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Oregon Election 2014 Bucks National Trend, Democrats Gain Seats in House and Senate

Posted Wednesday, November 5, 2014 by Jules VanSant.

alt textAn Update From Associated Oregon Industries - A PPI Association Partner

See more about what AOI does to support Oregon Industry HERE

While most of the nation was trending Republican last night, Oregon took a different path. Despite recent negative publicity surrounding his fiancé, Governor John Kitzhaber retained his seat by a slim majority - 49% to challenger Dennis Richardson’s 43%. Oregon House Democrats increased their majority by one seat, bringing them to 35 (out of 60). Senate Democrats appear to have increased their majority by one seat as well, giving them 17 members (out of 30). These gains put Democrats in both houses within one vote of the 3/5 super majority required for any tax increase.

Oregon Senate Update:

Analysis: Democrats started Election Day with a 16-14 advantage in the Senate. As of now, Democrats will pick up at least one - and perhaps two - seats in the Oregon State Senate.

Senate District 3: Alan Bates (D) vs. Dave Dotterrer (R): This seat was decided by less than 300 votes in 2010, and is a rematch with Dotterrer once again challenging Bates. Bates, a physician, has been the State Senator representing the district since 2004. Prior to that, he served the area as a State Representative. Dotterrer is a retired Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. He has served over the last couple of years as an advisor to House and Senate Republicans on budget related issues since 2011.

Results: Bates leads by 3,800 votes, 51% to 44%. Democrat hold.

Senate District 8: Betsy Close (R) vs. Sara Gelser (D): Betsy Close was appointed to replace Republican Senator Frank Morse in 2012. Prior to that, Betsy served in the House of Representatives for six years. Sara Gelser was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives where she has served since 2005. She is challenging Close for her Senate seat. This race features two incumbents from different legislative chambers. Close is better known in Linn County, and Gelser is better known in Benton County.

Results: Gelser leads by 5,800 votes, 56% to 44%. Democrat pickup.

Senate District 11: Senate President Peter Courtney (D) vs. Patti Milne (R): Peter Courtney is a fixture in Salem. He is the most veteran member of the Legislature and is now serving a record setting sixth term as the Senate President. Courtney faces his toughest challenge in a district that traditionally favors Democratic candidates. Patti Milne has been on the ballot in Marion County before. She served three terms in the Oregon House of Representatives, and has spent the last 15 years working as a Marion County Commissioner. This race features two elected officials that are well known in the district.

Results: Courtney leads by 1,600 votes, 54% to 46%. Democrat hold.

Senate District 15: Bruce Starr (R) vs. Chuck Riley (D): Bruce Starr has been representing Forest Grove and Hillsboro in the Legislature since 1999 when he was first elected as a State Representative, and later as State Senator. He faces Chuck Riley, who also served as a State Representative from 2005 to 2009. Riley left his seat in the House to challenge Starr in 2010. This is a rematch of that race where Starr handily defeated Riley.

Results: Starr leads by 123 votes. It should be noted that the Libertarian in this race has, at this time, pulled over 2,500 votes. Too close to call.

Senate District 20: Alan Olsen (R) vs. Jamie Damon (D): Alan Olsen is serving his first term in the State Senate. Since he first ran, voter registration changed with redistricting making this an even better district for Republicans based on voter registration. Jamie Damon is challenging Olsen. She was appointed to serve on the Clackamas County Commission in 2011. She served on the Commission until 2013 and is now challenging Olsen for his seat in Senate District 20.

Results: Olsen leads by 2,100 votes, 52% to 47%. Republican hold.

Senate District 26: Chuck Thomsen (R) vs. Robert Bruce (D): Chuck Thomsen is a local Hood River orchardist who first won election to the State Senate in 2010. Prior to that, Thomsen served Hood River County as a Commissioner. Robert Bruce is challenging him for his State Senate seat. Bruce is a political newcomer who hasn’t held public office. This district was targeted due to the Democratic voter registration advantage and considered by many as a potential pick-up seat.

Results: Thomsen leads by 4,700 votes, 57% to 43%. Republican hold.

Oregon House Update:

Analysis: Democrats started Election Day with a 34-26 advantage in the House. As of now, it appears that Democrats will add one seat to their majority in the Oregon House of Representatives.

House District 20: Kathy Goss (R) vs. Paul Evans (D): Democrats took a real run at picking up this traditional Republican seat in this Salem-based seat. Both Goss and Evans are fixtures in the local community, but Evans ran a much more aggressive and organized campaign and just appeared to want it more.

Results: Evans currently leads by 700 votes, 52% to 48%. Democrat pickup.

House District 22: Betty Komp (D) vs. Matt Geiger (R): Republicans thought they had an opportunity in this Woodburn-based seat with their hard-working candidate, local football coach and insurance agent Matt Geiger. But Betty Komp has proven formidable in this district time and time again. She’s moderate, very likeable, and respected in her district with a long history as a school principal.

Results: Komp is leading by 600 votes, 51% to 45%. Democrat hold.

House District 29: Susan McLain (D) vs. Mark Richman (R): This Washington County district is competitive turf for both parties with Republicans sensing an edge in an off-presidential election. Republicans won the seat in 2010. Democrats won in 2012. This was thought to be a highly competitive race, and it was. Susan McLain had a history in the district as its former representative on the Metro Regional Board. Mark Richman is an Assistant Washington County District Attorney.

Results: McLain is leading by 900 votes, 53% to 47%. Democrat hold.

House District 30: Joe Gallegos (D) vs. Dan Mason (R): Representative Joe Gallegos has proven formidable in what was once considered a swing district. Republicans had high hopes for Dan Mason, but the race for this Hillsboro-based seat wasn’t competitive. The inclusion of a Libertarian candidate which pulled almost 9% of the vote sealed the district for Representative Gallegos.

Results: Gallegos leads by 1,400 votes, 50% to 41%. Democrat hold.

House District 40: Brent Barton (D) vs. Steve Newgard (R): Republicans were eager to take a second crack at this district as Brent Barton defeated Steve Newgard in 2012 by less than 400 votes in a strong Democratic year. The rematch for this Oregon City-based seat was not nearly as close.

Results: Barton leads by 1,800 votes, 55% to 45%. Democrat hold.

House District 51: Shemia Fagan (D) vs. Jodi Bailey (R): Another district that Democrats won back from Republicans in 2012, this Clackamas-based seat was largely ignored by typical Republican supporters while Democrats went full throttle to keep the seat for Representative Fagan.

Results: Fagan leads by 650 votes, 52% to 48%. Democrat hold.

House District 52: Mark Johnson (R) vs. Stephanie Nystrom (D): After winning this seat convincingly from the Democrat incumbent in 2010, Representative Johnson won a very close race in 2012 in this Hood River-based seat. It was presumed that Johnson would win this swing seat handily in 2014 where his seat was not particularly targeted by Democrats, but the race was much closer than many expected.

Results: Johnson leads by 1,500 votes, 53% to 46%. Republican hold.

House District 54: Knute Buehler (R) vs. Craig Wilhelm (D): This was probably the brightest spot for House Republicans on election night. This Bend-based seat was vacated by outgoing Representative Jason Conger (R) and had a 7-pt Democratic registration edge. Both Buehler and Wilhelm were considered quality candidates. The district was targeted by both parties.

Results: Buehler leads by 4,400 votes, 58% to 41%. Republican hold.

Oregon Ballot Measure Update:

Measure 88: This measure would allow Oregon residents a ’driver card’ without requiring proof of a legal presence in the U.S.

Results: The opposition leads by over 400,000 votes, 67% to 33%. Measure fails.

Measure 90: This measure would establish a top-two primary system in Oregon, allowing all voters, instead of only party voters, to choose the general election candidates.

Results: The opposition leads, 68% to 32%. Measure fails.

Measure 91: This measure would allow Oregonians over 21 to manufacture, sell, and possess marijuana, and would establish a regulatory system to tax and license its use.

Results: The proponents lead by more than 120,000 votes, 55% to 45%. Measure passes.

Measure 92: This measure would require foods containing or produced with GMO’s to be labeled (though meat and dairy products would be excluded). Campaign spending for both sides made this the costliest ballot measure in Oregon’s history.

Results: With 89% of precincts reporting, the opposition is leading by 23,000 votes. However, Multnomah County, which is favoring the bill 60% to 40%, accounts for the majority of the remaining uncounted votes. Too close to call.