Last Thursday Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski (a Democrat) received a report from a task force he had created to study the state budget in the coming years. The report said that under current obligations and funding the state should expect to run deficits for the next decade. This casts the governor's race between Chris Dudley (Republican) and John Kitzhaber (Democrat) in a new light; in fact it raises the question of why anyone would want to be Governor right now.
Whoever wins this fall will have to make unpopular budget cuts. Of course this may please some, but the loss of services will ultimately be painful for most citizens, probably even including those who like the idea of cuts in principal.
This leads me to wonder if I, someone who plans to vote for Kitzhaber, would really be better off if Dudley gets elected. Chris Dudley has made statements very supportive of education, and seems to be casting himself as a moderate. During the Republican primary debate Emily Harris of "Think Out Loud" asked if any of the candidates had considered moving out of Oregon, since they thought the tax code was so onerous: no one said yes. This reminds me that sometimes loyalty and ties to a community are worth something too. I also remember that it was Republican Governor Vic Atiyeh who, after making all the cuts he felt he could, actually raised taxes during a recession.
A Republican would have an easier time getting away with this than a Democrat. My bet is that a decent person guided by common sense rather than ideology would do something similar. I don't know much about Dudley as a politician, but I do know that as a Portland Trailblazer he was the ultimate team player.