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Ted Kulongoski

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Title: Ted Kulongoski  
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Subject: Oregon gubernatorial election, 2002, United States Senate election in Oregon, 1980, Oregon gubernatorial election, 1982, United States gubernatorial elections, 2006, Hardy Myers
Collection: 1940 Births, American People of Polish Descent, American Roman Catholics, Democratic Party State Governors of the United States, Governors of Oregon, Living People, Members of the Oregon House of Representatives, Oregon Attorneys General, Oregon Democrats, Oregon State Senators, Oregon Supreme Court Justices, People from St. Louis, Missouri, State Insurance Commissioners of the United States, United States Marines, University of Missouri Alumni
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Ted Kulongoski

Ted Kulongoski
36th Governor of Oregon
In office
January 13, 2003 – January 10, 2011
Preceded by John Kitzhaber
Succeeded by John Kitzhaber
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Oregon
In office
January 4, 1997 – June 18, 2001
Nominated by John Kitzhaber
Preceded by Richard Unis
Succeeded by Thomas Balmer
14th Attorney General of Oregon
In office
January 4, 1993 – January 4, 1997
Governor Barbara Roberts
John Kitzhaber
Preceded by Charles Crookham
Succeeded by Hardy Myers
Personal details
Born Theodore Ralph Kulongoski
(1940-11-05) November 5, 1940
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Mary Oberst
Alma mater University of Missouri
Profession Attorney
Religion Roman Catholicism
Military service
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Theodore Ralph "Ted" Kulongoski ( ; born November 5, 1940) is an American politician who served as the 36th Governor of Oregon from 2003 to 2011. A Democrat, he served in both houses of the Oregon Legislative Assembly and also served as the state Insurance Commissioner. He was the Attorney General of Oregon from 1993 to 1997 and an Associate Justice on the Oregon Supreme Court from 1997 to 2001.


  • Early life and career 1
  • Early political career 2
  • 1992 and 1996 elections 3
  • 2002 gubernatorial election 4
  • 2006 gubernatorial election 5
  • Second term 6
  • Later life 7
  • Electoral history 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early life and career

Kulongoski was born in St. Louis Missouri in 1940.[1] He was 4 years old when his father died, and spent the rest of his childhood in a Catholic boys' home. After High school, Kulongoski served in the Marines. With the help of the G.I. Bill, he obtained an undergraduate and law degree from the University of Missouri in 1970.[2] Kulongoski then moved to Eugene, Oregon and became a labor lawyer.[1]

Early political career

In 1974, Kulongoski was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives and, in 1978, to the Oregon State Senate. In Oregon's 1980 United States Senate election, he ran an unsuccessful race against Republican Bob Packwood. In 1982, he made his first bid for governor;[3] he was defeated by Republican incumbent Victor G. Atiyeh.[2]

At the 1980 Democratic National Convention then-State Senator and U.S. Senate nominee Kulongoski received 8 (0.24%) delegate votes for Vice President of the United States. Kulongoski was not a candidate and incumbent Walter Mondale was easily renominated.[4]

In 1987, Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt appointed Kulongoski to the post of state insurance commissioner. In that role, Kulongoski reformed the state's workers' compensation insurance system, a move that is widely credited for lowering costs to business.

1992 and 1996 elections

In 1992, Kulongoski was elected as Oregon Attorney General, defeating Republican Rich Rodeman.[5][6] As Attorney General, he focused on reforming the juvenile justice system.[2] In 1996, Kulongoski decided against running for re-election as Attorney General, and instead successfully ran for the Oregon Supreme Court.[7] He resigned from the court in 2001 to run for governor.

2002 gubernatorial election

After winning the Democratic party nomination in the 2002 race for governor, Kulongoski's opponent was Republican Kevin Mannix. Kulongoski ran a low-key campaign, emphasizing his reputation as a consensus-builder and problem solver. His television commercials featured such feel-good scenes as the candidate bowling. He argued for a pragmatic approach to solving the state's budget crisis and recession, a marked departure from the more confrontational style of outgoing governor (and fellow Democrat) John Kitzhaber. Mannix argued that the Democratic Party had held the governorship in Oregon too long, and pledged to reduce government spending without cutting vital services. Many of Kulongoski's supporters were disappointed with his campaign, feeling he did not adequately respond to Mannix's challenge. Kulongoski narrowly won the election, winning 618,004 votes (49%), with 581,785 votes (46%) going to Mannix, and 57,760 votes (5%) going to Libertarian candidate Tom Cox.[8]

Kulongoski took office on January 13, 2003.[9] He inherited a state facing a massive budget deficit and high unemployment. Furthermore, he faced the task of dealing with problems with the public employees' pension system without angering the labor unions that backed his campaign. As Governor, he was a member of the National Governors Association and the Democratic Governors Association.

2006 gubernatorial election

On December 1, 2005 the Eugene Register-Guard reported that former Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber was considering challenging Kulongoski in the Democratic primary.[10] But one month later, Kitzhaber announced he would not do so, as did another potential Democratic rival, State Senator Vicki Walker. This left Governor Kulongoski with two challengers: Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson, and former State treasurer Jim Hill, both of whom accused Kulongoski of betraying Democratic Party principles. Stated Hill, "From my standpoint, [the Democratic Party primary debate] is a good opportunity to show what a horrible Democrat Ted has been". The Service Employees International Union Local 503[11] endorsed Jim Hill, and the Multnomah County Democratic Central Committee[12] decided to endorse Kulongoski's rivals but not him at a February 19, 2006 meeting.

On May 16, 2006, Kulongoski won the Democratic primary with 54% of the vote. Jim Hill finished second with 25%, Pete Sorenson third with 16% of the vote.

Kulongoski faced multiple opponents in the general election: Republican Party candidate Ron Saxton, Constitution Party candidate Mary Starrett, Libertarian Party candidate Richard Morley, and Pacific Green Party candidate Joe Keating. Former Republican Ben Westlund planned on running as independent, but on August 10, 2006 withdrew from the race, stating that "I made a commitment to the people of Oregon that I was in it to win it and that I absolutely would not play a spoiler role".

On November 7, 2006, Kulongoski won a second term, 51% to 43% over Ron Saxton.[13]

Second term

Ted Kulongoski in 2009.

In February 2007, Kulongoski and State Senator

Legal offices
Preceded by
Charles Crookham
Attorney General of Oregon
Succeeded by
Hardy Myers
Preceded by
Richard Unis
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Oregon
Succeeded by
Thomas Balmer
Political offices
Preceded by
John Kitzhaber
Governor of Oregon
Succeeded by
John Kitzhaber
  • Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski official state site
    • biography
  • Ted Kulongoski in the Oregon State Voter's Guide, 2006 May primary

External links

  1. ^ a b Governor Ted Kulongoski About Governor Kulongoski
  2. ^ a b c Fogarty, Colin (May 3, 2002). "Candidate Profile: Ted Kulongoski". OPB Radio News. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  3. ^ Steves, David (June 18, 2001). "Former Oregon Gubernatorial Candidate Says He's Ready to Win This Time". The Register Guard. 
  4. ^ "Oregonians stay faithful to Kennedy".  
  5. ^
  6. ^ Oregon Blue Book: Attorneys General of Oregon
  7. ^ Official Results, Supreme Court – 5/21/96 Biennial Primary
  8. ^ 2002 Election results
  9. ^ The Kulongoski Years
  10. ^ Steves, David (December 1, 2005). "Walker puts decision on hold". The Register-Guard. 
  11. ^ SEIU 503
  12. ^ welcome | Multnomah County Democratic Party
  13. ^
  14. ^ HinesSight: Facts about George Taylor and the “state climatologist”
  15. ^ Global warming debate spurs Ore. title tiff
  16. ^ Yardley, William (May 1, 2007). "Statehouse Journal: A Governor Truly Tightens His Belt".  
  17. ^ Wong, Peter (April 25, 2007). "Governor shops on a shoestring".  
  18. ^ Governor Ted Kulongoski Press Release
  19. ^ Basic Rights Oregon » Blog Archive » Kulongoski Signs Domestic Partnerships and Anti-Discrimination
  20. ^ Weigler, Jake (June 22, 2007). Oregon: Oregon Governor's Office 
  21. ^ AP. "Ore. governor to have eye surgery." The Columbian. The Columbian, 23 June 2010. Web. 24 June 2010. .
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b Mapes, Jeff (March 28, 2012). "Former Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski takes teaching position at Portland State University". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 28, 2012. 


Oregon Gubernatorial Election 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ted Kulongoski (Incumbent) 698,562 50.8 +1.8
Republican Ron Saxton 588,155 42.7
Constitution (Oregon) Mary Starrett 50,103 3.6
Oregon Gubernatorial Election 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ted Kulongoski 601,348 49.0
Republican Kevin Mannix 567,911 46.2
Libertarian Tom Cox 56,141 5.2

Electoral history

After leaving the governor's office, he was appointed by John Kitzhaber to the Public Safety Commission as part of a review of Oregon's sentencing guidelines.[23] In 2012, Kulongoski joined the faculty at Portland State University in the school's Mark O. Hatfield School of Government.[23]

Later life

In September 2010, Kulongoski was one of seven governors to receive a grade of F in the Cato Institute's fiscal-policy report card.[22]

In May 2010, Kulongoski suffered a vitreous hemorrhage in the eye due to fragile, abnormal blood vessels that have grown in the retina of the eye. According to Kulongoski spokeswoman Anna Richter Taylor, the governor is scheduled for outpatient surgery at Oregon Health & Science University on June 30, 2010 to surgically remove the vitreous gel from the middle of the eye so full vision can be restored.[21]

On June 22, 2007, Kulongoski made a friendly political wager with North Carolina Governor Mike Easley that:

Kulongoski signed two GLBT rights bills into law: a domestic partnership bill and an anti-discrimination bill at a ceremony May 9, 2007.[19]

Kulongski announced May 8, 2007 that Oregon will join the Climate Registry to track dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.[18]

Beginning the week of April 24, 2007, Kulongoski gained national attention[16] when he joined a campaign, known as the food stamp challenge, that portrays the difficulty living on the average weekly food stamp allotment of $21.[17]

[15] Kulongoski said the state needs a consistent message on reducing greenhouse gases to combat climate change.[14]

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