Former Trail Blazer and first-time candidate Chris Dudley cruised to an easier-than-expected primary victory over former Pixelworks CEO Allen Alley tonight.
Maybe in the general election, he'll get a television feed.
In a surreal Rose Garden election-night party that couldn't get a TV signal (and aired a silent slide show of the 6-foot-11 candidate instead), Dudley debuted his strategy for the summer: Push the idea that John Kitzhaber has dithered and shrunk from the challenge of running the state.
"Make no mistake: Oregon is governable," Dudley said, getting his biggest cheer of the evening when he referred to Kitzhaber's infamous remark near the end of the Democrat's last gubernatorial term that Oregon was ungovernable
. "Eight years ago, when Oregon was in recession and desperately needed a leader, John Kitzhaber said that Oregon couldn't be led, that the state he was elected to serve was ungovernable. I disagree."
Dudley went on: "As your governor, I will never throw in the towel and I will never quit on Oregon, because I know you won't either. Together, Oregon won't be ungovernable; we'll be unstoppable."
Dudley offered few specifics (and Democrats are already gunning for him on that score
) --but he did extend an invitation for "legislative leaders--Democrats and Republican--to take a few days off the campaign trail this summer to join me for a barbecue at my house.
Instead of grilling each other, we're gonna grill a few burgers."
Dudley delivered his remarks in the Rose Garden arena's Rose Room, arriving to a Black Eyed Peas song on the executive level of the building where he played basketball. The victory came as a relief after polls showed the presumptive favorite in a virtual dead heat
with Alley going into the primary's final weekend.
Earlier in the evening, Dudley supporters--including Kevin Mannix--waited for returns over those awful blue-metal Bud Light bottles purchased at the cash bar, while Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" played softly over a photo montage of the candidate towering over comparatively short people. In one corner, a group of children played "Duck Duck Goose."
Retired Blazers broadcaster Bill Schonely gave the welcoming remarks. "You can feel what's going to happen, can't you?" he asked. "It's going to be wonderful. ...Hopefully, this'll be a Rip City night." (It wasn't a typical Rip City night: The Rose Garden provided free parking.
But at 8 pm, the TV screens still hadn't switched to live results coverage. Dudley campaign spokesman Leroy Coleman said it was a technical glitch. A quarter of the vote was tallied and Dudley off to a sizable lead by 8:15, but there were no no cheers, as everyone is the room was watching numbers on handheld devices; Coleman had to lean over an 1190 KEX reporter's laptop to view the tallies.
Dudley's old Blazers teammate Terry Porter was among the luminaries tasked with belatedly delivering numbers from the stage. Supporters assembled with signs for the cameras a little after 8:30--and stood around awkwardly for more than 30 minutes, as Dudley waited to speak until after Alley had conceded.
We'll update this in a bit with a report from Alley's event.
UPDATED with reporting and photos by Peter Griffin from Alley
As for Alley, this was his second loss in the last two years. Alley, who lost the state treasurer's race in 2008, put on a brave face tonight for about 50 supporters, including sad family members.
He said he had called Dudley to congratulate him on his victory. Alley thanked his family, and gave the traditional election loser's call to come together and support Dudley.
Alley's daughter burst into tears behind as he talked about his daughter's fiance, A.J. and the great effort he put forth to help Alley in his campaign. After repeated sobs, Alley said, "Is somebody laughing behind me?" then smiled, and turned around and hugged her.
Alley tells WW that he had wouldn't have done anything differently in this campaign.
He also said he didn't have enough money to compete with Dudley on the airwaves in Multnomah County, so the decision to go to more rural areas and campaign wasn't a bad one.