Lake Oswego businessman Allen Alley seems to be getting closer to announcing a run for governor as a Republican. Alley, who was chair of the Oregon Republican Party for a time, previously sought public office via unsuccessful bids for state treasurer in 2008 and governor in 2010.
Alley arrived at the Capitol at noon Wednesday to meet privately with elected Republican leaders.
When asked if he will run, Alley said, "There's those rumors. I can talk with you if I announce."
He then hurried away with Republican lawmakers into a caucus room. After an hour or so, about a dozen lawmakers emerged, followed by Alley.
When asked about the reason for his visit, Alley said, "I don't have any comment." House Republican staff said caucus meetings are confidential.
Alley has been mulling a run for governor since at least October, when he told The Oregonian he would like to challenge Gov. Kate Brown, but needed to tend to his business interests before making a final decision.
If Alley enters the race, he'll join several other candidates vying for the governor's mansion. Salem oncologist Bud Pierce has been the most prominent Republican candidate since announcing his campaign in September. Incumbent governor Brown is the Democratic front runner with healthy fundraising and high-profile endorsements for the Democratic nomination from key labor groups.
Other Republican candidates include Bruce Cuff, Bob Forthan and Bob Niemeyer. Other Democratic candidates include Julian Bell, Chet Chance, Kevin Forsythe and Steve Johnson. Cliff Thomason has declared as an Independent. The candidate filing deadline is March 8.
Before entering public service, Alley's career centered on business and engineering; he eventually became CEO of semiconductor company Pixelworks. During his time as a businessman, Alley accepted appointments to councils and commissions from President George W. Bush and Gov. John Kitzhaber. After Alley resigned as Pixelworks CEO in 2007, he was hired as deputy chief of staff for Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat.
Alley left the governor's office in 2008 to run for state treasurer, and was selected as the Republican nominee. In the general election, Alley lost to Ben Westlund by nearly 100,000 votes. During the 2010 gubernatorial Republican primary race, Alley was edged out of the nomination by former NBA player Chris Dudley.
Republican front runner Pierce has said he may spend $1 million of his own money on the race. His campaign committee has about $84,000 in cash on hand, and has spent more than $270,000, mostly on advertising and campaign management.
Alley's candidate committee hasn't received a contribution in nearly two years, and lists a $610,275 balance deficit connected to Alley's 2008 treasurer campaign. Brown's candidate committee lists more than $1.1 million in cash on hand, with $123,358 spent on the race so far.
Pierce, who has donated more than $375,000 to candidates in Oregon, donated $20,000 to Alley during his 2010 run for governor.