It's looking increasingly unlikely that John Kitzhaber will get a job in Barack Obama's Cabinet, but now speculation is growing that he might take another shot at the governorship.
Early in the Obama transition, the former Oregon governor was mentioned as a possible choice for either secretary of Health and Human Services or secretary of Interior. But the HHS job has been given to Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, and Kitzhaber told The Associated Press Tuesday that he now thinks it's "extremely unlikely" he'll be picked for Interior.
Kitzhaber, 61, said he hasn't been asked to fill out one of the detailed applications the Obama transition team is requiring. He also said he'd be reluctant to relocate to Washington and leave his 11-year-old son behind in Oregon.
Since finishing his stint as governor from 1995 to 2003, Kitzhaber, a former emergency room physician, has been active as an advocate for health care reform. Oregon's Constitution prohibits a governor from serving more than two consecutive terms, but apparently there's nothing to stop Kitzhaber from getting a third (and fourth?) non-consecutive term.
"The 2010 governor race is shaping up to be a crowded race on the Democratic side," writes Britten Chase on politickeror.com. "Only outgoing Secretary of State Bill Bradbury has officially said he is interested in the position. Rumors have abounded that Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) may be interested, [and] former U.S. Senate candidate Steve Novick also has not ruled out a run. State Sens. Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and Mark Haas (D-Washington County) have also been popping up as potential candidates."
For the Republicans, our own 2nd District Rep. Greg Walden frequently has been mentioned as a likely contender.