Sunday, April 30, 2006

Oregon: Independent gov candidate Westlund goes after centrists

Westlund walks up the middle Governor's race - The independent state senator claims moderate ground, perhaps risky but novel for Oregon
Sunday, April 30, 2006JEFF MAPES The Oregonian ....While other candidates for governor sweat out the upcoming May 16 primary, Westlund spends his time building the base for the most unusual challenge to the major political parties in modern Oregon political history.
Unlike other recent independent and third-party candidates, Westlund, a former Republican, is attempting to run right up the political center as he tries to connect with almost everyone he meets. ... "After a decade in public service, laboring in a system dominated by the two major parties," he tells the Beaverton crowd, "I'm here to tell you that extreme partisan politics all too often trumps good public policy."
Westlund is cheered by the fact that centrists who are not Republicans or Democrats have won governorships in four states since 1990. But a favorite parlor game among political insiders is figuring out which party is most endangered by Westlund's presence in the race. A March poll by Zogby International suggested most of his support came from Democrat-leaning voters -- potentially making it easier for a Republican to win.
Lisa Grove, a pollster working for Gov. Ted Kulongoski's re-election campaign, argues that Westlund attracts mostly independent men who are more inclined to vote Republican. ...
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