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Alley's First Out of the Gate in Governor Race 

Allen Alley, the Republican who lost to Democrat Ben Westlund in the battle for the secretary of state's office last year, is taking a shot

Allen Alley, the Republican who lost to Democrat Ben Westlund in the battle for the secretary of state's office last year, is taking a shot at the governorship.

Oregonian blogger Jeff Mapes reports that Alley, 54, is the first person of either party to announce his candidacy to succeed Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who's term-limited out after 2010.

"Alley brings an unusual set of experiences to the governor's race," Mapes writes. "He is a former automotive and aerospace engineer who came to Oregon in 1992 and helped found Tualatin-based Pixelworks, which provides chips to the display industry.

"He became active in a number of civic and business groups and worked as a deputy chief of staff for Democrat Kulongoski before leaving in 2008 to run for treasurer. Although defeated by ... Westlund, Alley said he was encouraged that he came as close as he did - he lost by about six percentage points - in his maiden political race in a tough political year for Republicans in Oregon.

"'I just think this office fits my background,' said Alley, arguing that his experience in business and with the governor gives him a good perspective on how to boost the state's economy."

Alley's record at Pixelworks might not be the strongest point in his resume: The company has been struggling for several years although it finally showed a profit in 2008.

Another question is whether Alley is sufficiently far right to win a Republican primary. Mapes noted in a post he wrote early this month that "in a race for governor, voters would be delving much deeper into Alley's philosophy. For example, he essentially dodged the abortion issue in the treasurer's race, saying it didn't have anything to do with the job. If he runs for something else, he acknowledged, 'I have to have a public position on' abortion."

One thing that seems certain is that, based on how Alley ran for state treasurer, we can expect a hard-hitting and energetic gubernatorial campaign from him no matter who his opponent is.

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