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Entries in Governor's race (3)


The "Two Oregons:" Alive and Well Again

If any one still wonders if there are two Oregons, just look at this map.Image via

It confirms again what we have seen several times – Democrats in Multnomah County vote early and late and pull the Democrats, in this case, John Kitzhaber, to victory over Republican Chris Dudley in one of the closest governor's races in history. Of Oregon's 36 counties, Kitzhaber won only seven; Dudley won the other 29. Moreover, in Multnomah County, Kitzhaber won 71 percent of the vote to 27 percent for Dudley.

Voters who watched the final results roll in last week must have thought they were re-living the situation two years ago when Democrat Jeff Merkley pulled ahead in late returns to upset U.S. Senator Gordon Smith.

For Republicans, the two Oregons are a reality that is hard, perhaps even impossible, to overcome. Even a Republican moderate and a newcomer like Dudley can't do the trick, pulling only about 25 percent of the votes in the state's most populous county while he surged in rural Oregon.

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Tim Duy Says Economic Situation Won't Help New Governor Make Friends

The next Oregon governor needs to keep in mind that there isn't an easy way out of this budget mess, said Tim Duy, an economist from the University of Oregon, at the October 21 Oregon Economic Forum. If Oregon makes bad budget decisions, he said it could become the next California.

The budget cuts the legislature makes now should be viewed as permanent cuts, Duy said. Governor Ted Kulongoski's Reset Cabinet predicted a decade of "recession," or very slow growth, when its report came out earlier this year. Duy agreed, and said the legislature likely won't be able to refund programs until 2020. Balanced budgets, Duy said, will require a hard look at state employee compensation.

Oregon could experience an "echo recession" in 2011-13, according to Duy. While corporations and households are finished making adjustments (lower output and spending), the efforts by the federal government may not have been momentous enough to pull the economy out of the doldrums permanently.

The recession ended four quarters ago, when the economy stopped free-falling and started growing again. But per-quarter growth has been miniscule, so it doesn't really feel like a recovery, said Duy. The economy is still far below its 2007 levels.

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Governor's debate a contrast in personality more than ideas

Kitzhaber and Dudley took to the stage Thursday night for what might be their only televised debate.They might disagree on tactics (and they definitely disagree on taxes), but the two main candidates for Oregon governor have similar goals for the state. Chris Dudley, a Republican, and John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, both want to create jobs, grow the economy and help struggling Oregonians. [Head over to Jeff Mapes' blog to catch video clips of Thursday's debate.]

Dudley's main dig at Kitzhaber is that he is a familiar face in the state Capitol. Many of Oregon's current woes matriculated from Kitzhaber's time in office 8 years ago, according to Dudley.  Dudley says he will bring fresh ideas because he isn't tainted by a political past.

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