Gordon Smith's being talked up as a candidate for governor again - but the guy who's doing the talking is a Democrat.
"Now, let's be clear: If the Republicans nominate [Pixelworks exec and unsuccessful state treasurer candidate] Allen Alley or [State Sen.] Jason Atkinson, then yeah, I'm not particularly worried," blogs Kari Chisholm on Blue Oregon. "A lot of Democrats could beat either of those guys.
"But my concern is Gordon Smith. Just two months ago, all the chatter at the snooty Arlington Club was about whether he'd run. And certainly, his long-time consigliere Dan Lavey has been waving his arms around trying to convince people that Smith's 2008 loss isn't a critical condition.
"Maybe Gordon Smith will run. Maybe he won't. Right now, it doesn't matter.
"We need to be prepared for him to run - because he doesn't need to announce until filing day in mid-March 2010. Why? Because he will be able to raise more money, faster, than anybody else thinking about the race."
Smith would, indeed, be a formidable money-raiser - in fact he probably could bankroll the campaign out of his own pocket if he wanted to. And as the most moderate of the likely Republican nominees he'd also have the broadest voter appeal statewide.
The question, though, is whether he's too "far left" (i.e., moderate) for the state's Republican "base" to swallow. Hard-core righties like "Coyote" of the NW Republican blog weren't happy with the way Smith ran his last Senate campaign - trying as hard as he could to pretend he wasn't a Republican - and they don't seem any happier with the prospect of him as their gubernatorial nominee.
The Eye's bet is that if Smith chooses to run (as reported in the East Oregonian the other day he seems content to kick back at home in Pendleton and run his frozen food business) he'll lose the primary because of Republican voters like "Coyote," who would always rather be right - far, FAR right -a than win elections.