The following is my latest read on this fall's Oregon elections. This update is prompted by the release of some new registration data that goes down to the state legislative district level, thus allowing me to more correctly analyze the races. This update includes all candidate races at the state legislative level and up (excluding local races) but does not include ballot measures.
For information, see my previous OR politics diaries:
Crossposted from Loaded Orygun: http://www.loadedorygun.net/...
The Statewide Layout:
Total Registered Voters: About 2 Million.
Democrats: 42% (+200k vs. Republicans)
Size of Districts:
State House: Aprox. 55k.
State Senate: Aprox. 110k.
The incumbent is always listed first, or failing that, the incumbent party.
Tossup-Margin less than 3%.
Safe-More than 20% margin.
Inc=Incumbent, Int=Interim Incumbent (Someone appointed to fill a seat until the next election due typically to resignation of the previous holder. State law allows the party which held the seat to essentially appoint the replacement. For example, when my State Senator resigned to take a job as the leader of a moderate Business Lobbying group, as a Precinct Committee Person I was entitled to vote for his replacement, which was then ratified by the County Commission).
Candidates: Sen. John McCain (R) vs. Sen. Barack Obama (D).
Summary: The fact that McCain isn't even trying to contest Oregon says a lot. It would be a reach for him at best. Obama, on the other hand, sent a bunch of the Obama fellows here a few weeks ago and is ramping up for the fall.
Rating: Leans to Likely Obama.
Candidates: Sen. Gordon Smith (R-inc) vs. Speaker of the OR House Jeff Merkley (D).
Summary: This continues to be a bit of an uphill battle for Merkley. However, Gordon's Smith strange tack to the left, which has been widely discussed here and elsewhere, makes one wonder how this race is really shaping up. Smith's biggest advantage is still his $ lead but that is diminishing.
Rating: Leans Smith.
Secretary of State
Candidates: State Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown (D) vs. Eugene TV Reporter Rick Dancer (R).
Summary: Kate Brown is going to absolutely kick the crap out of Dancer. Dancer isn't even that good of a candidate. On an early appearance on Lars Larson's talk radio program (he's a well known conservative for those who don't know), he seemed unaware of much of what the SOS actually does.
Rating: Likely to Safe Brown.
John Kroger (D) is unopposed.
Candidates: State Senator Ben Westlund (D) vs. former Kulongoski staffer Allan Alley (R).
Summary: It is always so fan to see the Republicans go after Westlund, who used to be one of them until he saw the light. Ben has the support of those on both sides of the aisle and should cruise to an easy victory here.
Rating: Likely to Safe Westlund.
Labor Commissioner (Technically a nonpartisan race, 2 year vacancy filling election)
Candidates: Former State Senator Brad Avakian (D-inc.) vs. Founder, Instructor/Provider of a physical and mental fitness program Pavel Goberman (D).
Summary: Avakian should have little trouble, given his status as a well known figure in state politics.
Rating: Safe Avakian.
District 1: Wu (D-inc) will cruise.
District 2: Walden (R-inc) will have little trouble. If the margin is under 10% that's a victory for the Ds.
District 3: Blumenauer (D-inc) is well-loved in this district and for good reason.
District 4: DeFazio (D-inc) is unopposed.
Candidates: State Senator Kurt Schrader (D) vs. Businessman and 2006 R Nominee Mike Erickson (R).
Registration Info: 161k Ds, 142k Rs, 98k NP/Others.
Summary: Time was this was considered one of the most contentious house races in the country. Then two things happened. First, the Obama registration boost changed this district from one with a very slight D edge to a somewhat substantial one. Second, Kevin Mannix, who lost the R primary to Erickson, accused Erickson, who had claimed he was pro-life, of paying for a former girlfriend's abortion. This assertion was proven to be at least somewhat true and the resulting turmoil, along with some other recent discoveries has knocked Erickson well behind the pace. Still, he can self-finance to a significant enough extent that this race is not out of reach for him.
Rating: Leans Schrader.
Current Composition: 18D, 11R, 1 I.
Projected Composition: 18D, 12R (1 I to D and one D to R).
1 (Roseburg)-Kruse (R).
2 (Central Point)-Atkinston (R).
5 (Lincoln City)-Verger (D).
18 (Tigard/SW Portland)-Burdick (D).
21 (SE Portland)-Rosenbaum (D).
22 (Portland)-Carter (D).
23 (NE Portland)-Dingfelder (D), this is technically a net pickup of 1, as Avel Gordly is an I.
25 (Gresham)-Monnes Anderson (D).
28 (Klamath Falls)-Whitsett (R).
29 (Pendleton)-Nelson (R).
30 (Ontario)-Ferriolli (R).
The following districts are competitive, or at least potentially competitive.
Candidates: Fred Girod (R-int) vs. Bob McDonald (D).
Summary: The fact that this race is even competitive ought to really scare the Rs. Girod still has the edge though.
Outlook: Leans to Likely Girod.
Candidates: Brian Boquist (R) vs. Kevin Nortness (D).
Summary: The Rs had to scramble to get Boquist to run for this fairly safe seat. This district is certainly changing but I don't know if it is changing fast enough or if Nortness is a good enough candidate to replace the well-known Boquist.
Outlook: Leans to Likely Boquist.
14 (West Slope/Beaverton-My district!)
Candidates: Mark Hass (D-int) vs. Lisa Michaels (R).
Summary: In 2000 this seat was the site of the most expensive legislative campaign in OR history to that point as Ryan Deckert (D) unseated Eileen Qutub (R). My how things change as the popular Hass looks ready to cruise here.
Outlook: Likely Hass.
Candidates: Marien Lundgren (D) vs. Chris Telfer (R).
Summary: This is Ben Westlund's seat and it would be a huge accomplishment to hold it (he won it twice running as a Republican). That being said, I think its far more possible that a hold could occur now given the blue trend of Deschutes County, the center of this district.
Outlook: Leans Telfer.
Current Composition: 31 D, 29 R.
Projected Composition: 32 D, 21 R, 7 Tossups (all Rs) and it could be a lot worse for the Rs.
The following seats are rated either safe or likely:
1 (Gold Beach)-Krieger (R).
2 (Myrtle Creek)-Freeman (R).
3 (Grants Pass)-Maurer (R).
4 (Central Point)-Richardson (R).
5 (Ashland)-Buckley (D).
8 (Eugene)-Holvey (D).
10 (Newport)-Cowan (D)-She won this seat by all of 750 votes two years ago and the Rs couldn't find an opponent for her.
11 (Eugene)-Barnhart (D).
12 (Springfield)-Beyer (D).
13 (Eugene)-Nathanson (D).
14 (Eugene)-Edwards (D).
16 (Corvallis)-Gelser (D).
21 (Salem)-Clem (D).
25 (Keizer)-Thatcher (R).
27 (West Slope, my district!)-Read (D).
28 (Beaverton)-Barker (D).
31 (Clatskanie)-Witt (D).
32 (Cannon Beach)-Boone (D).
33 (Portland)-Greenlick (D).
34 (Beaverton)-Harker (D).
36 (Portland)-Nolan (D).
40 (Oregon City)-Hunt (D).
41 (Milwaukie)-Tomei (D).
42 (Portland)-Koppel-Bailey (D).
43 (Portland)-Shields (D).
44 (Portland)-Kotek (D).
45 (Portland)-Dembrow (D).
46 (Portland)-Cannon (D).
47 (Portland)-J. Smith (D).
48 (Happy Valley)-Schaufler (D).
53 (Sunriver)-Whisnant (R).
55 (Medford)-Gilliam (R).
56 (Klamath Falls)-Garrard (R).
57 (Heppner)-G. Smith (R).
58 (Pendleton)-Jenson (R).
60 (Ontario)-Benz (R).
The following seats are competitive:
Candidates: Sal Esquivel (R-inc.) vs. Lynn Howe (D).
Summary: No one believed me two years ago when I said this seat would be competitive, and then Esquivel barely eked out a win. My guess is that he won't be caught napping this time, though.
Outlook: Leans Esquivel.
Candidates: Bruce Hanna (R-inc) vs. Donald Nordin (D).
Summary: This would be my shocker of the year if an upset happened. This district, which has been solidly red for decades, or so it seems, has seen a huge drop in the Republican registration edge. Hanna is also not the greatest politician in the world to begin with but still has an edge here.
Outlook: Leans Hanna.
9 (Coos Bay)
Candidates: Arnie Roblan (D-inc.) vs. Al Pearn (R).
Summary: This 2006 rematch should not be any different than the last one. Roblan has a good read on this district and should win his easiest battle yet.
Outlook: Leans Roblan.
Candidates: Andy Olson (R-inc.) vs. Dick Olsen (D).
Registration: D and R even
Summary: This district was not on anyone's list but mine two years ago as potentially competitive. Now with an even registration mix, a chance for an upset is there. Olson, a former State Policeman, has the edge at this point though.
Outlook: Leans Olson.
Candidates: Sherrie Sprenger (R-int.) vs. Dale Thackaberry (D).
Summary: Following a bloody and divisive R primary, Thackaberry has a real chance to pull an upset. Add to that the fact that Sprenger has never won a general election here. Still, this is definitely a district with an R tilt, so it'll be an uphill battle.
Outlook: Leans Sprenger.
Candidates: Vic Gilliam (R-int.) vs. Jim Gilbert (D).
Summary: Jim Gilbert is back for another attempt at an upset here. This is clearly his best chance yet but it won't be easy.
Outlook: Leans Gilliam.
Candidates: Kevin Cameron (R-inc.) vs. Hanten (HD) Day (D).
Summary: This is a district that should be more competitive than it has in the past. With a lack of need to defend their own seats, this may become a statewide target, which makes an upset possible.
Outlook: Leans Cameron.
Candidates: Vicki Berger (R-inc.) vs. Richard Riggs (D).
Summary: Berger is one of the last remaining liberal Republicans that Oregon used to develop like crazy. She's in for fight for her life this time due much more to both the state of the Republican party and the slight D registration edge though.
Candidates: Betty Komp (D-inc.) vs. Tom Chereck (R).
Summary: I have to put this as competitive because its Woodburn. However, Komp has really done a great job in this district and should win pretty easily. Interestingly, this district has the lowest number of registered voters in the state, likely due to the large number of undocumented workers living here.
Outlook: Leans Komp.
Candidates: Jim Thompson (R) vs. Jason Brown (D).
Summary: This open seat battle could be one for the books. That being said, I have to give the edge to Thompson for now because it is an R-leaning district.
Outlook: Leans Thompson.
Candidates: Jim Wiedner (R) vs. Bernt Hansen (D).
Registration: D and R even.
Summary: This was the seat that Kossack Sal Peralta almost won in 2006. If Hansen can run a good campaign, a win is definitely possible here. I'm moving this one to a tossup.
Candidates: Matt Wingard (R) vs. Jessica Adamson (D).
Summary: Sometimes the opportunities just fall into your lap. In this case, it turns out that Wingard has been arrested for hitting his children before. However, this is still an R district so Wingard has a slight edge.
Outlook: Leans Wingard.
Candidates: Chuck Riley (D-inc.) vs. TBD (R) and Terry Rilling (R turned I).
Summary: Rilling's decision to run as an I likely will give Riley an easy win. Not that he wouldn't have won anyways. Add to that the ruling by the SOS that former R candidate Jeff Duyck doesn't actually live in this district and is therefore ineligible to run for it and this race is close to sliding off the competitive race board.
Outlook: Leans Riley.
Candidates: David Edwards (D-inc.) vs. Andy Duyck (R).
Summary: The Republicans are all excited that Duyck is going to be their candidate here. The well-known Washington County Commissioner is a solid candidate but this is not the Hillsboro that existed ten or even five years ago. It has taken a solid blue turn and add to that the fact that Edwards is battle tested and he should win.
Outlook: Leans Edwards.
Candidates: Larry Galizio (D-inc.) vs. Tony Marino (R).
Summary: Tony Marino's story keeps getting weirder and weirder. First it was his criminal record, then it was the revelation that he was an online ordained Priest and now the information that he runs an online diploma mill. Add to that the fact that this district, which Galizio won by a scant 850 votes four years ago, is no longer really a tossup district and Larry should win easily here. This race may slide off the competitive races board by the next update.
Outlook: Leans Galizio.
37 (West Linn)
Candidates: Scott Bruun (R-inc.) vs. Michele Eberle (D).
Registration: D and R even.
Summary: Bruun is a well-known figure in this district; his family has run a construction business for over 100 years in the area. Still, this year he will have to fight hard to keep this swing district, which now has even registration.
38 (Lake Oswego)
Candidates: Chris Garrett (D) vs. Steve Griffith (R).
Summary: If Griffith were a D, which he practically is in many ways, this district would be his. However, he is not. Add to that this district's substantial D edge and the fact that Griffith will not likely get the $ he needs to be competitive and Garrett should cruise.
Outlook: Leans Garrett.
Candidates: Bill Kennemer (R) vs. Tony Forsberg (D).
Summary: Kossack Mike Caudle almost pulled off a major upset here in 2006 against the then R-leader Wayne Scott. As an open seat race, this one is too close to call.
Candidates: John Nelsen (R) vs. Nick Kahl (D).
Summary: Two years ago about the only major disappointment I had was Minnis winning this district. With her out of the picture, this should be a D pickup, especially with the substantial D edge in this district.
Outlook: Leans Kahl.
Candidates: John Lim (R-inc.) vs. Greg Matthews (D).
Summary: How Lim keeps winning here is a mystery. He should be in for the fight of his life this year with this district clearly trending blue.
Candidates: Linda Flores (R-inc.) vs. Brent Barton (D).
Summary: How I would love to get rid of the racist Flores. Barton has as good a chance as anyone, although it is definitely an uphill battle, despite the small D registration edge.
Outlook: Leans Flores.
Candidates: Matt Lindland (R) vs. Suzanne VanOrman (D).
Summary: In case you're wondering, yes Matt Lindland is indeed otherwise known as UFC fighter Matt "The Law" Lindland. This is a dead tossup district this year and should be fun to watch.
Candidates: Chuck Burley (R-inc.) vs. Judy Stiegler (D).
Summary: This district has been trending blue over the past several years. This could well be the year Stiegler, who barely lost to Burley in an open seat race here four years ago, breaks through and wins it.
59 (The Dalles)
Candidates: John Huffman (R-int.) vs. Mike Ahern (D).
Summary: This was the district that shocked everyone in 2006 as it was almost a D pickup. However, I think Huffman will not be caught unaware as a result, though an upset is possible.
Outlook: Leans Huffman.
Well that’s it, let me know what you think.