Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oregon's Governors Race Set Today

A Kitzhaber Comeback...or a GOP Fast Break? While most of the national attention today will be focused on Specter and Sestak in Pennsylvania, Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas and whether a straight up Tea Party candidate can get a Senate nomination in Kentucky, one of the more intriguing races could be forming in Oregon. John Kitzhaber, a two-term former Governor, seems sure to win Oregon's Democratic primary today, while Republican newcomer and former NBA player Chris Dudley - all 7 feet 1 inch of him - could win the GOP nod. It is a race worth watching. Both men held leads in some of the recent public polling. I've written here in the past about the difficulty of pulling off a political comeback, which may be Kitzhaber's biggest challenge in a blue state that he once called "ungovernable." The last Oregon comeback attempt - Tom McCall's in 1978 - fell flat. At the same time, first-time candidates who try to launch political careers from the top - above the rim in Dudley's case? - often stumble. MSNBC has a good take on the race this morning, noting that in a recent robo-call poll Dudley came out ahead of the two other GOP contenders at just "shy of his career 46% free throw shooting percentage." No word on Kitzhaber's career shooting percentage.