GOP gubernatorial candidates Allen Alley, Chris Dudley, John Lim and Bill Sizemore
made their cases today at City Club of Portland for the party's nomination in the May 18 primary.
While the candidates stuck closely to talking points, the closing section of the debate featured a classic moment. Candidates got a chance at that point to ask each other questions, which is often tricky because the question can easily backfire if it's hostile or mean-spirited. Alley, who ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 2008, is now a seasoned enough candidate to know that. And he took a deft shot at Dudley, the former Portland Trail Blazer who is making his first foray into politics.
Alley —the former CEO of Pixelworks, a Washington County flat-panel screen-maker— recalled a recent endorsement interview with the (Salem) Statesman-Journal.
Dudley said in that interview the best NBA coach he played for was the late Chuck Daly.
"Chuck Daly had 22 years of coaching experience before he became an NBA coach," Alley said. "So my question for Bill Sizemore is John Lim qualified to be the coach of the Trail Blazers?"
Sizemore, who won the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 1998 but lost to Democrat John Kitzhaber, knew exactly where Alley was pointing his barb with that question. It wasn't towards Lim, a 74-year-old Korean-American with no known hoops expertise.
"There's a plus about being an outsider," Sizemore responded. "But you have to understand some things. There are people who are running for the Legislature and even governor who don't have real answers. This is not a job for somebody to walk into with no experience."
Dudley, who is far ahead of his competitors in the fundraising sweepstakes, just smiled gamely. He can afford to: he picked up checks of $50,000 from the Oregon Health Care Association (the same group also gave Kitzhaber the same amount in the Democratic gubernatorial primary) and $40,000 from Stimson Lumber this week. For his part, Alley picked up a $100,000 pledge of in-kind support this week from Mark Stevens, an investor in Pixelworks.
For more on the GOP gubernatorial race, see next week's WW.