The failure of Cover Oregon, the state's health exchange, was humiliating and costly, and Kitzhaber ultimately is responsible. If that's the only issue Oregonians care about, then perhaps Kitzhaber ought to go. Thoughtful voters, however, will consider the governor's full record. * * * John Kitzhaber is not an ideal candidate, but he's the best one Oregonians have this fall.
-- The Oregonian, October 4, 2014, endorsing John Kitzhaber for a fourth term.
The real puzzle this year is the Governor's race. John Kitzhaber, the incumbent Democrat, seeks a fourth term against Republican challenger Dennis Richardson, a six-term state representative from southern Oregon whose legislative experience has included extensive work on Oregon's budgets. Rep. Richardson started his campaign several years ago with an extensive outreach program (I landed on his mailing list for reasons I still haven't fathomed), and he's run a competent campaign since then. Where he has fallen short is on policy: when pressed in debate he retreats to platitudes instead of specifics, and he's awkwardly navigating the narrow and sometimes negative space between the social policy views of the conservatives who nominated him and the moderates whose votes he needs to win. On policy grounds I would favor Governor Kitzhaber for a fourth term, albeit with serious reservations about his expensive lapses on Cover Oregon and the Columbia River Crossing.
To quote Ian Fleming, however: "But, but, but, and again but!" The stream of revelations about the contracts of the Governor's fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, with entities that seek favors from the State of Oregon concerns me. I have the same worries that I would have about our nation's energy policy if (say) Michelle Obama accepted a seat on the board of Exxon. That tips the scale for me against voting for Dr. Kitzhaber.
-- Isaac Laquedem, October 26, 2014 , recommending a vote for the minor-party candidates instead.
No doubt, the governor does intend to do the job Oregonians gave him, which, simply put, is to pursue the interests of his constituents. That intention, however, is no match for an ugly reality of his own making, whose sordid elements keep surfacing with dispiriting regularity, most recently this week thanks to the work of Nick Budnick and Laura Gunderson of The Oregonian/OregonLive. Two people involved in Kitzhaber's 2010 campaign helped Hayes find paid work with groups interested in Oregon policy, Budnick and Gunderson reported. Both have landed in Kitzhaber's administration.
More ugliness may surface, but it should be clear by now to Kitzhaber that his credibility has evaporated to such a degree that he can no longer serve effectively as governor. If he wants to serve his constituents he should resign.
-- The Oregonian, February 4, 2015, coming around to Isaac's view.