Rep. Vicki Berger (R) won't run for Treasurer; bring on the "cannon fodder"

State Rep. Vicki Berger (R-Salem) is generally considered to be the leading (and perhaps only) moderate Republican in the State Legislature. As the victim of some serious bullying by the House GOP leadership, and having made strong gains on the bottle bill (her top issue), it's been widely rumored that she's a likely candidate for State Treasurer.

Today's Statesman-Journal, however, reports that she's out:

Salem lawmaker Vicki Berger has decided against running for state treasurer, leaving Republicans without a viable candidate for the post.

Why? Because she's afraid that Democrats will take her legislative seat - specifically Paul Evans:

But when Democrat Paul Evans expressed interest in running for her House seat, Berger decided to pull her name from consideration and concentrate on re-election instead. "I told (Evans) the other day that I'm running for my seat," Berger said. "The fact of the matter is, I didn't want to give up my seat for it. I like what I do."

At Beaver Boundary, blogger Taoiseach offers up some advice for Paul Evans:

Advice to Mr. Evans: don’t wait for a golden opportunity, take on Berger now! You’ll probably win, as the hardcore GOP members are none too happy with the quasi-moderate Rep. Berger.

So, now that Berger is out - who might run? More on the jump...

Among Democrats, there seems to be exactly one and only one name: Ben Westlund. From the SSJ:

A week after Labor Day -- the traditional launch time for major political races -- state Sen. Ben Westlund, D-Tumalo, is the lone contender to replace Treasurer Randall Edwards, who is barred from seeking a third term next year.

Westlund was first to hit the campaign trail but had a personal setback when his mother, Dorothy Westlund, suffered a heart attack in July and later died. Westlund was preoccupied and too emotionally drained for interviews last week. However, his chief of staff Stacey Dycus said "all indications are that he plans to run."

What about other Republicans?

Vance Day, Oregon Republican Party chairman, said he has spoken to three other potential candidates, and hopes the party can field one strong Republican and avoid a costly primary race.

One top prospect is Allen Alley, Gov. Ted Kulongoski's deputy chief of staff. Alley is the former chief executive officer of Pixelworks, a Tualatin computer-chip maker, and a former venture capitalist with Battery Ventures of Boston.

"I have been approached by people (asking) if I would consider doing this," Alley confirmed Friday. He would not say if he's still considering the idea or if he has ruled it out, but said he loves his job with Kulongoski.

"All this happened very recently,"Alley said.

Another one-time GOP prospect, lawyer Jim Zupancic, said he has no current plans to run for treasurer.

Business lobbyist Tom Gallagher said the treasurer's race still is wide open, but Republicans are wary because they haven't fared well in statewide races in recent years. They'll probably find some "cannon fodder," he said.

(For the record, the current state treasurer is Randall Edwards, a Democrat. After two full terms, he's term-limited out. Also, a hat tip to Ridenbaugh Press.)


  • I heart Ben! (unverified)

    I would be proud to call Ben Westlund my Oregon State Treasurer. He's tried and true (and now blue) and has helped this state make some fantastic progress in many areas.

    Throw in your hat Ben!

  • nothstine (unverified)


    I just tried, and got an administrative login--someone's purchased the domain.

    A sign?


  • in the building (unverified)

    Addressing the comment that Berger may be the only moderate R in the legislature, don't forget about Senator Frank Morse. He voted for Antidiscrimination, Domestic Partnerships, the Rainy Day Fund, the Bottle Bill, and Indoor Clean Air, just to name a few.

  • anon (unverified)

    Morse also voted against Healthy Kids, paid family leave and Measure 37 reform, and was part of the Republican walkout to deny quorom for passing the rainy day fund.

    Nice guy, sure, but reliable vote for key issues? No.

  • JHL (unverified)

    I was a supporter of Westlund's back when he was an independent (ended up voting for Ted for Gov), and I'm thrilled to get the chance to support Westlund for Treasurer.

    But what does the story mean when it says he "hit the campaign trail" but also that "he plans to run"? Is he officially in the race yet?

  • swhite (unverified)

    I am so tired of hearing Democrats praise Vicki Berger for her "moderate" record. Look at it seriously and you see she fails where it counts. Yes, the bottle bill is great, but she has a 13% OLCV rating (2005). Should we have to beg and bargain just to get one or two good votes out of her when the seat could go to a reliable Democrat?

    Carefull analysis of her district makes it clear that this is a very winnable seat for a Democrat, especially someone as qualified as Paul Evans. But try recruiting a good candidate when all the buzz from the Democratic caucus and party insiders is how great and bipartisan Vicki's record is. Sure she votes with us some of the time but she's no Democrat. However, she IS an extremely calculating political manipulator who makes deals to discourage potential opposition, and chooses just enough high profile legislation to grab headlines. This, along with Democrats singing her "moderate" praises, keeps her safe in a very progressive district.

  • LT (unverified)

    As a district 20 resident, I resent someone saying Berger is more "moderate" than Morse.

    No one elected from Linn County is going to vote the way Portlanders may want on every issue. But he was an excellent member of the Public Comm. on the Legislature, his website shows his idea for Hopeful Tax Reform. No one was stronger on the idea that it was time to remodel the capitol wings since the water was so rusty no one could drink it and questioned whether they wanted to wash their hands in it.

    And just as important, Frank Morse is more open to dialogue from ordinary folks than Vicki who only started to have general audience (not specific topic) town hall meetings after an underfunded (one of those races ignored by FP) candidate knocked her victory margin down to half the number of nonaffiliated voters.

    I believe I know swhite, and agree with this:

    Sure she votes with us some of the time but she's no Democrat. However, she IS an extremely calculating political manipulator who makes deals to discourage potential opposition, and chooses just enough high profile legislation to grab headlines. This, along with Democrats singing her "moderate" praises, keeps her safe in a very progressive district<<

    You folks in Portland and elsewhere outside the Marion / Polk area should give us here in dist. 20 some credit. Given that this is the legislative district once held by Norma Paulus and then later by Jim Hill (former st. treas. and candidate for Gov.), Vicki may be better than Jackie Winters and some of the other Republicans who held this seat. But to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, I knew Norma and Jim, and always respected them. Vicki is neither Norma nor Jim and should not be compared to them.

  • (Show?)

    LT and SWhite... thank you for these excellent comments. It's important that we don't buy the hype.

  • LT (unverified)

    You're welcome, Kari.

    One other thing to mention, having nothing to do with political label:

    Some people have a customer service attitude in their legislative offices, and are willing to engage in conversation with ordinary folks. I may disagree with Ted Ferrioli 95% of the time (he and I were both part of the large coalition asking why AuCoin was better for the Forestry Board than Heffernan, a coalition which stretched across the political spectrum --this was written by a Salem friend ).

    But I have engaged in more friendly and informative conversations with Ted Ferrioli than with Vicki Berger.

    Ideological labels don't fit public figures who seem more interested in working behind the scenes than engaging in conversations with constitutents or just plain folks. During the 2006 election, it took an opponent's debate question before Vicki said publicly what she had done on the bottle bill in previous sessions. There were statements that she decided on the "just add water" update of the Bottle Bill after talking with "the stakeholders". Who was that, lobbyists?

    Not only that, but all the heroic things her Dad did in support of the original Bottle Bill would not have created the legislation without, at a minimum, a member of the legislature introducing the bill, a carrier of the bill in each chamber, and the signature of a governor. Those of us who listened closely to her over the past 15 months or whatever(and remembered the creation of the Bottle Bill, which has been written about in some excellent books) noticed she never mentioned the name of Rep. Hanneman or the carrier of bill in the Senate.

    The time has come to decide whether the opening words of the Constitution mean anything. "We the people" means the retail clerk, the constituent who asks a question of an elected official, the person who volunteers on a campaign "everyone" says "doesn't have a chance", the server at a fundraiser who notices which public figures treat those working the event as potential voters, and which treat them as "the help", etc.

    That last comes from an old friend who lives near a winery and sometimes helps out at events as well as doing a regular job in an office.

    <h2>Ideology and party are one thing, but she always made it very clear to those she knew that a public figure who treated her as a potential voter (candidate walks up and says hello, speaks politely, etc. ) wanted her vote, while anyone treating her like "the help" didn't want her vote---regardless of whether she agreed with the person's public statements.</h2>
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