BREAKING: Kitzhaber Leads OR-Gov, Will Win

Former two-term governor John Kitzhaber finally pulled into the lead in the last of the vote-counting in Multnomah County (metro Portland) so that local media can declare him the winner.

Democrat John Kitzhaber has taken the lead in the race against Republican Chris Dudley and will become Oregon’s next governor.

The latest report from Multnomah County puts Kitzhaber up, 49 percent to 48 percent, a 6,000 vote margin against Dudley.

The lead is expected to widen further as more votes are tallied later this evening.

Media are notoriously unwilling to call a race for a candidate behind in the vote count, even when the yet-to-be-counted votes are extremely likely to favor that candidate. Kitzhaber has been winning Multnomah’s late votes by a 70/30 margin, making it impossible for neophyte and former basketballer Chris Dudley to win, but it’s confusing to media consumers to see a ‘win’ posted for someone who’s not ahead in the vote count.

Now that Kitzhaber has pulled ahead in the vote count, it’s easy for the local media to award him the win he actually earned sometime late last night, when only two areas, Lane and Multnomah counties, were outstanding. Both heavily Democratic, it was unlikely Dudley could retain his shrinking lead as those votes were counted.

This win is historic; no governor has ever been elected to a third term, as Oregon law prevents second-term governors from immediately succeeding themselves.

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