In his first one-on-one interview since he lost the election, Chris Dudley tells Portland Tribune sports reporter Kerry Eggers that he’s not sure whether he’ll run for governor again in 2014.
“It’s too soon,” Dudley says. “For now, I’ll settle back into normal life. My wife would probably say no [to another run at governor] right now, but time will tell.”
Losing the gubernatorial election to Democrat John Kitzhaber by about 22,000 votes, the former NBA center says, “was like losing Game 7 of the NBA finals by one point. It could have gone either way. [On election] night, we thought we’d won it.”
Some observers said Dudley lost the election by spending too much time campaigning in the eastern part of the state and not enough in the Portland area, but he disputes that analysis: “We spent the majority of our time [campaigning] in Portland. I don’t think that was the reason I lost.”
He also rejects criticism that he didn’t stake out clear positions on the issues: “I felt I was very clear on the issues. We put out policy pieces. We had a 26-point plan on government reform, a 20-point plan on job creation, an 18-point plan on education.”
But he acknowledges that his lack of political and government experience was a liability. Criticizing him for that inexperience was “fair,” he says. “But I had experience outside of government I think could be just as valuable.”
Although I voted for his opponent, I’m hoping Dudley does decide to stick around in Oregon politics because I think he has a lot to offer. He’s intelligent, thoughtful, and moderate in his views – a welcome contrast to some of the far-out right-wingers Oregon Republicans have nominated in the past, like Kevin Mannix and Bill Sizemore.
So here’s some free advice, Chris: Try for the governorship again – but not in 2014. You’re still a young man at 45; you’ve got time to build your resume. Get yourself elected to the state Legislature, serve a couple of terms, establish a name and a track record, and then take another shot at the top job.
To use a basketball analogy, no matter how talented a guy is, he doesn’t just walk in off the street and win a spot in the starting lineup for an NBA team.