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Although many faces have changed since Kitzhaber left office in 2003, he will have some old allies in the legislature, and he is known by all the leaders. Having the governor and legislature in the same party can produce easier results, although some of the state's major legislation involved Republican Gov. Tom McCall working with Democratic legislative leaders in 1970-74.
Dudley would enter office without working relationships with Democratic leaders in either house, and without a cadre of friends in other state positions. Republicans currently have no statewide elected officers, the first time in the state's history to be shut out of all the top jobs. Dudley would need to build an administration from scratch, in a state he is only learning; previous Republican governors have drawn from their contacts as legislators or statewide officers.
Not since 1938 has Oregon elected a governor with no experience in political office. The election of Charles A. Sprague in 1938 began Republican domination of the governorship; from 1938 until 1986, Republicans controlled the office all but six years. Since 1986, Republicans have lost two close races — in 1986 and 1990 — in which the party fielded highly qualified moderates; since 1990 the party has scrambled to find a credible candidate.
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