November 2nd, 2010 5:33 pm | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics

Republicans Hoping Cinderella Slipper Fits Dudley at Rose Garden. UPDATE: Dudley Tell Backers, "There's No Doubt Which Way It's Going."

Update, 11:25 pm:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley, leading a tight race against Democrat John Kitzhaber, walked downstairs at the Rose Garden after 11 pm tonight to tell his supporters that final results would probably not be known until tomorrow. But he said those final results will show him the winner.

"Sometimes good things just have to wait," Dudley declared to a throng of about 100 people chanting his name. "We're winning now, and we're going to be winning tomorrow.... We've run the numbers every which way. There's no doubt which way it's going."

Dudley said he would remain at the Rose Garden late into the night, but didn't expect a winner to be declared until Wednesday.

"This has been a long campaign," he said. "One more day's just fine. Who knows what time they'll call it. But we're very confident in which direction they will call it. And we all know what direction this state needs to go."

Dudley operatives here are saying that confidence is based on a 20,000-vote lead statewide—and a visit from Secretary of State Kate Brown, who told Dudley officials the only votes left to tally in Kitzhaber's Multnomah County stronghold are the ballots cast at drop boxes today. Based on those projections, Dudley's advisers believe they won't see a result until sometime after noon tomorrow. But they think their lead will hold.

Here's what went on earlier in the evening:

Update, 10:37 pm:

Even though Chris Dudley has led the Oregon governor's race for most of the night—John Kitzhaber got an early Multnomah County bump, and needs a second one—the celebration at the Dudley party has been muted. Maybe it's because the only free refreshments are crackers, plain potato chips and water.

Still, signs of gloating are starting to crack through the surface. Many of these had come courtesy of Kevin Mannix, who is watching his mandatory minimum sentences ballot measure coast to a decisive win. "I'm excited about my measure," he murmured about Measure 73 to a TV reporter asking about the governor's race. "This is all personal."

Mannix later told WW: "This is my fifth citizen initiative on crime reduction that's passed. I'm an ace."

Oregon House Minority Leader Bruce Hanna is also here, and senses he may be in line to become majority leader: The Oregon state house is in play. "We put top-notch candidates in literally every race," he says. "Our first priority was [to] take away the supermajority." He refuses to speculate on the possibility of a 30-30 split in the House.

Hanna, who just walked over from the Crown Plaza Hotel, says he's on his way to Dudley's suite, where he'll tell the candidate, "Hey, hang in there—let's get it done all the way to the end."

Meanwhile, Terry Porter is signing basketball cards for children.

Initial post, 7:50 pm:

The Portland Trail Blazers have gotten used to winning at the Rose Garden. But a victory would be a very new sensation for Oregon Republicans gathered tonight in the basketball arena's concourse for what they hope is a successful upset bid by ex-Blazers center Chris Dudley in his run for governor. If Dudley wins what late polls suggest is a hairsbreadth race, the rookie candidate would become the state's first GOP governor in nearly a quarter-century.

"Dudley by three," predicts Republican state chairman Bob Tiernan. "That's my Karnak—all-seeing, all-knowing. It's not so much an endorsement of the Republican Party as it is because so many Oregonians are upset about what's going on in Washington, D.C."

Tiernan says his advisers only narrowly dissuaded him from erecting highway billboards reading, "Throw the bums out."

"It looks very close," says state Republican communications director Greg Leo, who is keeping the sports theme by wearing a University of Oregon tie. "We think we're gonna win the governor's race. I can remember Obama election night: We were just crushed by this big blue tsunami. For us to be in this position in just two years is remarkable."

Republican operatives here privately say their numbers suggest they'll not only squeak out the governor's race, but that GOP candidate Scott Bruun will unseat first-term U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) in the House by a solid margin—and that Republican Rob Cornilles could ride a similar red tide to beat U.S. Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.).

"I think he should be the first to go," Tiernan says of Wu.

Tiernan says several ex-Blazers—including Jerome Kersey and Terry Porter—are in a suite with Dudley. He says Dudley's status as a former hardwood star has given him a continued presence in Oregon life.

"He was kind of like Maurice Lucas," says Tiernan, mentioning the former Blazers star who died this week. "He did it when the cameras were on, he did it when the cameras were off."
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