Oregon primary results
by Crazy Vaclav, Wed May 17, 2006 at 09:13:25 AM EDT
Amidst all the Pennsylvania hoopla, I didn't see any discussion of the Oregon primary results from yesterday, so here's a quick diary. Most significantly, the governor's race will be Ted Kulongoski (the incumbent Dem) vs. Ron Saxton. Kulongoski (who may have had some progressive streaks at one time but has governed as a mushy centrist) had probably the strongest primary challenge of any incumbent Dem governor this year... two credible challengers from the left in former state treasurer Jim Hill and Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson. Kulongoski beat Hill (who had the backing of most unions) and Sorenson 54-29-16. That's probably more than was predicted for Kulongoski, but still shouldn't fill him with great confidence.
His task in November may have gotten a little harder in that the GOP bucked tradition and picked the most "moderate" candidate to go against him in Saxton (a Portland lawyer, former PDX school board chair, and general all-around power broker). Key to Saxton's win was two candidates splitting the wingnut vote, as he beat old hard-right 2002 nominee Kevin Mannix and young up-and-coming hard-right state senator Jason Atkinson, with Saxton winning 42-30-23. But Kulongoski's saving grace is likely to be that state senator Ben Westlund (a moderate former Republican who officially became an Independent) is apparently still planning to run as an Independent in November. Westlund may actually receive some union endorsements and draw some progressive support, but generally it's got to be helpful in November to have two moderate Republicans fighting over the turf, with no one on the ballot to motivate wingnut turnout. So this is a particularly weird governor's race, but probably safe to call "lean Democratic."
There's no senate race in Oregon this year, so the only federal race with any question marks was who would win the Dem nomination in the heavily Republican 2nd district to go up against the odious Greg Walden. Turns out it's colllege professor Carol Voisin. The name you heard most in the netroots, Scott Silver, finished 3rd. Perhaps also noteworthy is that incumbent Multnomah County Commission Chair Diane Linn got bounced by newcomer Ted Wheeler by a nearly 3 to 1 margin. Portland is overwhelmingly liberal, so this wasn't on ideological grounds; it had more to do with an escalating sense of Linn's incompetence and flakiness.