Jack Roberts: Out for good? Or sneaking up on us?

Jack Roberts, 2002 candidate for governor and 2006 candidate for supreme court, was the last Republican to be elected statewide in Oregon. It'd be reasonable to assume that a party on such a hefty statewide losing streak would turn to their last winner, despite a pair of recent losses.

But, Jack Roberts told the Associated Press that he's out of politics now.

After a long career in Oregon politics, former state labor commissioner Jack Roberts says he's probably run his last race.

"My plans for the future don't involve elective office," Roberts said. "I don't see anything else that I'd be interested in running for. The future can always change your mind about things, but I think it's a good time for some new blood in both parties and to see where it goes from here."

Of course, Roberts could just be trying to hide in the tall grass - and sneak up on Democrats eyeing the three statewide offices open in 2008 (AG, SOS, Treasurer). After all, here's what he said on BlueOregon on October 28, 2005 -- about Virginia Linder and the race for the Oregon Supreme Court.

The truth is I think she is a fine Court of Appeals Judge and would make a fine Supreme Court Justice.

I have said from the beginning that I believe it is a disgrace in 2005 that Oregon has no women on its Supreme Court. Therefore, if Judge Linder demonstrates the ability to be a strong candidate with a good chance to win, I would be inclined not to make this race. However, Gene Hallman has a head start and a strong organization raising money and getting endorsements for him.

I believe I can overcome this, but Judge Linder needs to demonstrate that she can. I will be watching her campaign to see if she does this before making a final decision as to what I intend to do. In any event, I am encouraged that she is thinking of running and I wish her the best.

And after all that, he ran against Judge Linder.


  • randy2 (unverified)

    A little history. I first met Jack when I served on the board of directors for the OBIA and he addressed us at a few board meetings. I was one of 2 (that I know of) Democrats on either the board or staff of OBIA. Despite the sometimes myopic views of the homebuilding industry to development and home-building, I found Jack to be an intelligent and decent guy who was [then] working on affordable housing issues (which, sadly, OBIA failed to get behind in any real way).

    Yeah, he's an R. One I would consider voting for under some circumstances.

    If he issued a press release stating his current plans for his life, I take it as gospel and do not see any "hiding in the weeds" going on.

    Are we so locked into our anti-R angst that we have to assume a person's political party means more than their record and character?

    In the Supreme Court race, I voted for Linder because she was an experienced appellate judge. But if Roberts had won, I think he also had the intellect and character to have made a good appellate judge. Experience was the decider for me in that race.

    Yes, the dominance of the national Republican agenda has called for a strong, take-no-prisoners response. But just like the moderate Rs who got swept out of Congress this month, neither this country nor this state can move forward on solutions to the many problems we currently face (most of which have been caused, admittedly, by the national R agenda) without recognizing that moderate Rs do have some good ideas and accomplishments.

    I have read Jack's posts here on BO and hope that whatever he does, he remains a part of this group.


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    I've never voted for Jack Roberts and can't imagine ever doing so, but this post was just a little too much for me. The election is over -- let's take him at his word. We should also consider the difference between his race against Virgina Linder and those Supreme Court races in Washington State. Roberts could have been snarly, but wouldn't go there, and he's earned our respect.

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    The election is over -- let's take him at his word.

    For what it's worth, he was just as crystal clear that he wouldn't run against Ginny Linder if she "demonstrates the ability to be a strong candidate with a good chance to win".

    I was working for Gene Hallman in the primary, but it was crystal clear by filing day that Ginny Linder had organized a strong campaign, with a competent team, and strong fundraising - capable of taking on the Hallman team.

    I'll leave it to others to decide whether Jack's claims about his future plans are credible this time...

    As for me, I'll live by the ol' adage: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me...

  • Ramon (unverified)

    There is no more hiding in the tall grass for GOP pols like Jack Roberts - it's been cut down by Oregon voters. The election converted the political rough into a putting green for Progs.

    Progs will need to run on the record; there will be no more traction pushing against naked GOP incompetence. With GOP greed-mongers fully exposed by blue-friendly MSM and conscribed to the minority (at best), it makes more sense to declare peace with honor and start moving the ball forward.

    The big issue of the future is replacing lost union jobs in the private sector with union job growth in the public sector where there is no competition. We need a maximum wage law in Oregon that will fund the expansion of local and regional governments. We have the model in Metro. It's time to extend it statewide, increase the number of school districts, etc.

    Oregon now has the opportunity to demonstrate for the nation how to rebuild our crumbled public sector infrastructure in the post-Reagan Era. Carpe diem!

  • (Show?)

    Okay, time for a little reality check:

    I actually didn't tell the Associated Press anything. They picked up this piece from a longer article in the Eugene Register-Guard in which the reporter asked about my future political plans. I told her. It wasn't an announcement or a promise (and you'll note I left the door open to change my mind). It was simply an honest answer to a direct question.

    The same is true about my comments before getting into the Supreme Court race. I delayed announcing for several months to see whether Judge Linder could raise the kind of money I believed it would take to compete with Gene Hallman. By January, I wasn't convinced she could do it and so I got in the race.

    We'll never know what would have happened in a head-to-head race between Hallman and Linder in the primary. I do find it interesting, however, that the only one who seems to be complaining is Kari, who worked for Hallman not Linder.

    By the way, I came to have a great deal of respect for Gene Hallman during that campaign and he has never expressed to me any feeling of betrayal that I got in the race. But then, Gene is a class act.

  • disbelieving (unverified)

    Another dose of reality... not only did Jack raise virtually all of his campaign money from neanderthal DC interest groups, he did so after the initial campaign finance disclosure filings (but not too late to buy a load of TV) and recruited his Republican pal Gordon Smith, a PARTISAN FEDERAL official, to make recorded persuasion calls to Oregon voters in a NONPARTISAN JUDICIAL race.

    Hmmm... I'm sorry, I admire Jack's intellect, too, and really wish he could drop his penchant for too-cute-by-half actions that suggest such a lack of respect for voters. Oregon could use more candidates as thoughtful and intelligent as Jack - but we don't need anymore who think they can outsmart the voters as he apparently thinks he can.

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    Gene is a class act.

    On that, we agree.

    Beyond that, however, it's pretty clear to me that - far from the straight talk rep - you're relying on caveats and curlicues, exceptions and excuses.

    It's true that their summary statement - "probably run his last race" - goes further than your comment... but since you're all about leaving the door open, we'll keep paying attention.

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    Kari, I'm going to take one more stab at explaining this because ordinarily I've found you at least to be fair and I can't understand why you are having such trouble with this:

    I was not trying to convince anyone of anything with the statement that appeared in the paper. I did not suddenly decide to make some announcement of my future plans. I was sitting in my office, minding my own business, when I got a call from a Register-Guard reporter who wanted to interview me about my future plans, in politics and in my current position as head of an economic development agency in Eugene. I agreed and told her exactly what she reported.

    It was the AP that picked this up and played it like it was some kind of "farewell to politics" statement. It wasn't. I don't care if people pay attention to me--in fact, if I do change my mind and run for something in the future, it would be great if people were paying attention. But it isn't something I'm planning to do and that's all I told the reporter.

    <h2>I know successful candidates look forward to a honeymoon period. In today's poltiical climate, I suppose unsuccessful candidates should expect their campaigns to fester like a messy divorce, in which at least one of the parties refuses to let things go. Personally, I think it's time to move on.</h2>
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