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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon political analysts weighed in on the only debate between the two candidates for Oregon's governor, agreeing that the two got their own points across on how to solve unemployment, tax and environmental issues.

Former Governor John Kitzhaber and Chris Dudley participated in the live broadcast debate, sponsored jointly by KGW NewsChannel 8 and The Oregonian newspaper.

It was clear the theme of the debate was Oregon's struggling economy and unemployment. Jeff Mapes of the Oregonian said there was certainly no knock out punch.

Both of them really got their points across. I think there was more attention on Chris Dudley ... because he's the newcomer to the process. He did a good job of getting back to the things he wanted to talk about, Mapes said.

I think the audience won, I'd like to have seen them in more debates than just tonight, KXL Radio host Lars Larson said.

Larson said he saw the debate as an old face with old ideas versus a new face. I think (Dudley) passed ... but he didnt excel.

Commentators agreed that talk of a possible state sales tax would continue to be a hot topic.

There is a very clear contrast - it's a new ideas versus new faces kind of a thing, analyst Len Bergstein said. Dudley, while comfortable and polished, came off OK, Bergstein said about the candidates' personal connections. He thought Kitzhaber was able to energize Democrats.

I watched Kitzhaber in (a debate) 1994 ... and I recall him almost weilding his surgeon's scalpel - and (tonight) he wasn't able to do this - that was striking to me, Mapes said.

Commentators agreed aggressively going after Dudley, who many see as a likeable person, may not have been a good strategy.

Viewer Jason Ward ended the discussion with his comment, if this thing ends in a runoff, forget about a recall. Hold an old fashioned free-throw contest.

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