Gubernatorial Nominee Trivia – Primary Election Day May 18, 2010

As we wait for the election results tonight, here are a couple bits of trivia to tide you over.

They all follow the theme that Portland is not really the center of Oregon’s political talent universe.

First, the Democrats … tonight’s results, regardless of whether Bill Bradbury or John Kitzhaber becomes the Democratic nominee for Governor, will mean the fifth straight time a Democrat nominated for Governor served his state legislative or local office in Eugene or its region (TV DMA or Congressional District, take your pick).

In fact, this will make ten of the past twelve Democratic nominees coming from the Eugene region. Of course, this is not counting Neil Goldschmidt who graduated from what is now South Eugene High School before becoming Mayor of Portland. Barbara Roberts was the one Democratic nominee with no obvious Eugene connections.(1)

Second, on the Republican side, there is a point the emphasizes futility. Portland Republicans have not been successful recently … taking the term “recently” to mean nearly a generation!

Allen Alley, Chris Dudley, John Lim, and Bill Sizemore are all from the Portland area. The last time an Oregon Republican from Portland won a statewide election was in 1992: Bob Packwood’s re-election. All three Oregon Republican statewide wins since 1992 were from non-Portland Republicans.(2)

This combination of Eugene success for Democrats and Portland futility for Republicans appears not to bode well for the GOP this November, in spite of current Republican optimism. But, then, it’s only trivia. The voters really decide on Oregon’s next Governor. (3)

(1) The series of Democratic nominees for Governor consists of: Ted Kulongoski: 1982, 2002, and 2006; Kitzhaber: 1994 and 1998; Roberts: 1990; Goldschmidt: 1986; Bob Straub: 1966, 1970, 1974, and 1978. Straub was a Lane County Commissioner first elected in 1954. Of course, Kitzhaber is another South Eugene High School grad and Bradbury worked at Eugene’s KVAL.

(2) The last time a non-incumbent Oregon Republican from Portland won a statewide contest was 1978 (Vic Atiyeh for Governor). Republicans who have won as challengers or won open seats since 1978 are: Dave Frohnmayer in 1980; Jack Roberts in 1994; and Gordon Smith in 1996 (with re-election in 2002). Frohnmayer and Roberts are both from Eugene. Smith is from Pendleton.

(3) Regarding trivia, no Democratic challenger won statewide office from 1966 to 2006. That long Democratic drought didn’t make Gordon Smith invulnerable in 2008.¬† Trivia, often, is trivial.

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