A full week since the May 20 party primaries capped their exercises in promotion-from-within, the four East Portland legislative races have yet to enter the realm of public discourse.
Most of the legislative incumbents coasted through the primaries without a whisper of competition.
Those days are going to come to an end, perhaps in this election cycle.
Every incumbent, no matter how secure they might be within their party framework, can be outvoted in the 2008 November general election for two basic reasons:
1. Candidates in the general election can compete for all of the voters.
2. The World Wide Web has reached the point of maturity where write-in campaigns are economically and strategically feasible, enabling candidates and voters to interact without any gatekeeper or other intermediary.
I intend to prove these points in Oregon State Senate District 23, but any incumbent is vulnerable.
There are other supporting reasons:
1. The Oregon Legislature’s approval rating is only 30%, even after the highly successful 2007 session.
2. Oregonians want to see election reform and campaign finance reform actually happen, not just get kicked to the next campaign season again.
3. Oregonians value real choices among real candidates, and I believe they are ready to step up and decide who the candidates will be on their own. This factor alone will turn the party primary process inside out.
4. Most party stalwarts (and elected officials) are still in the Stone Age in the use of technology. Younger generations of voters do not share that handicap. They have the networking and resource-accessing skills to engineer their own campaigns and their own successes.
There will be an electoral tsunami in America, and it will be led by the tech-savvy who manage to acquire competence in the office they are seeking.
Career politicians will have to adjust their skill sets, like, right now!
The primary “race” for Senate District 23 was more about insider sleight of hand than it was about issues, ideas and the district’s needs.
I’m planning a series of posts describing the behind-the-scene shenanigans that took place along the way, including the AFSCME-gate story that every voter in the district will really want to know about.
The Web will allow voters free access to all the information they need to make an informed choice in November.
There are a lot of people who aren’t going to like hearing this; fortunately, most of them live outside of my district, Senate District 23.
--Sean Cruz, May 27, 2008
The Oregonian Editorial Board on Senate District 23:
“(Sean) Cruz…knows the issues well…”
“Sean Cruz, who has served as (Senator) Gordly's legislative aide and chief of staff for the past five years…is qualified for the job. He knows the issues that are important in the district, and he certainly knows how things get done in the Legislature. Most notably, he persuaded Gordly to push legislation, called ‘Aaron's Law,’ that gives families tools to punish parents for the crime of child abduction. “