Monday, November 13, 2006

OR Dems: Plan Now for an '08 Sweep of US House

Here's an interesting post from Ridenbaugh Press, quoting Ted Piccolo at NWRepublican about early signs that Greg Walden (OR2-R) may be looking for something else to fill his day after the 110th Congress is over--running for Goobernor of Oregon. Here's Ted's rationale/gameplan for Walden's future:
I think Congressman Walden will make this his last term in Congress. I think he steps down to allow someone (Sen. Jason Atkinson? Ted Ferrioli?) else to run for his seat. He works to help a Republican win the 2008 Sec. State seat. He then spends two years campaigning. If this is the case then one would have to consider Congressman Walden as one of, if not THE, frontrunner for 2010.
I assume he means REPUBLICAN frontrunner, because the state GOP is in tatters and only a reversal tantamount to what we just saw in 2006 would lead to any GOP candidate for governor being the "frontrunner." And in this vein, while the 2nd District is certainly the most fertile Oregon territory for a GOP House seat, there's a major difference between re-electing an incumbent and trying to hold onto a newly opened seat.

Further, in two years the Democratic field operation stands to be even more robust and energetic than it was this year, simply owing to the gains made in paid field staff, grassroots county-level party development, centralized voter database analysis, and plain old money. In an open seat scenario does the GOP start with an advantage? Yes--but Oregon will already be an important state to Congressional Dems seeking to oust Gordon Smith. It would be little trouble to piggbyack a run for OR-2 on top of that.

But eastside Democrats need to get going on this NOW--planning locally for the next run, and planting the seeds with the national party that it is a seat that can be taken. Carol Voisin ran a valiant campaign, but she got started late and had almost NO help from anyone else. Both of those issues must be resolved before this is even worth talking about--which is why I'm bringing it up now instead of February 2008.

As for 2010, anybody who watched the GOP's historic collapse just since 2004, would be crazy to assert that the Republicans have no shot at Mahonia Hall four years from now--again, in an open-seat scenario. It's not clear to me that Walden has enough notoriety or credibility west of the Cascades to be a strong candidate, but he certainly has plenty of time to try.

On a slightly different note, comments at NWR give us a heads-up on what out-of-state conservative wedge issue is likely to come to town next election: anti-affirmative action legislation. In the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that partially upheld giving weight to race and gender (among other things) in university admissions, Michigan strongly passed a law banning such considerations, ironically named the "Civil Rights Initiative." The NWR commenter cited one of the key figures in the campaign as indicating Oregon's ripeness for the ballot measure's spread. Oh, goody. Don't say we didn't warn you!