The State Houses – What’s At Stake in 2010

Thirty-nine states will be electing a governor during the 2009-2010 election cycle. Of these, eighteen races will not include an incumbent and four incumbents who will be running were not elected to their current position. The recession and huge budget deficits threaten to undercut the power of incumbency for governors running for reelection.

The Current Line-Up

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May
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OR: Independence for Sale

By · May, 30 2010

Oregon Democrats have taken the unusual step of filing a complaint against the Independent Party of Oregon, claiming a small group of insiders controls the party’s nominating process, calling into question the party’s legitimacy. Sensing an invigorated Independent Party could hurt them more than the GOP in the Beaver State, Democrats are trying to prevent the party from swinging the governor’s race to the Republicans in November.

The Dems may have their “super delegate” kingmakers, but this party allegedly went much further. A trio of insiders may have crossed the line and stand accused of basically putting their party’s endorsement up for sale.

For the first time Oregon will allow candidates to appear on multiple party lines on this November’s ballot. As a result, candidates are clamoring to get the Independents’ nod, hoping to gain an electoral boost in this anti-establishment year.

As many as 60 candidates, including Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Kitzhaber, have expressed interest in the Independent Party nomination, thinking that adding the “Independent” label to their names on the ballot would appeal to voters alienated from the major political parties. Many voters who are unaffiliated call themselves independent, but have no connection to the Independent Party.

Independent Party leaders had hoped to boost their party’s profile this year by raising money to hold an Internet-based primary open to the party’s 54,600 registered voters.

But last week, (Secretary of State Kate) Brown sent a “cease-and-desist” letter to the Independent Party warning that it was in danger of breaking the law because of the way it was soliciting donations from candidates seeking the Independent nomination. State law forbids offering such things as a party nomination in exchange for money.

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  1. Daniel Meek says:

    Democratic Party Operatives Seek to Smear IPO with False Accusations

    Today a Democratic Party operative, Michele Rossolo, executive directory of the campaign for the House Democrats in Oregon, falsely accused the Independent Party of Oregon (IPO) of selling nominations: “I think our candidates are generally turned off by the idea that to get the nomination, you had to give us money.” These operatives have also misrepresented the IPO in communications with Oregon state government officials.

    “This is a malicious falsehood,” said IPO Chair Linda Williams. “In fact, the Independent Party has been seeking funds from all lawful sources in order to conduct its own primary election by mail and internet this July. Whether or not any potential candidate contributes funds has nothing to do with whether the candidate can participate in the election. But if the Party cannot raise sufficient funds to conduct the election (which will require a mailing to all 54,500 members), then it will choose its nominees for the November 2010 general election in the same manner as other minor parties in Oregon–caucus or convention.”

    No government pays for any of the cost of a primary election conducted by a minor party, such as the IPO. The primaries of the major parties (Democrats and Republicans) are fully paid for by the taxpayers of Oregon, a subsidy amounting to millions of dollars in every election year.

    “Some Democratic Party operatives are trying to stop us from having an election involving our 54,000+ members,” said Williams, “even though we have already allowed more than 2 dozen nominees of the Democratic Party (for Governor and seats in the Oregon Legislature) the opportunity to run in our elections, when they have requested to do so.”

  2. Daniel Meek says:

    On May 28, the Democratic Party of Oregon filed a baseless election law complaint against the Independent Party of Oregon.

    After Democratic Party operatives last week complained that the Independent Party was attempting to raise funds in order to pay for its own primary election in July for all of its 54,000+ members, the complaint filed today with the Secretary of State claims that, if the Independent Party does not conduct such an election (which no minor party in Oregon has ever done), then it would be failing to allow enough participation by its members in its candidate nomination process.

    “The Independent Party has consistently cooperated with independent-minded Democratic candidates,” said chair Linda Williams, “including our nominations in 2008 of Jeff Merkley for the U.S. Senate in 2008 and Ben Westlund for State Treasurer, among others. But we also nominated independent-minded Republicans who supported campaign finance reform. But this year the Democratic Party and its paid operatives seem so afraid they will not capture our party’s nominations that they attack us for trying to conduct a primary election . . . and then attack us if we do not have a primary election. The taxpayers pay millions for the Democratic Party’s primary election, but there are no government funds available to pay for ours.”

    “We expect the Democratic Party now to issue a press release claiming that the Independent Party is under state investigation for election law violations,” said Linda Williams. “This is the typical technique of political operatives. What they won’t tell you is that the Secretary of State is required to investigate every election law complaint, no matter how baseless.”

    The Election Law complaint is baseless. It contends that, because the Independent Party’s bylaws allow nominations to be made by the IPO Caucus (a group of appointed and membership-elected delegates), if the party does not conduct a primary election at its own expense, there is not an “equal opportunity to all registered members of the party within the electoral district to participate in the process of making nominations or selecting the delegates who will make the nominations.” To the contrary, if the Independent Party does not conduct its own primary election, then the Bylaws provide that the nominations shall be decided by means of party conventions or by the delegates to the IPO Caucus. Those delegates are subject to election by the party membership. Two of the five were directly elected by the party membership, pursuant to elections conducted on the Independent Party website. The other three are members of the party’s State Council, which itself is subject to election every 5 years. “Over the past 3 years the party has conducted two elections, on its website, allowing any member of the Independent Party to nominate members to the Caucus and to vote on those nominees. I am not aware of any other minor party in Oregon that has allowed such a vote. I would also point out that the members of the Democratic Party are not allowed to vote on selecting their party leaders.”

    The Independent Party of Oregon, the state’s third largest political party, reminds potential candidates that, through 5 p.m. on June 2, 2010, any person can apply for nomination by the Independent Party of Oregon to run for any partisan office elected by Oregon voters in the November 2010 general election.

    Even persons who are not members of the IPO can apply for such nominations, including persons who have already been nominated for the same office by another Oregon political party.

    The IPO may hold a primary election in July, if it can raise sufficient funds to mail to its 54,000+ members and cover the other costs of an election. If the IPO does not conduct the primary election, its nominees will be chosen either by the 5-person IPO Caucus or by a membership convention this summer.

    The IPO nomination process is further explained at http://indparty.com/apply.

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