OR-Gov: "Minor" parties find some mojo with fusion voting

Carla Axtman

Update: 4:22PM: Apparently it's not part of Dudley's super double secret strategy to get the Independent Party's nomination. The Party announced last week which candidates are under consideration, and Dudley isn't there. Weird.

It looks as if the "minor" parties in Oregon are benefiting from Oregon's fusion voting law:

At least three of the six minor parties in Oregon could field governor candidates, and a Portland lawyer is thinking about a run as a non-affiliated candidate - all giving voters more choices and perhaps giving the major-party candidates Republican Chris Dudley and Democrat John Kitzhaber some political headaches.

As is often the case in Oregon elections, there's a chance that third-party and independent candidates will influence how the campaign unfolds. They can either siphon votes and spoil one candidate's chances, or they can influence one or both of the major-party candidates to change campaign strategies.

This year, a law adopted by the Legislature in 2009 effectively gives the major-party candidates a chance to run under the banner of minor parties, as well.

Love that last part. This appears to give more viable candidates who've come up through the major party "farm system" a chance to hitch up with minor parties, raising the profile of those parties and the cred of the candidates. I'd love to see those parties leverage that higher profile into "farm teams" of their own.

One part of this story that struck me as rather odd came from GOP gubernatorial nominee Chris Dudley...

The Democratic nominee, Kitzhaber, says he'll seek nomination as the Independent Party candidate and expects he may win endorsement from the union-backed Working Families Party. That means his name could appear on the ballot with designations of three parties.

The Republican nominee, Dudley, refused comment on his strategy about fusion voting.

What's the big secret? Either you're going to vie for the nomination of these parties or you aren't. The Independent Party's nomination application deadline has passed. The Libertarians have their nominating convention this weekend in Salem. Presumably Dudley shows up for that. I don't see the Constitution Party's nomination info on their website so perhaps someone in the know can weigh in. This isn't exactly high level campaign strategy so I'm having trouble understanding Dudley's unwillingness to discuss it. It seems like a no-brainer to try to get these nominations.

Additionally, the potential candidacy of GOP lobbyist John DiLorenzo is downright weird. He'd do little more than suck funding away from Dudley and piss off the GOP establishment. He also seems like a guy that would be pretty easy to demonize. Defending Republicans against ethics charges and lobbying for conservative, monied interests appears to me to be a fat target.

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    The ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) gave $10,000 to Oregon's Working Families Party earlier this year. I'm also a registered member.

    I like that the party can bring people together from around the state and from different backgrounds to talk about the common ground we have on economic issues, regardless of political party.

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    There is at least one Oregon Constitution Party candidate, Greg Kord...he has a website up...unknown what other folks are contemplating a run.


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