SALEM — Lake Oswego businessman Allen Alley announced Monday he is again making a bid for the Republican nomination for governor after a failed attempt in 2010. Alley, 62, made the announcement on Twitter and in a message on his campaign website one day before the deadline to file for the May 17 primary.
“I’m running for governor because the political class in Salem has let us down,” Alley said in a statement. “They’ve let the lobbyist foxes in the hen house. I want to reinvent state government so it serves us — not the special interests.”
Specifically, the Legislature has increased spending without producing corresponding results, Alley said. The state yields a poor graduation rate and high reliance on food assistance, he said. Lawmakers also have wasted money on the failed health care exchange website, Cover Oregon, and the Interstate 5 bridge project, known as the Columbia River Crossing, he said.
He also criticized Gov. Kate Brown’s lack of action to stop a ballot measure to increase the state tax on corporations, calling it a “sales tax.”
Before facing Brown, who is seeking to complete the term of Gov. John Kitzhaber, Alley will contend with Salem oncologist Bud Pierce and at least three other Republicans in the May primary.
Jim Moore, political science professor at Pacific University, said Alley emerges as an immediate front runner among the Republican candidates.
“Pierce may have money, but he’s essentially been invisible to voters,” Moore said. “The others are not running serious campaigns based on the amount of money they have raised and their low public profiles.”
Alley, a technology investor and former CEO of Pixelworks, is a familiar face in Oregon politics. He served as deputy chief of staff in the administration of Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski. He sought the Republican nomination for governor in 2010 but lost to Chris Dudley.
In 2008, he launched a successful bid for the Republican nomination for state treasurer in the primary and lost to Democrat Ben Westlund in the general election. He also is a former chairman of the Oregon Republican Party.
“I would change the way we administer every single agency in the state and make transparent the entire budgeting process, post it to the world wide web and crowd source and make government more open and accountable,” Alley said. “Nobody has the experience to even remotely do that.”
In the past, Alley has largely self-funded his campaigns. This time, he said he intends to fundraise to help build an invested coalition of supporters.
Other Republicans who had filed for the primary as of Monday afternoon are Tigard engineer Bob Niemeyer, Lyons real estate broker Bruce Cuff and five-time gubernatorial candidate Bob Forthan, a state worker.
Brown, former secretary of state, succeeded Kitzhaber when the former governor resigned in February 2015 amid accusations that he and his fiancé, Cylvia Hayes, used their public positions for profit. Her office indicates she plans to file her paperwork for reelection on Tuesday’s filing deadline.
The November election will determine who will serve out the remainder of Kitzhaber’s term, which expires in 2018.