BREAKING: Kitzhaber IN!: Oregon’s Healthcare Governor Runs Again

After months of speculation and predictions, it appears, according to multiple sources, that former Governor John Kitzhaber (D), creator of the Oregon Health Plan, will run for a third-term as Oregon governor in 2010 (The Constitution bars anyone from running for more than two CONSECUTIVE terms, legendary governor Tom McCall (R) tried to run for a third-term in a similar fashion but lost the 1978 Republican primary to future Governor Vic Atiyeh (the last Republican to hold the office).

Needless to say, this announcement has fundamentally changed the race for Oregon governor and instantly upped the ante.  My analysis is below.

Cross-Posted from Loaded Orygun:…

One of several sources reporting Kitzhaber will join the race is Oregon’s top political reporter Jeff Mapes in this blog post: Kitzhaber nears gubernatorial announcement.


Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber appears poised to jump into the governor’s race.

The former two-term Democratic governor made several calls to top elected officials in Oregon on Monday and word swept through the state’s political community Tuesday that Kitzhaber planned to file paperwork launching his campaign within the next few hours.

The following post will briefly describe Kitzhaber’s record and analyze the impact his entry will have on the race.

Who is John Kitzhaber?

John Albert Kitzhaber is a 62-year old former emergency physician originally from Colfax, WA, although he grew up in Eugene and practiced in Roseburg (southern OR for those that don’t know).

In 1979 he ran and was elected to the Oregon House, serving one term before becoming an Oregon State Senator in 1981 and Senate President from 1985 to 1993.  In 1994, Kitzhaber was one of few Democrats nationwide who avoided the GOP tide as he narrowly won a first term as governor but was easily reelected four years later in 1998.  Upon leaving office in 2002, Kitzhaber worked on health care, founding the  Archimedes Movement in 2006 to help organize his health care reform efforts.

Kitzhaber is certainly best known as the creator of the Oregon Health Plan, Oregon’s medicaid plan made famous for its then-innovative approach to health care, based on the idea of prioritizing treatment so that the most critical treatments were funded first.  Although changed significantly since its creation in the early 1990s, this “prioritized procedures list” remains a key part of the plan to this day.

Kitzhaber’s other main accomplishment is the Oregon Salmon Plan, the hallmark of his second term, which successfully managed to maintain and in many cases increase salmon populations that were at the time collapsing.  Combined with his staunch refusal to sign any bills forwarded by the then-Republican controlled legislature that weakened the state’s environmental and land use policies, as well anything else (earning him the nickname “Dr. No” from critics), Kitzhaber became known as an environmental champion.

Impact on the Race:

Kitzhaber’s entry has profound impact on the race.  Here is how I would now rate it, assuming the announced candidates run on both sides.

Democratic Primary:

Main Candidates: Kitzhaber, Former SOS Bill Bradury, State Rep. Brian Clem (Salem).

Analysis: Kitzhaber should easily beat both these candidates.  Nothing against either of these fine public servants, whom I respect and may actually vote for but Kitzhaber is just way too well known and respected to lose the primary.

Rating: Leans/Likely Kitzhaber.

Republican Primary

Main Candidates: Former Pixelworks CEO Alan Alley, State Senator Jason Atkinson (Central Point, which is in Southern OR).

Analysis: Atkinson should win this race but it will be close.  Alley probably needs one more conservative candidate to jump in to split Atkinson’s support so that he can do what Ron Saxton did in 2006 and squeak through.  None has emerged as of yet.

Rating: Leans Atkinson.

General Election:

Assuming Kitzhaber (D) v. Atkinson (R).

Analysis: Jason Atkinson is another Republican who looks nice but is not the greatest politician in the world.  He is also WAY too conservative for many Oregon voters.  Given that Kitzhaber is not a “Portland candidate” (and trust me this matters), I don’t think Atkinson will be able to pull it out.  Still, it could be close so I’ll rate it that way for now.

Rating: Leans Kitzhaber.

Let me know what you think.

NJ-Gov: Christie Maintains His Lead in New Polls

Quinnipiac (8/25-30, likely voters, 8/5-9 in parens):

Jon Corzine (D-inc): 37 (40)

Chris Christie (R): 47 (46)

Chris Daggett (I): 9 (7)

(MoE: ±2.4%)

Fairleigh Dickinson (8/24-30, registered voters, 6/22-29 in parens):

Jon Corzine (D-inc): 42 (39)

Chris Christie (R): 47 (45)

(MoE: ±4%)

Fairleigh Dickinson did not include Chris Daggett in their poll, but 1% of respondents volunteered his name. In any event, after seeing Christie suffering a prolonged stretch of bad press followed by a pair of polls showing Corzine inching back, these polls have to be considered as something of a disappointment for Corzine fans.

OR-Gov: Kitzhaber Poised to Run

Nobody has really made any moves yet in the Oregon Governor’s race for 2010, as everyone who’s not ex-Governor John Kitzhaber seems to be waiting to see what he does. According to Willamette Week, we may have some answers soon:

WW has confirmed that former Gov. John Kitzhaber will file paperwork Tuesday to proceed with plans to run for governor in 2010. He has notified at least three state-wide officials of his plans.

Kitzhaber previously served as Oregon governor from 1995 to 2003.

No confirmation yet from the Oregonian‘s Jeff Mapes, Oregon’s go-to politial reporter, but he did report yesterday that Kitzhaber would be announcing something as early as this week, although it was unclear whether it would be yes or no. Now it’s sounding like yes. (UPDATE already: Now Mapes is saying yes, too.)

Kitzhaber’s early presence in the race would probably serve to drive out most significant competition, both Rep. Peter DeFazio in the primary and Rep. Greg Walden for the GOP — although there hasn’t been any indication that either one was making any hard plans to run. Kitzhaber polled well against all comers in June’s R2K poll of the race.

RaceTracker Wiki: OR-Gov

Congressional races 2010: SC, SD, TN

Previous diaries


  SC has 6 reps: 4 Republicans and 2 Democrats

  SD has 1 rep: A Democrat

  TN has 9 reps: 4 Republicans and 5 Democrats

Possibly vulnerable:

  SC-01 (R)


House vote in 2008 from AOL

VoteView (ranked from 1 for most liberal to 447 for most conservative; more than 435 because some districts had more than one rep in the 110th congress)

Race Tracker

Obama vote by CD from Swing State

National Atlas for maps

and my previous diaries.

District: SC-01

Location Almost all of coastal SC, bordering NC and the Atlantic, including Charleston  map

Cook PVI R + 10

Representative Henry Brown (R)

VoteView  317

First elected 2000

2008 margin 52-48 over Linda Ketner

2006 margin 60-38

2004 margin 88-12 (vs. a Green)

Obama margin 42-56

Bush margin 2004 61-39

Current opponents A primary and then possibly Robert Dobbs(others are considering)

Demographics   17th most veterans (17.2%), 78th most Blacks (20.9%)

Assessment At least possible; 2008 was close

District: SC-02

Location Southern SC, stretching north to the middle of the state, bordering GA and the Atlantic, including Columbia  map

Cook PVI R + 9

Representative Joe Wilson (R)

VoteView  404

First elected 2001

2008 margin 54-46 over Robert Miller

2006 margin 63-37

2004 margin 65-33

Obama margin 45-54

Bush margin 2004 60-39

Current opponents Robert Miller is running again.

Demographics  70th most veterans (15.1%), 60th most Blacks (26.2%)

Assessment Might be possible, Miller wasn’t that far back in 2008. But not likely.

District: SC-03

Location Northwestern SC, bordering GA  map

Cook PVI R + 17

Representative Gresham Barrett (R) retiring to run for governor

VoteView  430

First elected NA

2008 margin NA

2006 margin NA

2004 margin NA

Obama margin 35-64

Bush margin 2004 66-34

Current opponents A bunch of Republicans are running; the only confirmed Democrat is Jane Dyer

Demographics  49th most rural (49.7%), 80th most Blacks (20.5%), 36th most Republican

Assessment Pretty sure to be Republican

District: SC-04

Location  Northern SC, bordering NC  map

Cook PVI R + 15

Representative Bob Inglis (R)

VoteView 402.5

First elected 2004

2008 margin 60-37 over Paul Corden

2006 margin 64-32

2004 margin 70-29

Obama margin 38-60

Bush margin 2004 65-34

Current opponents There is a big Republican primary, but no confirmed Democrat.

Demographics  Not unusual on what I track.

Assessment Long shot

District: SC-05

Location  map

Cook PVI R + 7

Representative John Spratt (D)

VoteView  198.5

First elected 1988

2008 margin 62-37 over Albert Spencer

2006 margin 57-43

2004 margin 63-37

Obama margin 46-53

Bush margin 2004 57-42

Current opponents None declared

Demographics   35h most rural (53.3%), 80th fewest Latinos (1.8%)

Assessment looks pretty safe

District: SC-06

Location  Southeastern quarter of SC, bordering the Atlantic, excluding Charleston map

Cook PVI D + 12

Representative James Clyburn (D)

VoteView 67

First elected 1992

2008 margin 68-32 over Nancy Harrelson

2006 margin 64-34

2004 margin 67-31

Obama margin 64-35

Bush margin 2004 39-61

Current opponents None declared

Demographics  40th most rural (52.0%), 17th lowest income (median = $29K) 66th fewest Whites (40.3%), 14th most Blacks (56.7%), 58th fewest Latinos (1.5%)

Assessment Safe

District: SD-01

Location The whole state map

Cook PVI R + 9

Representative Stephanine Herseth Sandlin (D)

VoteView  215

First elected 2004

2008 margin 68-32 over Chris Lien

2006 margin 69-29

2004 margin 53-46

Obama margin 45-53

Bush margin 2004 60-38

Current opponents Thad Wasson is the only confirmed Republican, others are considering

Demographics  58th most rural (48.1%), 18th fewest Blacks (0.6%), 51st fewest Latinos (1.4%), 66th most nonWhite, nonBlack, nonLatino (mostly 8.1% Native Americans).

Assessment Safe

District: TN-01

Location Eastern TN, bordering VA and NC  map

Cook PVI R + 21

Representative Phil Roe (R)

VoteView  394.5

First elected 2006

2008 margin 72-25 over Rob Russell

2006 margin 61-37

2004 margin NA

Obama margin 29-70

Bush margin 2004 68-31

Current opponents None declared

Demographics  71st most rural (44.6%), 38th lowest income (median = $31K), 16th most White (95%), 83rd fewest Blacks (2.1%), 58th fewest Latinos (1.5%), 16th most Republican

Assessment Long shot

District: TN-02

Location Eastern TN, including Knoxville.  Borders NC  map

Cook PVI R + 16

Representative John Duncan (R)

VoteView  434

First elected 1988

2008 margin 69-27 over Doug Vandagriff

2006 margin 78-22

2004 margin 79-19

Obama margin 34-64

Bush margin 2004 64-35

Current opponents None declared

Demographics  73rd most White (90.1%), 41st fewest Latinos (1.3%), 40th most Republican

Assessment Long shot

District: TN-03

Location Shaped sort of like a barbell, running from the GA border in the south, then narrowing and running NE to the VA and KY borders, where it widens again map

Cook PVI R + 13

Representative Zach Wamp (R) Retiring to run for governor

VoteView  353.5

First elected 1994

2008 margin NA

2006 margin NA

2004 margin NA

Obama margin 37-62

Bush margin 2004 61-38

Current opponents Although there are lots of people considering running, the only confirmed Democrat is Paula Flowers

Demographics   67th fewest Latinos (1.3%)

Assessment Long shot

District: TN-04

Location  Shaped like a lopsided U, starting south of Nashville in the middle of the state, south to the AL border, east to the GA border, then north to the KY border map

Cook PVI R + 13

Representative Lincoln Davis (D)

VoteView  221

First elected 2002

2008 margin 59-38 over Monty Lankford

2006 margin 66-34

2004 margin 55-44

Obama margin 34-64

Bush margin 2004 58-41

Current opponents Monty Lankford

Demographics  4th most rural (67.9%), 46th lowest income (median = $32K), 48th most Whites (92.6%), 68th fewest Latinos (1.6%)

Assessment Safe

District: TN-05

Location Nashville and suburbs  map

Cook PVI D + 3

Representative Jim Cooper (D)

VoteView  197

First elected 2002

2008 margin 66-31 over Gerald Donovan

2006 margin 69-28

2004 margin 69-31

Obama margin 56-43

Bush margin 2004 48-52

Current opponents None confirmed

Demographics  68th most Blacks (23.4%)

Assessment Safe

District: TN-06

Location Central part of northern TN bordering KY  map

Cook PVI R + 13

Representative Bart Gordon (D)

VoteView  209

First elected 1984

2008 margin 74-26 over an independent

2006 margin 67-31

2004 margin 64-34

Obama margin 37-62

Bush margin 2004 60-40

Current opponents Dave Evans and Gary Mann are in a Republican primary.

Demographics  63rd most rural (46.8%)

Assessment Safe

District: TN-07

Location Another strange shaped district.  Most of it is in southwestern TN, bordering MS and AL, but it stretches north and east to the suburbs of Nashville, then north to the KY border  map

Cook PVI R + 18

Representative Marsha Blackburn (R)

VoteView  407.5

First elected 2002

2008 margin 69-31 over Randy Morris

2006 margin 66-32

2004 margin Unopposed

Obama margin  33-66

Bush margin 2004 66-33

Current opponents Gary Rabidoux

Demographics  95th most rural (39.0%), 28th most Republican

Assessment Long shot

District: TN-08

Location Northwestern TN, bordering AR, MO and KY  map

Cook PVI R + 6

Representative John Tanner (D)

VoteView  220

First elected 1988

2008 margin Unopposed

2006 margin 73-27

2004 margin 74-26

Obama margin 43-56

Bush margin 2004 53-47

Current opponents James Hart and Donn James in a Republican primary.

Demographics   36th most rural (53.0%), 64th lowest income (median = $33K), 38th most Blacks (22.3%), 67th fewest Latinos (1.6%)

Assessment Safe

District: TN-09

Location Memphis and suburbs, bordering AR and MS  map

Cook PVI D + 23

Representative Steve Cohen (D)

VoteView  142

First elected 2006

2008 margin No Republican

2006 margin 60-22

2004 margin NA

Obama margin 77-22

Bush margin 2004 30-70

Current opponents There is a primary, but no declared Republican running

Demographics  76th lowest income (median = $34K), 56th fewest Whites (34.9%), 10th most Blacks (59.5%), 38th most Democratic

Assessment Safe

Redistricting Colorado

Click to embiggen.

My intention here was to shore up CO-03, CO-04, and CO-07. I was not successful with CO-03, there’s just not enough Democratic territory in that area to help Salazar, so I settled on making Markey and Perlmutter safer.

CO-01 (gray, Diana DeGette – D) – Chopped off the northeastern part of Denver and added some of the suburbs. Remains solid Dem.

CO-02 (green, Jared Polis – D) – Drops the Weld County portion of the district and extends west to take in some of the Republican rural counties and south to the Denver suburbs and Park County. Should remain a Democratic district.

CO-03 (blue, John Salazar – D) – Removed a few heavily Republican counties. Maybe slightly more Democratic now.

CO-04 (purple, Betsy Markey – D) – Removed all the heavily Republican rural counties on the eastern third of the state. Added parts of Adams and Denver. Should be significantly more friendly to the Democrats now.

CO-05 (red, Doug Lamborn – R) – Takes in some of the Republican counties from CO-04, but since they’re sparsely populated it shouldn’t shift the population base much.

CO-06 (yellow, Mike Coffman – R) – Same as above.

CO-07 (teal, Ed Perlmutter – D) – Drops most of the Adams County portion and adds part of Denver to make the district more Democratic.

CA-10, IA-HD90: Special Elections Tonight

Just a quick reminder to all of our readers that two competitive special elections will be held tonight. In California’s 10th CD, multiple candidates from all parties will face off for the right to succeed Ellen Tauscher in the House. While Tauscher’s seat has a D+11 PVI, the NRCC has signaled some interest in the race, lifting attorney David Harmer to “On The Radar” status in its recently-relaunched “Young Guns” program — so it’ll be interesting to see how big of a share the GOP vote is tomorrow. Recent polling suggests that Lt. Gov. John Garamendi (D) and Harmer are the favorites to advance to the next round of voting, so other Democrats, like state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, will have to hope for a lopsided turnout effort in order to grab an upset.

Further down the ballot and a couple time zones away, there will also be an open state House seat up for grabs. It’s another Dem-held seat, with the vacancy created when Tom Vilsack tapped farmer and sitting Rep. John Whitaker to head the Farm Service Agency in Iowa. Democrats hold a plurality of the district’s voters in terms of registration, but the GOP is hoping to entice enough conservative Democrats over to their side — aided in part by a massive effort by the National Organization for Marriage to paint the election as a referendum on same-sex marriage. The Iowa Independent and’s Ballot Box both have comprehensive summaries of the race, and the indefatigable desmoinesdem of Bleeding Heartland fame has all the latest dope on the race here and here.

As usual, we’ll have results links for you to follow as polls close, and will post occasional updates on the latest score as the votes are counted.

An Open Internet Letter

An Open Internet Letter to:      

John Boccieri, Leonard Boswell, André Carson, Joe Donnelly , Steve Driehaus, Brad Ellsworth, Gabrielle Giffords, Martin Heinrich, Baron Hill, Paul Hodes, Mary Jo Kilroy, Ann Kirkpatrick, Betsy Markey, Harry Mitchell, Carol Shea-Porter, Zachary Space, Harry Teague, and Dina Titus.


wayoutonthesteppe, a Democrat in the hinterlands certain that many, many others like him could produce their own disparate list of addressees and support the core of this message

What I Have to Say:

I gave most of you $100 and the rest of you $200 in 2008, even though in that tough year I found myself not working, but instead personally providing my wife with 24/7 health care after her health insurance company pulled the plug on her.  In spite of the insurance company my wife is much better now.  Together she and I are contemplating what to do with our somewhat depleted resources in 2010.  

We support a single-payer system, but are mindful that a “public option” is about as much as may be possible now.  And we are paying attention to the health care reform fight.

You all have tough districts to one degree or another.  You all have many partisan Republican constituents to be concerned with.  Moreover, you can try to deflect criticism by pointing to the leadership and its abysmally bungled effort to date.

But my wife and I and many other grassroots supporters quietly count on you to do the right thing.  Please do not disappoint us.

Richard Benson

100 SE 9th Street, Apt. 606

Topeka, KS 66612