Neither former Gov. Ted Kulongoski nor former University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer is on the ballot this November, but the two political heavyweights are backing different candidates in a low-profile but fascinating race for an open seat on the Oregon Supreme Court.
Both men possess strong legal credentials. Kulongoski was attorney general and an Oregon Supreme Court justice before being serving as governor for two terms from 2002 to 2010. Frohnmayer was also attorney general and dean of the University of Oregon law school before leading the university as its president from 1994 through 2009.
Although the full voters' pamphlet for the Nov. 6 general election is not yet available, the early version, printed for military and overseas voters and political junkies is now online.
The guide shows an unusual level of involvement from high profile politicos in the nominally non-partisan race.
Kulongoski, A Democrat, is backing Multnomah County Court Judge Dick Baldwin. So too, according to Baldwin's voters' pamphlet statement, are former Gov. Barbara Roberts, former Attorney General Hardy Myers, Judge Robert "Skip" Durham (who is vacating the Supreme Court spot up for grabs), and 60 sitting judges.
Frohnmayer, a Republican, supports Baldwin's opponent, Nena Cook, a Portland lawyer. Cook has also attracted an unusual level of official support, winning the backing of former Gov. Vic Atiyeh, former Secretary of State Norma Paulus, and 26 district attorneys, including those in Oregon's five largest counties.
In the money race, Baldwin has raised $176,000 and has $62,000 on hand. Cook has raised $132,000 and has $33,000 on hand.