Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury is ready to move up to a bigger job - probably.
At the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week, Bradbury told The Oregonian it's a "slam dunk" that he'll run for governor in 2010 if the state keeps its current partisan primary system, and "a very strong possibility" if Oregon switches to an open-primary system.
Incumbent Ted Kulongoski is term-limited out at the end of 2010, and Bradbury has long been mentioned as a possible successor. If he runs, his health is likely to become an issue: Because of multiple sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system, he largely relies on a motorized scooter to get around.
But the 59-year-old former state legislator said he doesn't think the disease will interfere with his ability to campaign or to serve as governor if elected.
"My entire career in public life has been served with multiple sclerosis," he said. "I'm quite confident that MS won't interfere with my ability to govern. It has interfered with my ability to schmooze at cocktail parties."
The Republicans haven't held the governorship in this state since Vic Atiyeh left office in 1987, and with Oregon turning increasingly blue they'll have a tough time capturing it in 2010. One Republican who's widely believed to be considering a shot is Rep. Greg Walden from eastern Oregon's 2nd Congressional District.
The Eye has to wonder, though, whether (a) the Oregon Republican base, which in the past has picked far-right candidates like Kevin Mannix and Bill Sizemore, would nominate a relative moderate like Walden, and (b) Walden would want to give up a safe seat in the House for what would have to be a long shot at the governor's mansion.