Why Republicans Got Thumped in Oregon

Russell Sadler

One of the unpardonable sins in politics is believing your own spin. Oregon Republicans are buying their own spin as they try to explain their drubbing at the last election.

Over at NW Republican, blogger Ted Piccolo announces that with the defeat of Ron Saxton, “no moderate Republican can be elected to statewide office in Oregon.”

Whatever Ron Saxton was, he was not “moderate.” He engaged in immigrant baiting, public employee bashing and expressed a willingness to abandon Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s landmark environmental achievements, in an crass effort to appeal to Republican social conservatives.

Oregon Republicans are reluctant to accept the reality that their party is simply not nominating candidates who can attract the independent votes they need to win statewide office. As a result, they have no one in the political pipeline who has the experience the public expects of someone who is running for governor.

Saxton did not lose because he was a “moderate” or a “conservative.” Saxton lost because too many independent voters thought he did not have the qualifications to be governor. A successful stint on the Portland school board is just not enough experience for high office.

Only 34 percent of Oregon’s registered voters are Republican. Only 39 percent are registered Democrats. That means Oregon Republicans need to attract more crossover voters to win than Democrats. Those independents are a prickly bunch. Polls show they have almost nothing on common -- except their contempt for Republicans and Democrats.

Some Oregon Republicans seeking political salvation are now fantasizing about Congressman Greg Walden returning to Oregon to run for governor. That’s pretty desperate.

Oregon Republicans who won statewide office in recent decades were mavericks, not conservative ideologues. Under the influence of the national Republican Party and some newcomers to the state, Oregon Republicans dismissed the state’s traditional maverick political culture to embrace national conservative ideology. Republicans who didn’t go along were ridiculed as RINOs -- Republicans In Name Only -- and purged from the party in partisan primaries. Ironically, independent voters are the last bastion of Oregon’s traditional maverick political culture, so Oregon Republicans purged the very candidates that might appeal to the crossover voters necessary to win statewide office.

Over at NW Republican, blogger Piccolo was ruminating over wreckage as the election results accumulated. He regretted former Mayor Jim Torrey's loss to State Sen. Vicky Walker, D-Eugene. Someone responded on the blog, saying “Torrey was no loss. His election would be like having a Democrat in the Senate Republican caucus.” That’s the problem with the Oregon Republican Party. There is no room for a bright, competent, conservative, main street business-oriented Republican maverick like Torrey.

Oregon’s maverick political tradition has been a part of the state since its founding. It became the dominate political culture in the early 1900s when William S. U’Ren emerged to champion the initiative and referendum. Oregon’s mavericks had one thing in common. They made promises and delivered on them.

In 1911, Gov. Oswald West persuaded the Legislature to declare Oregon’s beaches a public highway, thereby preventing private landowners from blocking the only north-south access many coastal residents had until Highway 101 was built.

Arguably Oregon’s most famous maverick, the late U.S. Sen. Wayne Morse, was elected as a Republican in 1944. He became in independent in 1952 after a falling out with the Republicans over foreign policy. He became a Democrat in 1955 and continued getting reelected until he was defeated by Bob Packwood in 1968.

More recently, Tom McCall got elected governor in 1966 by promising to clean up the Willamette River, then an open sewer of untreated municipal sewage and pulp mill waste. He succeeded in persuading the Legislature to pass the necessary laws and provide extra funding to clean up the river and discovered Oregon’s deep-seated environmental ethic.

In their embrace of “social conservatism,” Oregon Republicans have strayed too far from the things that matter in the daily lives of the independent voters for whom they express contempt, but whose votes they need to win statewide office.

Republicans promised the world in their campaign rhetoric and failed to deliver. Republicans claimed to be the party of fiscal prudence,for example. But their borrow-and-spend policies left a legacy of debt that will take decades to repay. The Democrats win by default. The Democrats aren’t Republicans.

Now the Democrats have no excuse for inaction. Oregon voters gave them effective control of the state. Oregon Democrats are prudently discouraging high expectations knowing the size of the fiscal mess that must be cleaned up and the supermajorities that make reforming the state’s fiscal structure much more difficult than in the past.

  • Anonymous (unverified)

    Saxton seemed to think that he could win if he put up the most and biggest signs.

    You can't win a race with signs.

  • LT (unverified)

    Those Republicans who thought Saxton a "moderate" might not have enjoyed the joke being told at the end of the campaign, "Might almost be worth it with a Democratic legislature to see Saxton be elected and realize that the shelf life of "all the fault of the current Gov." expires on Nov. 7. To see him put together a transition team and a Gov. budget where he actually had to do the hard work, not just look into a TV camera and say "think about it".

    For years current Republicans have said about anyone fondly remembering the days when Oregon Republicans had good manners, common sense, specific proposals which didn't involve digs at "the other side": "Well this is just the way the Republican party is these days--deal with it".

    Well, the fastest growing party is no party at all, deal with that! And deal with people working on legislative campaigns not being impressed that a candidate for Gov. was pretending that the legislature has no role in state government.

    Or that the Saxton campaign was run as incompetently as the Bruggere campaign 10 years ago---slogans, no specific issues, "I'm not the opponent", not willing to answer specific questions.

    Recently I heard a comment on the radio about the origins of the word label--apparently originally something hanging from a piece of cloth.

    It is time to ditch political labels and look at what people actually stand for. Partisans of either party may not like it, but Ben Westlund is closer to the description of a "moderate Republican" (Norma Paulus, Mary Alice Ford, Nancy Ryles, Clay Myers, and many others) than most legislators have been in the last 15 or so years.

  • Frank Carper (unverified)

    Saxton seemed to think that he could win if he put up the most and biggest signs.

    Don't you mean Steve Duin?

  • Dale Thompson (unverified)

    Just to add a word about Greg Walden. You are right, counting on him is a real sign of desparation. As a member of city government for several years here in central Oregon, I have come to know Rep. Walden fairly well. He is a nice guy but I doubt that will win him any statewide office. Greg doesn't take chances. He avoids taking a chance on anything that might upset someone in power. He isn't going to give up his very secure seat in congress for a less than 100% chance he would be elected to anything else. He's a follower not a leader. He doesn't really stand for much of anything but,like I said, he's a nice guy.

  • Ex-GOP (unverified)

    I'd add to Dale's comments by pointing out that Walden isn't a fool. Yeah, his politics might not be popular, but there is a difference between that and being outright stupid. Back when I was a Republican and first moved to the state, it was striking how rarely you'd ever see Gordon Smith and Greg Walden at any function. They avoid the rest of the party here like the plague. It just doesn't make sense that he'd give up his guaranteed cushy job in order to put his future in the hands of the buffoons here in Oregon?

  • (Show?)


    You really should try reading my entire post, and read it in context of other posts around it.

    Did I say (as you say I say), that we need to elect "conservative ideologues?" No I didn't and in fact I said in another post that I am not necassarily advocating leading with some conservative issus as the vanguard. (Although it is not the death knell that the corporate Republicans would have folks believe.).

    Saxton was sold to the Republican party as a moderate. If you do not know that then you really have been living under a rock. Heck in one of his last desperate attempts to win he appeared in a wreckless press conference with, guess who, Norma Paulus and Bob Packwood!

    The highlight of that press conference wat Paulus saying that she did not vote for the Republican last time around.

    Saxton was the first pro-abort Republican to win the party nominantion in years. Did he do any better than a pro-life nominee? Nope. In fact he did worse. Much worse.

    If you believe that the "immigrant baiting," and "abandoning" environmental achievements is somehow courting "social conseravtives," then I just don't think there is any real hope for any dialogue. You are comparing apples, to oranges to pears. You display an complete misunderstanding of "social conservatives."

    Should Republicans look for a maverick? Sure. However one does not have to be a genius to figure that out. Simply stating the obvious on the one hand and trying to marry the obvious to a faulty reading of the last election does not substantiate the latter.

    Look for a maverick? Yes, sure. Saxton a moderate? Yes, of course.

    The two arguments are not mutually exclusive. If you are going to continue to create such analytical stew then... Well I guess I could easily say "water is wet, Democrats silly."

    Hey... Look, I'm right! hehe

  • Eric (unverified)

    Republicans got thumped in Oregon because sane, rational, and nice human beings finally got tired of the antics and behavior of many mean-sprited and vindictive cretins in power who acted more like spoiled 6-year-olds than adults.

  • Coyote (unverified)

    I am not sure that I would disagree with Eric. It sure did not help that the Republicans had become the party of the corporate lobbyists (or at least seen as such. Where was Cactus Jack Murtha when we needed him?).

    However they did not lose because they were communicating ideas of limited government and optimistic free market economics. Nor did it help Ron Saxton that he said he would oppose his own party and that he was pro-choice.

    Point is... A moderate (see my defiition) cannot win state-wide in Oregon. The Republicans who lost their state house seats were all pro-corporate lobby "moderates."

    I think it may be fun to see a Republican move to slap a higher tax on the beer and wine folks and barnstorm the state smacking some of the lobby down.

    Think it will happen? From either party? Not likely.

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    There was an interesting perspective in a "Talk of the Town" piece in last week's New Yorker, to wit: that Rove and his ilk had successfully turned the GOP into a highly disciplined "parliamentary party of the right", dependent upon the votes of "taxophobes, Christianists and dittoheads", instead of the relatively loose center-right coalition that it had been. This eventually backfired when the more centrist of that center-right abandoned the GOP.

  • LT (unverified)

    Saxton was sold to the Republican party as a moderate.

    And this is the crux of the matter. Is there an agreed upon definition of "moderate"? Our big unabridged dictionary has a couple of definitions of that word incl. "within reasonable limits" and "not extreme in opinions or partisanship".

    My question is, who decides that? Why did the Republicans "buy" Saxton as a moderate instead of going with Jason Atkinson, the man from the younger generation?

    People argue over the taste of Starbucks vs. other coffee, whether they like a particular hamburger, a particular vegetable, a particular side dish. But all registered Republicans have an agreed upon a definition of "moderate"?

    Anyone who has ever worked in retail has encountered a customer saying "You sold me this product saying it would....and then I got it home and it didn't do that, so I am bringing it back!". But because Saxton was "sold as a moderate" we were all supposed to "buy" that description and not think for ourselves?

    And "Yep, Norma Paulus is endorsing him, therefore he must be a moderate" was supposed to be our attitude as if we couldn't think for ourselves? No one looked at that endorsement and said "Norma's doing a party chore for a Republican nominee who is struggling"?

    Coyote, your "Saxton was the first pro-abort Republican to win the party nominantion in years" shows lack of understanding of the thinking of independents. Such as those who don't think one's views on abortion should be correlated to one's views on tax and budget policy.

    Like the people who campaigned for Catholic school administrator Chuck Lee running for state rep. in Dist. 25 because they liked him personally and liked his views on economics, education, and many other issues.

    I think lin qiao has it right. I happen to think labels short circuit thought. People who said "I might have voted 3rd party, but Saxton is a joke" had a right to that opinion. If the Republicans couldn't nominate someone who admired respect instead of jokes, that is the fault of those voters. It is no one's responsibility to accept someone just because they were nominated. Look at the results from US Senate (special and regular elections) and how many people refused to vote for a nominee of either party. Kulongoski was a known quantity who had served in the legislature and knew the process. Saxton was the king of one-liners and attacks. THAT is a platform?

    As I read somewhere recently, the Gov. election was proof that labels are less important than people looking at the candidates and saying "sorry, a former school board member who only talks in generalities and attacks hasn't shown sufficient background to qualify for the position as Governor".

    Maybe it is time for those who thought Saxton was a shoo-in to take a lesson from those Democrats more than 20 years ago who thought Mondale was the best possible presidential nominee: It is not what you and your political friends believe that matters, it is what the folks outside politics believe--those store clerks and secretaries and accountants and medical/public safety folks and farmers and those who work with children and those who are retired and those who live down the street from you but have never discussed politics. Those people each have one vote, just as activists each have one vote.

    All the political activists in Oregon could agree on something and they'd be maybe 5% of the voting population. Go out in the real world and talk to some of those folks. At a Thanksgiving gathering (assuming it involves those not in your political activist circle) use a conversation starter like "were you suprised by the election results?". You might be amazed at the response.

    Every election resets the political climate. As I recall, there is a large enough under-35 bloc elected to the 2007 Oregon House to basically control that body on any issue they care about. If the majority is 31-29 and there are even 4 (forget the actual number) in that age group, they could sway the majority. Remember, it is not in the Constitution that bills must pass with a majority of one party. Any group of 31 votes can pass a bill.

    Just remember what it means to be 35 or younger. A current 35 year old was one year too young to have voted for GHW Bush v. Dukakis, and would have been just old enough (19) to vote on whether Barbara Roberts was elected Gov. and whether Measure 5 passed. Try saying "the voters have spoken on Measure 5" to someone not old enough to have voted in 1990. Lots of young people got involved in the 2006 election, and not all of them fit 20th century labels like Rove-defined "conservative" or other labels.

    Since the election, there have been discussions, emails, etc. along the lines of "what a nice young man/woman I met on that campaign whose name is ----". I submit to you that regardless of that nice young person's name or politics, those young people who impressed people in an older generation have something money can't buy and ideology doesn't understand: a huge resevoir of good will.

    Now, had Saxton spent the last 4 years building up something like that ( for instance: a well explained proposal for PERS rather than potshots like "fire all public employees and rehire them without PERS") he might have gotten somewhere. But I saw his TV commentaries when he was on KATU and those were never that thoughtful. And the "think about it" ending sounded condescending.

    Vic Atiyeh once said something like "my politics didn't change but when I was elected Gov. I was a conservative and when I left office I was considered a moderate because the Republican party had changed". I still say a Republican won't get elected Gov. until they convince those old enough to remember Atiyeh that such a Republican nominee is of the quality and experience of Atiyeh (a legislator before being Gov.).

    Maybe the lesson of 2006 is that ideology can't compete with "I like that candidate and am willing to give that person a chance to change things". But Saxton apparently didn't want to be liked--he wanted us to believe that if elected he'd have a magic wand and could force the legislature to do his bidding without that pesky requirement for 31 votes in the House and 16 in the Senate. And maybe people just decided they didn't want to hear his voice for the next 4 years---someone did a study one time saying that was sometimes a factor in elections of state or national chief executives.

    I write this as someone who campaigned for Tom McCall's re-election, and who basically got "we don't want your kind here" from the GOP after McCall died. Maybe it is time for Republicans to do some "market research" and see just how much support there is for a party which seems to value ideology over specific proposals openly debated. Or whether it really is true that Oregonians want to think for themselves which is why the fastest growing party is no party at all.

  • Coyote (unverified)

    Hey, I am not going to try to defend Saxton on the likability meter. That is but one of the reasons that I did not support him in the primary.

    I am not saying that Saxton did not have other things going against him.

    I am pointing out that the Portland area corporate Republicans sold everyone in the party the line that Saxton's moderate views would gain the necassary metro area votes needed to win. He got fewer metro area votes than Mannx did. So much for the wisdom of the Portland area corporate Republicans and their moderate candidate.

    Also looking down ticket we saw that the Republicans who lost seats in the legislature were the moderates.

    The point is, that the certified smart folks (Elaine Franklin et al.) who have been banging the drum for a Portland area moderate Republican to run statewide got their hat handed to them.

    Even Everett Curry who tried to run as "I'm more moderate than Derrick Kitts" lost a seat that Kitts could have held.

    One of my points is that when you hear the term "moderate" bounced around by Republicans it is describing a candidate that is trying to run against the conservatives in the party. THAT is a moderate, and we have seen that THAT is a losing strategy.

  • Eric (unverified)

    Democrat or Republican - it doesn't matter. I vote for people who demonstrate they are not vindictive, are not self-centered, are not mean in spirit, and do act like an adult. You can be 'moderate' and still act like a human being - thats why we loved Tom McCall so much.

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    Would Coyote kindly define a "Portland area corporate Republican"? Or simply "corproate Republican" irrespective of location? Is this supposed to be a counterpoint to the "taxophobes, Christianists, and dittoheads" of the New Yorker article?

    Every loyal Republican voter to whom I speak--or whose words I read--thinks the election debacle was the fault of "squishies" and "RINOs". Who exactly are they supposed to be? My interpretation of their words is: a squishie or RINO is anyone not toeing the line of the "taxophobes, Christianists, and dittoheads". In other words, the impulse here is towards ideological purification.

  • Kevin (unverified)

    LT is right. Just because Saxton was marketed as a moderate doesn't mean that the market was willing to buy him as such. Frankly, to compare Saxton to Paulis or Packwood was an insult to the voter's intelligence.

  • Kevin (unverified)

    Every loyal Republican voter to whom I speak--or whose words I read--thinks the election debacle was the fault of "squishies" and "RINOs". Who exactly are they supposed to be? My interpretation of their words is: a squishie or RINO is anyone not toeing the line of the "taxophobes, Christianists, and dittoheads". In other words, the impulse here is towards ideological purification.


    I've watched Oregon Republicans pursue ideological purification with a vengence ever since the 1994 Congressional turnover. Such a strategy might well work in somewhere like Texas, but it had zero chance of working here in Oregon. That Oregon GOPers thought it might simply underscores the fact that drinking one's own Kool-Aid is always a bad idea.

  • LT (unverified)

    First of all, if E. Franklin was one of the "certified smart folks", maybe that is part of the problem. Didn't she work to get Billy Dalto elected as a pro-choice Republican---and then he got elected and voted with RTL?

    Maybe it is time to start trusting the judgement of ordinary folks rather than consultants. Unless you can find a "political professional" who predicted Clem would defeat Dalto by such a large margin, or predicted Dallum would almost lose to Gilbertson. Where is Dallum on the political spectrum? Does it matter if that many in his district were willing to take a chance on the challenger?

    There is a huge battle in this state between Portland and downstate. Many Democrats are thrilled at the number of downstate Democrats in the new Oregon House Dem. caucus. Sounds like the same split might be there in the GOP.

    I am pointing out that the Portland area corporate Republicans sold everyone in the party the line that Saxton's moderate views would gain the necassary metro area votes needed to win.

    Eric is right. I also support adults who place more emphasis on solutions than on being vindictive. Where did Curry end up on that spectrum?

    If someone wants to talk about the definition of moderate Republican, why not Frank Morse? He seems to me closer to McCall than anyone now in Republican politics (with Westlund as an Indep. ).

    "Here's my proposed solution....." is SO much more attractive than "here's my label" or "vote for me because I have such great dislike for my challenger".

    Years ago I recall a candidate saying with some surprise "people won't listen to you if they don't like you". Maybe those wondering why Saxton lost should contemplate that statement.

  • (Show?)

    Coyote: your problem is with the PDX-area corporate Republicans then--not the idea of pushing a moderate Republican for office. You may have been TOLD he was a moderate, but he simply didn't act like one...or rather, he professed to be one and most people saw right through it. What you should be saying is that the GOP can't run any PHONY moderates. And your point about Mannix doing better actually makes that clear, as does George Bush's pair of (s)elections, and in fact most of the Democratic victories of the last 2 years--people like a sincere person they disagree with, vs someone who pretends to agree with you when it sounds prudent, or who gets so tied up trying to agree with everyone that they end up standing for nothing.

    Ev Curry tried to run as a moderate, but he was also exposed as a phony when it was revealed how much he liked to talk about his political relationship with God when in front of the right audience. Not a good example IMO.

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    A co-worker of mine has had a signed photo of Ronald Reagan on his office wall for as long as I've known him. On January 20, 1989, he flung open his office door so everyone would have to listen to Bush I's inaugural address. Yet in 2004 he pasted a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on his car and states clearly that the Republican Party has caved in to authoritarian ideologues, both religious and secular, and no longer represents him. I'm kinda thinking that if people like this are abandoning the GOP, they need to rethink their chosen ideological rigidity.

  • josh reynolds (unverified)

    Torrid Joe and Lin Qiao are correct. No one quite knows what Saxton or Feldkamp and others actually stood for. You knew what Reagan stood for. You may not have liked it but there was no guessing. I believe Mannix was as close as he was in 2002 because he actually stood for something.

    Jim Torrey did not lose in Lane County because people did not know what he stood for, it had more to do with people did not think Vickie Walker did something to warrant her to be thrown out of office. Jim's biggest problem was timing more than anything else. Both Jim and Vickie are good folks doing their best to make their communities a better place to live.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Well said, Russell. I remember you from former days when you were student rep to the legislature from U. of O. The Repugs have turned themselves into an extremist fringe party. They cannot win statewide elections for that reason. The points is, as a party, they hate public schools, public education,public services, and civic culture. They promote a Christian Taliban culture war on American society. Unless you want to live in Afghanistan and defend your life and property with an AK-47 in country run by militias,forget it.

    Whatever Saxton is, he felt he had to use right wing demagogue rhetoric to get elected in the primary. Even so, had the uber-extremists not split the vote, he wouldn't have won. Norma Paulus was right. There is no one left in the party she can talk to. The Mark Hatfields, the Tom McCalls are gone for good. The Nelson Rockefeller Oregon Republican party is dead.

    Lars Larson is the face of the Oregon Republican Party, the culture of hate and paranoia is the ideology. The Republican party of the U.S. is not conservative. It is extremist, fundamentalist and believes in what my political science professor called, "a conscious return to barbarism," the definition of fascism. Even their version of Christianity is a new invention, a violent and coercive aberration in religious tradition. They are a danger to a pluralistic democratic vision of America and constitutional guarantees of freedom and legal process.

  • Val (unverified)

    Josh is correct in saying that people supported Vicki Walker because she represented her constituancy and does her job well but the fact is that Jim Torrey lost in SD 7 because people found out what he stood for. Jim Torrey supported W's re-election campaign with a $2000 contribution, supported the Iraq war and is anti-choice. Because he had only served in non-partisan seats before that time, the constituants of SD7 thought he was a moderate and many didn't know he was a Republican. The bottom line is that he was out of step with the district but it is fair to say that he was a formidible candidate. There is not another Republican that could have come close to winning this year in that district. On the other hand, there is not another Democrat other than Sen. Vicki Walker that could have beat Jim Torrey in that race.

  • josh reynolds (unverified)

    Bill R. if you are what democrats stand for then I don't want anything to do with your party. This is why I am yet another that is filing independent. Both "parties" and platforms are formed by the extremists.

    Val, enough of the talking points. Speak from the heart this time.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Republicans lost because of the great stories developed by bloggers that were picked up by the mainstream media.

  • val (unverified)


    I am not sure what district you live in, I live in SD7 and have worked closely on issues that I care about with both Sen. Vicki Walker and Jim Torrey. In this past election I worked tirelessly on Sen. Walkers campaign because I did the research and felt Jim Torrey didn't represent my values or those of my neighbors. I told Jim Torrey's campaign manager last August that by running for the Senate, Jim would lose his non partisan reputation as the nature of the Legislature is partisan. I suppose he could have run as an Independant and form a coalition with Ben Westland and Adel Gordly but he chose to run as a Republican instead. From my very close seat, the one right in the middle of the action, I can tell you that this election win was based on three things, Vicki Walker is an excellent Senator and fights for what matters in our constituancy like Children's rights and choice, Jim Torry is popular, supports education but also supports Bush and Iraq and making abortion illigal. In the balance, without the names attached, just the Party affiliation with a description of their beliefs, Vicki would have won in a landslide. That wasn't how it went. Jim focused on showing the side of him that is very pleasant and having fun with kids and then threw some punches with negative ads. That is when Vicki took the gloves off (not one second before)and started hammering him on who's political phylosophy he is aligned to with his contributions.

    So maybe you'll read this and think I am not speaking from the heart but are rather one of those political scince junkies who study blogs instead of having a life. Oh Contraire Josh, I have a life which is so much happier since Chris Edwards became my Representative in HD14 and Senator Walker kept her seat in SD7. Also through working on these campaigns I met amazing peope and made friends, the most amazing friend that I made was Vicki Walker. She is hard working, smart and is not afraid to fight for what she believes in without pulling punches. And that is also why I put my entire heart, soul and every bit of energy into Vicki's campaign. Like so many other of her constituance, I believe in what she can do in Salem but alas quite different from the Register Guard who said that she had done a great job as a Senator and her only problem was getting in the way of Jim Torrey's candidacy.

  • josh reynolds (unverified)


    Thank you for clarifying I meant no disrespect.

    I live across the freeway in Springfield. I am glad our mayor, Sid Leiken, decided not to run for county commissioner as I would have been someone to vote against him as to keep him as our mayor. Bill Morrisette and Terry Beyer are our reps, but Sid is our leader.

  • Ulys (unverified)

    Mr. Sadler

    would you be available for a redux of your goal setting thoughts January 18 or 19 in Shady Cove

    thanks, didn't know how else to contact you

  • Mike Riley (unverified)

    Sorry to jump in so late in the discussion, but I had to take exception to the suggestion that Saxton is a Conservative in Moderate's clothing. I believe the opposite is true.

    Saxton is a Moderate who re-positioned himself as a Conservative to win the primary and was then forced to continue to position himself as a conservative in order to keep the potential Starrett voters at bay.

    Ironically, he won the primary because the true Conservative candidates (Atkinson & Mannix) split that vote, so he wouldn't have had to position himself so far right after all.

    What's more ironic is that in the end, the "faith community" didn't buy "Saxton the Conservative" and (for other reasons as well), largely sat out the election.

  • curt (unverified)

    "Saxton was the first pro-abort Republican to win the party nominantion in years. Did he do any better than a pro-life nominee? Nope. In fact he did worse. Much worse."


    Didn't Saxton promise to sign any bill that Right To Life brought him?

    And also.. "pro-abort"? What kind of word is that supposed to be?



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