John Kitzhaber is a former two-term governor of the State of Oregon, and is currently in the process of running for the same office again, in 2010.
John Kitzhaber grew up in Oregon, and later attended medical school there. He was also an emergency room physician before running for house, and then senate. He worked his way up, becoming Senate President, and in 1994 was the natural choice to run as a Democrat after Barbara Roberts announced she would not run for a second term. His first election, in 1994, was somewhat close, but his second election, in 1998, was fairly easy because the Republican Party had painted itself into a corner by nominating the unsympathetic anti-tax activist Bill Sizemore. Kitzhaber won 64% to 30% of the vote. He finished off his second term, and being barred from running again, the Democratic candidate was Ted Kulongoski, who probably has very similar policies but much less charisma.
Kitzhaber was a fairly popular governor, although he was not charismatic in the usual sense. He seemed to represent Oregon's middle well, and although he had no specific breakthrough issues, he seemed to work on many fronts, especially in regards to continuing Oregon's commitment to a sustainable future. He was somewhat of a policy wonk. He also had a low key demeanor and an attitude of calm, perhaps resulting from his years as an emergency room physician. He also was somewhat unusual in being a Democratic politician hailing outside of the party's stronghold of Portland or the Willamette Valley.
Because of his generally popular administration, and because the demographics of Oregon mean that the Democratic party now has close to a lock on the Governor's office, Kitzhaber seems to be almost assured to come back for another term, or another two terms if he wants them.