More trivia and some historical footnotes: The November 2010 Election Variety

Following a mini tradition … here is more Oregon Election trivia.

First, John Kitzhaber, if elected,¬†would be the first three-term Governor in Oregon history. The closest in recent years was Tom McCall’s loss in the three-way 1978 Republican Primary, to then soon-to-be Governor Vic Atiyeh.

In fact, two-term Democratic Governors are rare. Before Kitzhaber’s win in 1998, the last Democratic Governor to win re-election was George Chamberlain in 1906 and the last to serve two complete terms, Chamberlain left office to become U. S. Senator, was Sylvester Pennoyer in 1890 running as a Democrat and as a Populist.

Second, months ago this blog pointed out that Chris Dudley, if elected, would be the first Governor since Charles Sprague in 1938 without elective office experience. This actually indicates a bigger issue among Republican nominees. There has been a dramatic drop in their quality since 1996.

Taking 1996 as the dividing point …

From 1956 through 1996, the forty years prior:
Incumbent: 4 (1956, 1962, 1970, 1982)
and then current or previous … Statewide Officeholder: 4 (1958, 1966, 1986, 1990)
Member of Congress: 1 (1994)
Caucus Leader: 2 (1974, 1978)

All ten were prominent political leaders.

Since 1996:
State Legislator: 1 (2002)
School Board Member: 1 (2006)
None: 2 (1998, 2010)

None of the four were prominent political leaders.

If you look at the last three elections for partisan statewide office, 2006, 2008, and 2010, the most politically experienced Republican nominee had one term in the state legislature (Telfer). Ron Maurer ran for the nonpartisan schools office in 2010.

Of course, the next question is why was 1996 a watershed year? Or is it just a trivial observation?

For more trivia see these earlier posts.

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