APNewsmaker: Dudley says he skipped voting
Oregon gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley said Tuesday he failed to vote in most elections during his years as an NBA player and deeply regrets it.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the former Portland Trail Blazers center said he's embarrassed by what he called his poor voting record from 1988 through 2002.
The Republican candidate played for NBA teams in five cities during those years. He said professional basketball players are busy and on the road a lot, but that there's no excuse for someone not to exercise their right to vote.
``I take responsibility for it,'' he said. ``It's something I really regret.''
Dudley, one of four Republicans running in Oregon's 2010 governor's race, had two stints with the Portland Trail Blazers. He also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New Jersey Nets, the New York Knicks and the Phoenix Suns.
The 44-year-old Yale graduate raised the voting issue himself, saying he wanted people to know how bad he feels for skipping voting in most elections throughout his NBA career - especially as a candidate for the state's top political office.
He said that since moving back to Portland in 2002, he has voted in most general elections, though he has missed voting in state primary elections during that time.
Asked whether he thinks the lack of voting could become an issue in his gubernatorial campaign, Dudley said: ``That's up to the voters to decide. I will have to earn their trust. It's something that I wish I'd done differently.''
Dudley announced his candidacy last week but already has become the top fundraiser among the GOP contenders. His latest campaign finance report showed he's raised close to $400,000.
Dudley is competing for the Republicans nomination against businessman Allen Alley, former legislator John Lim and anti-tax activist Bill Sizemore.
State GOP Chairman Bob Tiernan said Tuesday he didn't think Dudley's disclosure would harm his campaign for governor.
``When you're on the road, when you've got a lot going on, it is extremely difficult to vote,'' Tiernan said. ``It doesn't change my opinion of him. I think Republicans are extremely fortunate to have him in the race.''
This is Dudley's first try for public office. In his announcement last week, Dudley said he considers his lack of political experience a plus.