John Kitzhaber is to be the next Governor of Oregon, elected for an historic third term. Chris Dudley conceded defeat yesterday evening at 7:15pm.
What a victory for Oregon!
|Election day in Portland, 2010|
On Election Day, after work, Stewart King and I drove down to Kitzhaber HQ to see if we could help out. We were given a turf to walk (the Brooklyn area, by Aladdin Theater), and set out. There was a sense of urgency. The folks at HQ knew, and we knew, too, that the race was very tight. Every vote would count.
Stewart and I knocked on the doors of registered Democrats and Independents, with a very simple message: Get your ballot in today by 8pm!
Last-minute canvassing at Kitzhaber HQ
Although Dudley led through election night and as late as 4:30pm of the next day, most of the uncounted ballots were from Multnomah County and running 70%-30% in Kitzhaber's favor. By 6:15pm Kitzhaber overtook Dudley in the vote count. Dudley conceded 45 minutes later.
We won! And all Oregonians should be glad of it.
Because, judging from his campaign, Dudley would have been a disorganized and pliable governor. The campaign lacked organization and message and was run by highly-paid, out-of-state, GOP political operatives. Really, Dudley's candidacy seemed GOP boilerplate: present a vaguely genial empty-suit candidate; have him spout placations over a big, big financial megaphone; hope people aren't paying too much attention, or distract them with a non-issue, or chant "Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts." Karl Rove politics.
Well, I'm happy to say that in Oregon, we'll have none of it. The cynical GOP formula doesn't work here. This ain't rural Georgia, people.
Kitzhaber's victory was the result of a genuinely active and informed citizenry. We were organized, determined, and unrelenting. As I've said before: the GOP still does not have an answer for the Democratic ground game. Not here in Oregon.
Honestly, I hope Chris Dudley continues to participate in state politics. I still think he's a good guy. But he needs to lose those repugnant GOP campaign people. They are poison in Oregon. If Dudley could help revive the old Oregon GOP, the party of Mark Hatfield and Tom McCall and Vic Atiyeh, Oregon could only benefit. But the national GOP is not welcome here in Oregon. Stay away, Rick Perry!
Oregonians, I'm proud of you. I'm proud of us. We've remembered who we are, and who we are not. In the days to come, we will have cause to keep that in mind.