Since then, agreements haven't come any easier for the couple, who met through a dating service. Last August, Melinda, 35, decided to run for a seat in the Oregon state senate on the Republican ticket after she became frustrated with the Portland city government, which had sued the real estate loan company she co-owns. (Her company eventually won the case.) Thomas, 40, a writer who now cares full-time for their 21-month-old son, Evan, agreed to be her campaign manager. That is, until he announced plans to run for the very same senate seat, as a Democrat.
"She went like this," recalls Thomas, who broke the news last January as the couple sat watching Sunday evening TV. " 'You're doing what?' "
Melinda heard him, all right: For the first time in Oregon, a married couple are running for the same office. Friends say the constantly bickering Wildes, who often threaten each other with divorce, are the perfect couple to be making this type of electoral history. "She's a lawyer," says Julie Keefe, a photographer at their wedding, "and he's got an ego the size of a house."
For a couple always at odds, they have oddly similar political views. They both support bigger budgets for education, preservation of Oregon's forests and mass transportation for Portland. He's pro-gun control (but owns a gun), and she backs the right to own a gun (but doesn't want one in the house).
Oregon voters will get a chance to pick the Wilde of their choice only if Thomas first wins a Democratic primary in May, in which the 22-year incumbent, Bill McCoy, 74, is likely to prevail. If Thomas does win, though, Melinda says she's ready for a fight to the finish with only one concession: no negative campaigning, no matter how close the contest. Don't all the politicians say that? "Yeah," concedes Melinda, "but they don't have to live with each other when the campaign is over."