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Take a gander at the governors race

FACE-OFF • Kate Brown and Lars Larson size up those wacky, tax-loving, flip-flopping gubernatorial candidates of both parties for your consideration

Try as they might, Oregon voters can deny the existence of the campaign for governor for only so long. And after seeing the latest commercials from the Republican candidates Ñ not to be confused with World Wrestling Federation promos Ñ who could blame them?

For the record, I have no particular allegiance to any of the GOP candidates Ñ I may have to work with one of them.

Having served with former legislator Kevin Mannix, I think his campaign slogan should be: 'What you see is what you get.' He's smart, straightforward and fair.

I can remember when Mannix was a Democrat, but something mysteriously kept pulling him further and further to the right Ñ too far for Oregon. Example: He once attempted to outlaw artificial insemination.

As for would-be front-runner Jack Roberts, I'd suggest: 'What you see is what he wants you to see.'

Articulate and funny, Roberts has become a chameleon in his gubernatorial quest. Pro-business and pro-labor. Pro-choice (some days), pro-life (other days). He once planned to abolish his Bureau of Labor and Industries, but now says it helped create all kinds of jobs. I worry about what he would do to the office of governor.

The slogan for Ron Saxton's surprising campaign could be: 'You don't know what you'll get.'

At first a relative unknown, his stout Harry Potter looks belie his recent TV blasts at Mannix and Roberts. He'll need more than magic powers to fix PERS.

Saxton comes closest to meeting Oregon's need for a moderate, but he may not be far enough to the right for a Republican primary.

Then again, as a lawyer and former school board member, he might be a perfect fit for Portland school superintendent.

Kate Brown, a state senator from Southeast Portland, has served as the Democratic Senate leader since 1999. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..