The simplest explanation

Yesterday I wondered aloud why Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and the state attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum (pictured), are holding, and building, "campaign" war chests. On further reflection, in Rosenblum's case, there's a fairly obvious answer to my question. 

As readers have pointed out, there's no reason why she couldn't run for governor when Brown's second and final term ends (so ordained by term limits) at the end of next year. Rosenblum is 70, but that's spring chicken territory in the boomer politician realm. She's probably planning to take a shot at it.

And when you think about it, who could beat her? Immediately rule out all Republicans, that's a nonstarter. Who could beat her in a Democratic primary? 

Ted Wheeler? Dubious. Just drive around Portland, partcularly downtown. He'll be lucky if he doesn't get removed from office, by recall or otherwise. And the far-lefties who are getting in his face on the streets and in the restaurants are going to keep his failings in the spotlight for a while. He'll be a pretty lousy candidate for any further office, at least for a couple of years.

So who else could beat Rosenblum? Shemia Fagan, the rookie secretary of state? She's way too young and inexperienced. Peter Courtney? Ginny Burdick? Way too old, even by boomer standards. About the only other person I could think of who's currently on the scene is the speaker of the Oregon House, Tina Kotek. But Kotek's always struck me as an unlikable sort who's burned some bridges. I think that kindly, wise, reserved Rosenblum would beat her pretty handily in a statewide primary. Maybe Comcast, 3M, and Coca-Cola are thinking that, too.

Would one of the federal Congresspeople take a shot at governor? I doubt it. They're mighty comfortable where they are. In fact, if Gatsby Wyden were to keel over, there'd be such a mad dash for his seat that all bets would be off in the governor's race. I think the same might even be true if Earl "the Pearl" Blumenauer decided to call it a day and try marijuana for the first time.

What about Rosenblum's predecessor, John Kroger? Is he governor material? His is a strange story, better left for a post of its own. But I suppose if he came back to town and challenged Rosenblum, it couild get interesting. Otherwise, I think she's the next governor, if she wants to be.

So there, that's a reason for her to have a couple of hundred thou, and counting, in the bank, ready to go.

But that answers only half of my question. I'm still clueless about what Brown might be thinking, other than Wyden's or Bluemauer's gig if it opened up. Brown's a lawyer – would she change places with Rosenblum? That would be something, now, wouldn't it?


  1. Why would you rule out Shamia so easily? She is as good a profiled Democrat candidate as ever existed in modern Oregon. Which is why she was elected to the house, senate and then SoS. Her trajectory to the governor's office seems more obvious than unlikely.

  2. Lynn Peterson's circle has all but yelled from the rooftops that she's running.

    1. I'd throw Mark Hass in there as well, though without a pipeline to public employee union cash his chances of winning are probably only slightly better than that of a republican.

  3. I wouldn’t give any of those names the slightest chance in 2022.

  4. All great insights about potential nominees, however I think Kroger is done. He left Salem with too much baggage and he never really built the Oregon Dem insider support needed to mount a real challenge. I agree it would be interesting if he ran though. He wasn't afraid to shake things up.


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