interactions between incumbent and constituents (very few and far between in most cases).

    So don't believe "insiders" as they may have no clue to what is going on in the population, and they may have a vested interest in the results.

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    Funny, I have insider info too. I'm not allowed to say exactly what, but I think it is fair to characterize as saying that Democrats have a thin lead just about everywhere. If we get up, get out, volunteer at 110%, then we win - everywhere. If we sit on our asses then we'll be VERY disappointed - nearly everywhere.

    The message is the same: now is the time to stop reading and start doing. But don't think this is a lost cause. Not for us.

    To use a football analogy, this election is ours to lose. Don't choke.

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    We had phonebanking for Ted at Sierra Club offices last night, and there were 4 of us there, 2 which were staff. There is gonna be 2 more phonebank events next week (24th and 26th) and we could use more help--2950 SE Stark St., Ste. 100. Come on over next Tues and Thurs--starting at 6pm. They always treat ya right at the club.

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    Hey Democratss and moderates and Independents now is the time to contact your County Democratic Headquarters and volunteer to phone bank to Get Out The Vote. Our job is to activate the vote for Ted Kulongoski. Can you spare a couple of hours? I hope so or we are in for one sorry state of less funding for our K12 schools with Saxton in office.

    Do you have a lawn sign? Can you donate $$'s to Ted's campaign? Know anyone who'd be willing to put up a big 4X8 sign for Ted?

    What have we done for Ted? We donated. We hung a 4x8 sign. We volunteer at the Headquarters in our county. We are signed up to GET OUT THE VOTE FOR TED! Remember if Democrats don't vote, Democrats won't win.

  • John Napolitano (unverified)

    If I read the prediction correctly, the republicans would have to gain a seat in the Oregon Senate to get to 12. I don't see that happening. There are only two open seats, and both Democratic candidates are likely to win. And I don't see any incumbent senator on the Democratic side who is in serious danger. Did I miss a hotly contested race on the Senate side?

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    Vicki Walker/Jim Torrey is a hot contest.

    I've also heard, from connected sources, that Democrats are doing well statewide, and turnout interest definitely favors them so far. With an effort that realizes the turnout being speculated, they believe the House can definitely flip.

  • yak (unverified)

    can't wait to vote yes on 41.

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    The phonebanks at the Washington County Democratic Party HQ are also open to all progressive volunteers. You don't have to be from our county.

    We also have a pro-Kulongoski canvass in our swing county. It starts at 11:45 this Saturday. Go to our website for more details.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)

    Here are two concrete things I will do to make a difference:

    1.) Join the Bus Project's Trick-or-Vote canvass.

    2.) Work with Building Votes to make sure all the newly registered voters return their ballots.

    I invite all of you (even Joe12Pack) to join me.

  • Adam Petkun (unverified)

    I'm going to two Bus Trips this weekend! We'll be headed to Washington County and Lane County. That's right, two Bus Trips for the price of one! (which is to say that it is free)

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    I still don't buy that Oregon is swinging to the Right. In fact, even if we don't retake the House (though I think we will), we will still almost certainly gain seats. Also this info suggests that we will actually defeat a monumentally shortsighted anti-tax measure, something that doesn't happen all that often. As for the top race, I think it's a simple case of a mediocre candidate (who's also wildly unpopular) and a lousy campaign.

    I'll be Trick-or-Voting next Sunday, and I would encourage all of you to do the same. Depending on other events, I may also make it out for one or two canvasses for some House candidates between now and then.

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    Would be interesting to know how many registered Democrats will not be able to hold their noses and vote for Kulongoski because they think he hasn't given them a reason and vote for him....

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    Would be interesting to know how many registered Democrats will not be able to hold their noses and vote for Kulongoski because they think he hasn't given them a reason and vote for him....

    Yeah, a lot of liberals may write Ted off--though it would be weird for them either to vote for Keating or Saxton. But I would challenge them a little on this point, and from the left. Ted alienated some folks on PERS and his failure to play hardball over the budget and schools. Fair enough.

    On the other hand, his first legislative session was in the midst of a financial collapse, when he had neither the House nor the Senate (which was divided). Despite this, the performance of kids in schools has improved noticeably. He has agressively pursued environmental resolutions, and the West Coast's emission standards are now effectively driving auto companies to re-engineer their cars.

    Given the environment our state has been in for over ten years, was Kulongoski really less effective than his beloved predecessor would have been? Or was he just less ostentatious about his accomplishments? I honestly think he was as effective as Kitzhaber, who managed to tweak a lot of Republicans while presiding over a gridlocked state.

  • LT (unverified)

    I think one of the smartest things Ted said tonite was "Hey! We made some mistakes last session! There are some things we need to do differently!".

    No telling how Kitzhaber would have dealt with Karen Minnis as Speaker (he did pretty well making his position clear with Brady Adams as Sen. Pres.). If everyone who worked in the capitol would admit that when something like 1/4 of registered voters in this state refuses to choose a major party, talking about the R team vs. the D team just ignores a major segment of the population.

    If Ted is re-elected, he will prove he has learned his lesson if he does things like refusing closed door budget negotiations and explaining his case to the public; and nominating people who he can proudly say "Today I am nominating ----- to the __. This person is the best person for this position because............"

    Incidentally, I don't think Saxton is capable of that. About that document he held up---I went to the website and didn't see anything specific. Not even how he would "make sure there are state police on the highways 24/7". So how exactly does he propose to fund the state police while cutting taxes?

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    If you live in Multnomah County, please come into the office to put in a few shifts between now and Election Day.

    We still have more than 10,000 voters to contact before end of day Friday, and another 60,000 to contact after that.

    If you're not one for phones or canvassing, there are plenty of other volunteer opportunities for you, including data entry (traditional and via barcode scanners), collating canvass packs, working reception, and child care.

    Winning in Multnomah County is a very important part of keeping Oregon Blue. Not only is it key to victory in the governor's race, but we also have several close house races and what may be a close senate race.

    We're currently phone banking 7 days a week and canvassing 3 days a week. As you've probably guessed, the office is open 7 days a week (M-TH 10-9, Fri-Sat 10-5; Sun 12-9).

    For more details, or to sign up to help, give us a call at 503-239-VOTE or stop by at 232 NE 9th Ave. You can also sign up online at

    We're also in need of food and drinks for our volunteers; toys, coloring books, crayons, small tables, chairs, large throw rugs, etc. for our children's area; an electrician willing to donate some time so we can add heat for our warehouse space; and more. If you can give, please give us a call at 503-239-VOTE or stop by at 232 NE 9th Ave.

    You can also donate online at

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    Having just had knee surgery, I'm not going to be out canvassing very much in the next few weeks, but I'll hit the phone banks.

    I also have a few bucks left to donate to candidates. I've given my largesse so far to Brading, Caudle and Peralta. Who else could make good use of a $50 - $100 contribution?

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    Jean Cowan, Brian Clem, Steve Metsger, Vicki Walker--for four.

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    TJ - I'd concur, but that's Rick Metsger.

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    I'd also include Chris Edwards and David Edwards.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)

    This scientific research on how people make political judgements would seem to be particularly apropo at this point, when the real question is why we Democrats are not winning going away (and implicitly why it is how GOTV is done, and not GOTV per se is the key to winning):

    Emory study lights up the political brain

    When it comes to forming opinions and making judgments on hot political issues, partisans of both parties don't let facts get in the way of their decision-making, according to a new Emory University study. The research sheds light on why staunch Democrats and Republicans can hear the same information, but walk away with opposite conclusions.

    What this research doesn't deal with is the political decision making of the mythical "independent". Since many such, "independents" self-identify as being emotionally opposed to the supposed partisanship and values of both sides, rather than rationally affirming what they actually stand for, it's a bit difficult to even frame a hypothesis that they inherently are more, rather than less, rational in their decision making process. Indeed, if the abstract of this to-be-published article accurately reflects the scope of the research it describes, and if the research is valid, than the issue when it comes to political decision making isn't partisanship at all anyway:

    Political Campaigns and Open-Minded Thinking

    but rather the vigor with which candidates campaign and step up to defend whatever governing values they espouse.

    (This latter article may also provide a jumping off point for researchable hypotheses whether or how Oregon's VBM, in the way the two-week "election-day" disrupts the natural arc of campaigns historically, actually facilitates voters in being less open-minded when it comes to political decision making. The task would be to use Prof. Kam's methods to test the null hypothesis that the Oregon electorate expresses more open-mindedness in its political decision making. Anyone have any views on how the Kulongoski-Saxton numbers might speak to this null hypothesis?)

    As a Democrat, I have continued to be disappointed that Kulongoski just keeps missing the mark when it comes to convincingly expressing values that motivate voters, if the totality of the publicly available numbers on his support is to be believed. Without a doubt, Saxton would be a disaster for our state as evidenced by his falling back on the old cliches of being anti-tax and anti-government. (Although the appeal of his argument says a lot about the disconnectedness of our state's electorate with the expressed concerns of our wider society.) But he and his side certainly have internalized the lessons of this research and how to use it to their advantage.

    To a distressing degree, and for reasons that could range from arrogance to self-absorbedness to plain lack of ability, but which remain unclear to the public observer, the poll numbers strongly suggest our side has not. As LT has quite aptly put it:

    If Ted is re-elected, he will prove he has learned his lesson if he does things like refusing closed door budget negotiations and explaining his case to the public; and nominating people who he can proudly say "Today I am nominating ----- to the __. This person is the best person for this position because............"

    If we don't win statewide and nationally in this environment, we really need to give serious examination to the plausible argument that too many of our "experts" and "leaders" are anything but.

  • jonno (unverified)

    First-time canvasser here. I hit the bricks last Saturday with a partner and we contacted over 60 voters--it was easy and productive! There are a lot of receptive people out there who just need a simple and brief face-to-face conversation to help make up their minds. It only took two hours of my Saturday.

    If this normally shy Dem can do it, so can anyone!

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    Congrats on going out the first time! I encourage people to give canvassing and phone banking a try if you haven't already. It's a great way to help candidates as well as get a picture of what average voters (those not interested enough to volunteer or even vote regularly) are thinking.

    <h2>But if canvassing or phoning isn't your thing, there's always plenty of other work to be done.</h2>

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