The life and times of outgoing Oregon Governor Ted Kulongowski
Created by ticonderoga on Jan 4, 2011
Last updated: 01/04/11 at 05:08 PM
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After seriously considering retirement following his first term, Kulongoski defeats Republican Ron Saxton 51 percent to 43 percent to win re-election.
After defeating former State Treasurer Jim Hill and former Multnomah County Chairwoman Bev Stein in the Democratic primary, Kulongoski defeats Republican Kevin Mannix 49 percent to 46 percent to become Oregon’s 36th governor. His margin of victory is smaller than the number of votes for Libertarian candidate Tom Cox.
Kulongoski wins election to the Oregon Supreme Court, defeating Rex Armstrong and Frank Yraguen.
Labor unions endorse and bankroll Jan Wyers for attorney general in Democratic primary in response to Mahonia Hall reforms. Nonetheless, Kulongoski defeats Wyers and wins general election over token opposition. As AG, he enacts major reforms of juvenile justice system.
Then-Gov. Neil Goldschmidt hires Kulongoski to be insurance commissioner at a time when high workers’ compensation rates are a major political issue. Kulongoski alienates labor supporters by implementing reforms.
After tying himself to a controversial state factory-closing notification law (that later became the federal standard), Kulongoski is painted as anti-business in the depths of a recession. He gets crushed in the gubernatorial race against Republican incumbent Gov. Vic Atiyeh, 61 percent to 36 percent. Kulongoski leaves politics, gets divorced and moves to Portland.
At 40, and one of the bright young faces of Oregon politics, Kulongoski wins the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate and runs a surprisingly strong race against Republican incumbent Bob Packwood, losing 52 percent to 44 percent.
After winning appointment to an open seat, Kulongoski is elected to the Oregon Senate.
Working as a labor lawyer, Kulongoski wins election to the Oregon House, representing Junction City and rural Lane County.
Kulongoski moves to Oregon after serving in the Marines and later graduating from the University of Missouri Law School.