Quick Hits: "E" edition

Carla Axtman

A number of news snippets have come across the transom in the last week that warrant mention here at the big Blue O, and they're brought to us it seems by the letter "e".

Two are endorsements, both going to Oregon Democratic Gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber. The first (and quite belated on our part) is Steve Novick. From last week's campaign press release:

Former US Senate candidate and grassroots activist Steve Novick has announced his endorsement of John Kitzhaber for Governor.

"John Kitzhaber has spent his entire political career boldly telling the truth,” said Novick. “It will be a pleasure to watch him work with a Legislature that can handle the truth."

Kitzhaber said, “I’m really pleased to have Steve’s support. He is fiercely devoted to Oregon, a great example of Oregon’s tradition of grassroots activism and one of the smartest people I know. I look forward to working with him to create a better Oregon future.”

And today, former Oregon Congressman Les AuCoin laid his marker with Kitz as well:

Portland, OR – Former nine-term Oregon Congressman Les AuCoin has endorsed John Kitzhaber’s campaign for governor. “John Kitzhaber is a progressive fighter and will be a Governor that listens to the concerns of Oregonians in every corner of our state,” said AuCoin, a Democrat and former dean of the Oregon House delegation. “As Governor, John always stood on principle, even when it was not popular. His creativity and courage made a lasting difference on issues like health care and the environment, and these qualities make him exactly the right leader for the challenges facing Oregon right now. I am proud to endorse him.”

The other "e" word: employment, in the form of some job shuffling by former Wyden Chief of Staff Josh Kardon (via Willy Week):

A couple of weeks ago, Josh Kardon, who has served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) since 1994, announced he was taking a leave to run his boss’s re-election campaign. But now it looks as though Kardon’s departure might be permanent.

Today, the Tonkon Torp law firm, which has an active lobbying practice, announced Kardon will be joining the firm, although he’ll also operate an independent political strategy firm as well.

Given Kardon’s access to his former boss and other federal pols and his senior role in many campaigns and important policy and personnel decisions over the past 17 years, the hiring is a coup for Tonkon Torp.

Normally, staff changes like this probably don't warrant a mention. But Kardon is widely considered a major political force in Oregon, as the WW story alludes.


  • Where was Kitzhaber on M66 and M67? (unverified)

    Novick's endorsement of Kitzhaber is no surprise at all, given Kitzhaber came out and endorsed Novick in the 2008 U.S. Senate primary against Merkley.

    But....I kinda gotta wonder why Novick is endorsing a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor who didn't do squat to help pass ballot measures 66 and 67.

    Novick gave his all, and admirably worked his tail off to pass both measures. (Thank you, Steve Novick -- words are not adequate....)

    Kitzhaber stayed on the sidelines and did nothing.

    I was left with the impression that Kitzhaber had no faith in these measures, had no faith in the voters, had no faith in the Democrats in the state legislature who passed the tax increases, and had no faith in the broad coalition of folks who got the ballot measures passed.

    Kitzhaber calculated it to be politically safer to keep a distance from M66 and M67, expecting the measures to fail, so that he would not be damaged in the November election by his support for tax increases.

    That's not "bold" -- as Novick characterizes Kitzhaber in the lovefest endorsement quotes above. That's fearful, a politics of caution and self-preservation that may be a symptom of past fights and failures in Kitzhaber's career. He wouldn't stick his neck out for this one.

    There was a chance that both measures might fail. How would Democrats be feeling right now about Kitzhaber's disengagement and lack of active support for the two measures if both measures had narrowly failed?

    I kind of think even Novick -- in the event of a very narrow defeat of the measures and the ensuing havoc as our legislature slashed essential services -- even Novick would be miffed at Kitzhaber for not getting out there and being vocal and helping out to pass the measures.

    As it stands, I suspect Novick believes Kitzhaber will win the primary over Bradbury, and win in November, and like some unions and some folks with a lot of money, he's decided it's in his best interest to get friendly now with the candidate he thinks will be our next governor, as that may be rewarded later.

  • Ricky (unverified)

    The lack of comments over this endorsement shows the so-called progressives are very confused over it.

    The aggressive progressives were certain Steve would endorse Bill.

    Kicked in the face again!


  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    Posted by: Ricky | Feb 9, 2010 12:14:05 PM

    The lack of comments over this endorsement shows the so-called progressives are very confused over it.

    The aggressive progressives were certain Steve would endorse Bill.

    Kicked in the face again!


    Yeah, Ricky! Sublime.

    To be fair, it suffers from the "merit is inversely proportional to responses" syndrome as well.

  • Mike O'Brien (unverified)

    Was Kitz speaking truth to the legislature when he proclaimed that Oregon was ungovernable?

    If so, more truth might not be as productive as Steve thinks.

  • Dtourist (unverified)
    <h2>Novick is a sell out to Progressives everywhere. As said by Gov Dean yesterday, Bill Bradbury the ONLY true progressive running for Governor. Steve: how could you miss this? We're all so disappointed in you.</h2>

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