| Winning Oregon's Governorship
Is Tall Order, But That's Dudley
By Fred Delkin
“Chris Dudley, a successful businessman and well-known philanthropist, is highly regarded in every arena where he has ever performed. From giving millions of his own earnings to charity, to impressive work in behalf of his I Have a Dream Foundation, the Yale graduate is recognized for his good-natured determination, smarts and selflessness.” ~ (Jayne Carroll, Hillsboro Argus, 10/20/09)
Republicans have been suffering from a political drought in Oregon since 1987. That losing streak can be attributed, in large part, to a failure to come up with an appealing candidate. That could be about to change with the current gubernatorial race. A pair of political retreads, John Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury, are battling for the Democratic selection in the primary. That case is also affecting Republican primary foes, with one towering exception. Voters have rejected current conservative candidates Allen Alley, Bill Sizemore and John Lim in past elections. However, there is 6-11 newcomer Chris Dudley contending for votes and boasting a sizable war chest, as any recent TV viewer can attest.
Dudley, until now known for cavorting on NBA basketball courts for 16 years, carries no past political baggage. If he wins the Republican primary, he could well be the fresh breath of air that 500,000 Oregon voters registered as independents would be inspired to inhale. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in our state by some 220,000 and that has been an insurmountable barrier for Republican candidates for more than two decades. Dudley, a happily married Yale graduate with three young children, declares that "my greatest weakness (political inexperience) is also my greatest strength."
This former Portland Trailblazer has beaten the odds before. He didn't make an Ivy League starting lineup until his senior year, but then was drafted into NBA play. He overcame the lifelong challenge of chronic diabetes to play at his sport's highest level. He's sponsored a summer camp for diabetic kids for the past 15 years. Since retiring as a player, Dudley has worked as a financial advisor and analyst based in Lake Oswego. He earned over $30 million during his NBA career and the respect that he earned while playing has encouraged substantial supporter investments in his political campaign.
A winning personality
Dudley has an appealing personality, equal parts humility and confidence. He was secretary/treasurer of the NBA players association for seven years, and as a labor activist, convinced the league's owners to alter salary cap rules to benefit their employees. Now candidate Dudley espouses his belief in creating a strong business atmosphere for Oregon..."we should get government out of the things the private sector does better and more economically."
He stresses that "economic growth is the key to everything that our government should be doing." He is opposed to the labor-backed measures 66 and 67, declaring them "anti-personal income growth measures." Dudley is no friend of public employee benefits that he says "continue to escalate." His past successful players union activity makes him a fan of "balance...."unions have a place in both public and private sectors, but when one side has too much leverage, that's not good." Dudley says "Jobs First" defines his intent as Oregon governor. He is no fan of the Oregon Lottery, which has been a focus of recent Democratic governors to support state funding efforts. He doesn't believe a governor's priorities should focus on some national issues such as abortion...personally, he says he is pro-life..
Dudley can wax eloquently on the importance of education., "that should be a governor's top priority at every educational level...it's our future!" He wants to "unshackle public universities from the Legislature and wants to place the first 3% of state tax revenues into a "rainy-day fund for education." Dudley himself studied political science as a Yale undergraduate.
Dudley, 45, grew up in Connecticut. His paternal grandfather Guilford served as ambassador to Denmark under the Nixon administration. His wife, also named Chris, is a fifth generation Oregonian and University of Oregon graduate. Their offspring are Charles, Emma and Sam.
Asking several people who are well acquainted with Dudley, the term "fiscal conservative" keeps popping up in their descriptions of the candidate. Considering the profligacy of our current federal administration, that description warms one's heart. Dudley's most formidable challenger in the Republican primary is Alley, but voters are reminded that Alley served as current Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski's administrative aid in the last gubernatorial term.
There is no question that Chris Dudley is his own man. He says his philosophy is "I listen and lead and bring people together." We see him as very able to erase the difficulties our state has seen since the days of Mark Hatfield, Tom McCall and Victor Atiyeh...all very capable, independent and unselfish in their governance...qualities that have been in very short supply on our current political landscape.
Now, from another source, a Republican blog, some criticism ...
(Wednesday, March 24, 2010)
Folks over at BlueOregon are pretty fond of calling Dudley the "favorite" even though there is zero evidence of that and in fact there is actually more evidence to the contrary (He continually polls behind Alley and lost a very lopsided vote at the largest straw poll of Oregon Republicans "Dorchester.").
Dudley has raised more money from outside of the state of Oregon and he has brought in a team of radical govern-mentalists who used to form around Sen. Gordon Smith.
Original text © 2010 Oregon Magazine