If it's true that being tall is a major advantage in politics, former Nets, Knicks and Trailblazers center Chris Dudley, at 6'11", will be a man to watch as a contender for the GOP nomination for Governor of Oregon in 2010. The Yale-educated Dudley seems to fit the bill of novice citizen-politicians for good and for ill - he's voted only sporadically in past elections, but is off to an outstanding start raising money - and is aiming to take on the likely Democratic candidate, former Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber.
Dudley had some of his best basketball seasons with the Blazers and has recently been working in Oregon as a financial adviser. You can check out his campaign site here. A quick look suggests that at least on fiscal issues, Dudley will be running on a straightforward GOP platform of cutting taxes and spending:
At a time when the economy is waning nationwide, businesses and entrepreneurs are on the look-out for any advantage they can find. But Oregon’s reliance on high personal and corporate income and capital gains taxes makes the state a less attractive place to locate a business, or keep one going. The last thing we need to do is make Oregon less competitive, and that’s exactly what Measures 66 and 67 do—they’re a huge step in the wrong direction.
Measure 66 specifically will make Oregon an outlier with the highest personal income tax rate in the nation, tied with Hawaii. It’s naïve to think that having the highest income tax in the nation right next to the state with the lowest (Washington) will not have an impact on where people choose to live or locate their business.
Given the mobility of people and businesses in today’s economy, it’s easy to see how a small increase in tax rates might lead to a huge falling-off in collections over time as high income earners and job creators flee to other states....
In order to revive our state economy, state government spending must be rolled back so that the tax burden on Oregon businesses and families can be reduced. In the most recent legislative session, Oregon House and Senate Republicans proposed a package of reasonable cuts and savings to produce a balanced budget without raising new taxes. These proposals were ultimately rejected by the Democrat supermajorities in favor of new higher, permanent taxes on Oregon families and businesses.
(As of yet, the Issues section of the site doesn't even scratch on social issues).
Oregon's a blue state, and Dudley's a rookie candidate with other GOP opponents, so it's a long way to project whether he'll be a serious contender or not.