And so it (hopefully) begins. Through a press release issued early Monday (24 Jan.) morning, filmmaker and Salem resident Jim Huggins brought to a close his campaign to be Oregon's first Republican governor this millennium. "We've got the right message and we've got the right plan, but we don't have the donor, volunteer, and organizational infrastructure we need to punch through a crowded primary candidate field and position ourselves to win a general election." Would that about three-quarters of the rest of the field awaken to that reality.
Coinciding with the release of the third Oregon Catalyst straw poll covering Republican gubernatorial candidates, his withdrawal from the race acknowledged the obvious: Having the right issue(s) does not mean you are the right candidate.
The Catalyst article highlighted the top nine of the sixteen or so candidates. Five of the candidates were making their first appearance in the poll, having declared and filed after the release of the last one in the summer of 2021. With this being the last straw poll leading into the Oregon Primary scheduled for 17 May, one thing stands out: to end up in the half that combined for a mere 3.5% — a total 242 votes out of 6,906 cast — does not bode well for mounting a breakout. The four issues at the core of Huggins's campaign — arresting crime, reducing homelessness, enforcing Measure 11, and returning education to parents — are themes common to every Republican candidate. Unable to distinguish himself from the rest in either approach or experience, he made no headway.
"There are many ways to have an impact on elections and . . . public policy apart from being elected governor that don't require millions of dollars and out-of-state consultants," Huggins observed. He went on to say that he is not going away. "I am currently investigating a variety of options and will decide what to do next in due course." Thinking locally, there are two extremely important Oregon House districts in need of a Republican candidate. He lives in one of them. There is also the open seat at the Bureau of Labor & Industries that should be filled by one with a balanced perspective on those issues addressed by the office rather than an ideologue.
"Oregon can and must be saved from bad leadership by advancing the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility in government. Such principles bring out the best in all of us." Sounds like a good opening to a new campaign.