She went down in flames in Sherman County (by 12 votes) and Wheeler County (by seven) in the Democratic primary, so, yes, Ellen Rosenblum must come to terms with the fact that Oregonians are not unanimous in their desire to enthrone her as attorney general.
But the Oregonian whose vote counts the most at the moment Gov. John Kitzhaber should cut to the chase and appoint Rosenblum to complete the term of John Kroger when the ex-Marine departs this summer to take command of Reed College.
Rosenblum would not be Krogers choice: He would pass the reins to deputy AG Mary Williams, who has done sterling work arguing Oregons case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
And malcontents might argue that in steamrolling Dwight Holton, Rosenblum was celebrated by only 10 percent of Oregons 2.06 million registered voters.
Whatever. The governor has three major reasons to install Rosenblum as quickly as possible:
The political: Oregon Republicans dont have a prayer of mounting a successful write-in campaign against Rosenblum in November. Nor do conservatives have reason to complain if Rosenblum is eager to get started on a job with thankless hours that pays $77,200 annually.
Dan Lavey, president of Gallatin Public Affairs, said it best: If the Republicans had an interest in the AGs race, they should have fielded a candidate in March. We have filing deadlines for a reason.
While Republicans snoozed, Rosenblum cruised, beating Holton by 91,000 votes. She carried 34 of the states 36 counties.
The psychological: Like so many Kroger voyeurs, Im intrigued by the mischievous medical condition that drives a man out of the AGs office but leaves him perfectly trimmed to take the rudder at Reed. I dont know whether Kroger is retiring from politics or retooling for a comeback at Eastmorelands temple of communism, atheism and free love.
But that melodrama has diverted us for far too long. On the very day Kroger cast his lot with Reed, a Marion County judge ruled that his Department of Justice deliberately withheld public records from Mark Long when the Energy Department employee was facing a 2010 criminal investigation.
Kroger was refreshing as a candidate and increasingly remote as AG. You always knew when Kroger was engaged because he demanded credit for it ... and I havent heard from him in months.
The practical: Theres important work to do.
We can argue about what impact Rosenblum might have on the Public Safety Commission. Clatsop County DA Josh Marquis thinks the commission has been charged to find ways to reduce the number of people in prison, either by altering the sentencing guidelines or changing Measure 11, and frets that Rosenblum will push that agenda.
Lets find out. Sooner rather than later.
Kitzhaber, fortunately, seems to be of similar mind. The governor has met with Judge Rosenblum and is impressed with her, communications director Tim Raphael said. He plans to make his decision as soon as Attorney General Kroger notifies our office of his intention to vacate the office.
June is shaping up as a beautiful month, Mr. Kroger. Why not start the honeymoon early?