Citing "strong leadership" and "guts", Oregonian endorses John Kitzhaber

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

In 2006, the Oregonian endorsed Ron Saxton - the Republican nominee for Governor. Editorially, the Oregonian has historically been a Republican paper. (Bill Clinton was the first Democrat they ever endorsed for President!) Or, as someone once noted here, "The Oregonian was established as a Whig newspaper, and it still is."

But this year, the O took a long hard look at Chris Dudley and John Kitzhaber, largely set aside ideology, and made a clear judgment: Kitzhaber is the only candidate actually prepared to be Governor.

I suggest reading the full endorsement and watching the video prepared by the O in which they discuss their choices.

Here's a few key clips from the text. First, setting the stage:

[The next governor] must lift the state's sagging economy and repair its business climate. And cut billions from anticipated government and school spending. He must slow the rapid escalation in medical costs and make federal health reform work. And face down public employee unions on the runaway costs of health and pension benefits. He must mend a broken political culture. And reverse the tide of public cynicism that has swept across the state.

These are the central issues of the 2010 campaign for governor. Look at them closely. These are not just matters of political change, party affiliation or personality. They cannot be solved simply by coming at them with a fresh perspective, an outsider's view.

No, these issues cut to the core of Oregon values. They require hard choices, innovative responses, strong leadership and the guts to say no, even to supporters. They demand that voters choose a governor fully prepared -- ready now, not later -- to lead Oregon forward.

On Dudley:

Dudley has no public service record. Voters could overlook that if he had experience as a business executive or led a major nonprofit organization. But Dudley's leadership experience amounts to serving as an NBA players union representative and raising money for diabetes care and research. That is not enough. Not when Dudley continues to struggle in interviews and in the one televised debate with Kitzhaber to explain fully how he would address Oregon's difficult problems.

On Kitzhaber:

Kitzhaber's foes have spent this campaign hammering on his last months as governor, as if the other two decades of his public life don't exist. If it is fair to blame Kitzhaber for the economic plunge in his final year in office, then it is appropriate to give him some credit for the go-go economy in the late 1990s, when Oregon was among the national leaders in job growth. In fact, Kitzhaber was part of a generation of Oregon leaders of both parties who fixed workers' compensation, adjusted the tax system and put this state onto a strong economic path through the 1990s. ...

There's only one way to reduce public anger, and it is not by electing a fresh face or outsider as governor.

The answer is to begin to fix the state's deep problems. And there is only one candidate in this race prepared, on Day One, to do what the times demand of Oregon's next governor. That's John Kitzhaber.

Read the full endorsement.

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    Full disclosure: My firm built John Kitzhaber's website. I speak only for myself.

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    Wow, I don't think they've endorsed a Democrat for governor since 1998... the last time Kitzhaber ran.

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    I was surprised by this. But not surprised by the Statesman-Journal's Republican endorsement.

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      The SJ has endorsed Obama and Kerry in the last two Pres elections.

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      I was surprised by the SJ endorsement.

      I watched the panel, and I must have missed where Dudley answered a single question with anything other than a talking point. For the life of me I cannot understand how an intelligent person could have watched that event and walked away with the belief that Dudley is the best choice.

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    Statesman Journal: Chris Dudley worth taking a risk on

    "Dr. John Kitzhaber loves Oregon; of that, we have no doubt. But we're not quite sure what drives his desire to be governor again.

    Read more:

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    I was REALLY shocked by this. In Dudley, the O had exactly the kind of business-friendly moderate they always tout. I'd have given 10-1 odds at least in Dud's favor.

    Will it matter? Normally, the higher profile the race, the less endorsements matter. And they matter less now, when just a fraction of the people read the paper. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if this moves the needle a couple percent in Kitz's favor, just because it is so unexpected.

    The group who are still on the fence are moderate swing voters who haven't followed the election closely. They are probably resistant to vote for a guy who already had his shot and still waiting for a reason to vote Dudley. Instead, the O makes a case that undermines that argument.

    In no case will the effect be huge--but in a close election, it doesn't have to be. On a scale of 1-10, I'd consider this a four--a pretty big deal in a tight election.

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      Agreed. This was a surprise which will move the needle, but not in a game changing way I agree. But this may be a sign of Democrats coming home. I noted that Duddley started running ads with "Democrats" saying they support Dudley. COuld be their internal polling is showing the Democratic base coming home which they wish to monkey-wrench, because if the Democratic base turns out, Dudley loses.

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    This is very good news. thanks for improving my day!

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    Has the Eugene Register Guard endorsed yet?

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    I'm glad to see that the Oregonian editorial board took this seriously. How many editorial boards and voters can Dudley turn to his side without bothering to make a real case for himself?

    I have to ask, though, was that supposed to be video of the actual meeting where they decided this, or a re-enactment? Because it kinda looked like the latter.


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