Byline: The Register-Guard
As Yogi Berra Noun 1. Yogi Berra - United States baseball player (born 1925)
Berra, Lawrence Peter Berra, Yogi would say, it's deja vu See DjVu. all over again. The conservative wing of the Oregon Republican Party The Oregon Republican Party is the state affiliate of the national Republican Party in Oregon. The first state party convention was held in Salem on April 21, 1859, and its first nominee for Congress, Portland attorney David Logan, came within sixteen votes of being elected. is threatening to field a third-party candidate for governor if Ron Saxton Ronald L. Saxton (born 1954, Albany, Oregon) is a lawyer and Republican politician in Oregon. He graduated from Albany High School in 1972, earned a bachelors degree from Willamette University in 1976 becomes the party's nominee. That's a self-defeating ploy, but to some, political purity is preferable to victory.
This has happened before. In 1990, the Republicans nominated for governor a moderate in the mold of Oregon GOP superstars Mark Hatfield Mark Odom Hatfield (born July 12, 1922) is a former United States Senator and Governor of Oregon. He is a member of the Republican Party. Biography
Hatfield was born in Dallas, Oregon, , Tom McCall Thomas Lawson McCall (March 22, 1913 – January 8, 1983) was an American politician, a Republican, and the 30th governor of Oregon from 1967 to 1975.
McCall's two terms as Oregon's governor were notable for many achievements in the environmental sphere, including the , Norma Paulus Norma Paulus (b. March 13 1933) born Norma Jean Petersen in Belgrade, Nebraska is a Republican politician from the state of Oregon, United States. Raised as one of seven children in Eastern Oregon, Paulus started her working career as the secretary for the district and Bob Packwood: then-Attorney General (now University of Oregon The University of Oregon is a public university located in Eugene, Oregon. The university was founded in 1876, graduating its first class two years later. The University of Oregon is one of 60 members of the Association of American Universities. president) Dave Frohnmayer. The Republican red-hots fielded conservative unknown Al Mobley as a third-party alternative to Frohnmayer, who failed right-wing litmus tests on such issues as abortion and gay rights. Mobley won 13 percent of the vote in the general election - virtually all of it from bedrock conservative Republicans - which cost Frohnmayer the election and made Democrat Barbara Roberts governor.
Now the far right is saying that if Saxton, who - gasp! - is pro-choice, wins the GOP nomination, they'll find another Mobley to run in November. It doesn't seem to matter that siphoning conservative votes from Saxton would strengthen the Democratic nominee. Conservatives are raising the warning flag now in hopes that Republicans will have second thoughts about nominating Saxton, a Portland lawyer and former Portland School Board member.
The threat was made this week when polls made it clear that the Republican race is a dead heat. Saxton led in one poll with 31 percent, and was second in another with 27 percent. Kevin Mannix was second (25 percent) or first (29 percent). Jack Roberts was a close third in both, with 23 percent and 19 percent. Given the polls' margins of error, that's a statistical tie - but the conservatives would like to push Saxton's numbers down. Thus, the threat of a third party candidate.
Unfortunately, abortion has remained a litmus test for the Republican right, when the real issues in the governor's race are such things as unemployment, school funding and economic development.
Countering the threat of another Mobley is the possibility that the Democratic nominee will also be weakened by a third party candidate. Former 4th District Rep. Jim Weaver announced last month that he was considering running under the Pacific Green Party banner. Weaver said he wouldn't run if former Multnomah County Chairwoman Bev Stein is the Democrats' nominee. If Ted Kulongoski or Jim Hill win the Democratic primary Tuesday, a Weaver candidacy would pull liberal votes from either.
In some instances, third party candidacies enliven en·liv·en
tr.v. en·liv·ened, en·liv·en·ing, en·liv·ens
To make lively or spirited; animate.
en·liven·er n. the contests and provide a choice for voters who otherwise find no appealing candidate on the ballot. But neither a far-right Republican nor Jim Weaver running outside their parties can win the governor's race. Oregon statewide elections are decided in the political center. Third-party candidates are spoilers, and they are especially self-defeating when they're put forward by a wing of the nominee's own party. In politics, winning often involves compromises - and political purity comes at too high a price.