How Blue will Oregon Be?: My Near-Final Predictions

With a week to go, it is time for me to really make some predictions about where the races will go this fall.  I will update them on November 4 but if I had to guess, what is below is what I think will happen.  The real question for Democrats, in summary, will be not will they increase their majority but by how much.

Cross-Posted from Loaded Orygun: ?diaryId=1440

The Statewide Layout:

Total Registered Voters: About 2.2 Million.
Democrats: 45%
Republicans: 32.5%.
Nonpartisan/Others: 23.5%.

Turnout Projection: 85-90%.  We are maybe just slightly behind where we were in 2004 when we finished with 86% turnout BUT the pace has picked up and I think that we'll get close to 90% by the time it's all said and done.  Typically we can take the turnout Friday before the election and roughly double it to get the projected turnout.  We're at about 28-30% right now (an inference made from looking at today's Multnomah County returns, which tend to parallel the state as a whole at ions/2008-11/turnout.shtml).

This means I think that about 900-950k votes will be required to win statewide, once you account for third party votes in many races.


Size of Districts:
State House: Aprox. 55k.
State Senate: Aprox. 110k.

The incumbent is always listed first, or failing that, the incumbent party.  All minor parties are listed after the two major parties.
Party Key:
G=Pacific Green
I=Independent Party (This IS a political party, NOT those running as independents).
P=Peace Party (Ralph Nader's party formed to get him on the ballot).
N=Not a member of a party, or what is otherwise known as independent.


Statewide Candidates:

US President
Candidates: Sen. John McCain (R) vs. Sen. Barack Obama (D), Ralph Nader (P), Cynthia McKinney (G), Bob Barr (L) and Chuck Baldwin (C).
Summary: This has always been Obama's state and it will remain that way convincingly
Projected Winner: Obama.

US Senate
Candidates: Sen. Gordon Smith (R-inc) vs. Speaker of the OR House Jeff Merkley (D) and David Brownlow (C).
Summary: Jeff Merkley appears to be on a clear both to victory.  Not that he can't lose this but he is ahead and unless something fundamental changes very soon, Merkley will be Oregon's next Senator.
Projected Winner: x-Merkley.

Secretary of State
Candidates: State Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown (D) vs. Eugene TV Reporter Rick Dancer (R) and Seth Allan Wooley (G).
Summary: Rick Dancer may make it a little closer than previously expected, having run a number of TV ads financed primarily by timber interests.  Still, Brown should have little trouble winning this race.
Projected Winner: Brown.
Note: Brown would be the first GLBT candidate ever elected to statewide office in the US, a fact which has honestly not come up at all in the campaign.

Attorney General
John Kroger (D) faces only minor party candidates and should cruise.
Projected Winner: Kroger.

State Treasurer
Candidates: State Senator Ben Westlund (D) vs. former Kulongoski staffer Allan Alley (R) and Michael Marsh (C)
Summary: Again Alley may narrow the margin a bit but I really doubt it'll end up being that close in the end.  Westlund cruises.
Projected Winner: Westlund.

Labor Commissioner (Technically a nonpartisan race, 2 year vacancy filling election)
Candidates: Former State Senator Brad Avakian (D-int.) vs. Founder, Instructor/Provider of a physical and mental fitness program Pavel Goberman (D) and Losing CD1 Candidate Mark Welzycko (D).
Summary: Avakian should have little trouble, given his status as a well known figure in state politics and the lack of funding for any of his opponents.
Projected Winner: Avakian.

Ballot Measures:

Measure Type:

Explanation of Special Case for Measures 57/61: Once it became apparent to the legislature last year that what is now known as Measure 61 would qualify and would likely pass, they referred their own alternative (Measure 57) to the ballot.  In order to deal with conflicts should both pass (as many, if not most, consider likely), the legislature put a clause in Measure 57 stating that if both pass, the one with more yes votes becomes law while the other fails.

Legislative Referrals:

Measure 54 (C):
Summary: This corrects a bizarre flaw in the state constitution that prohibits citizens under 21 from voting in school board elections (a provision which is, of course, not in effect but should be removed anyways).
Known Opposition: None.
Projection: Pass.

Measure 55 (C):
Summary: Minor fixes to the state's redistricting process.
Known Opposition: None.
Projection: Pass.

Measure 56 (S):
Summary: Partially repeals the Double Majority law requiring that 50% of registered voters cast ballots in an election for a bond measure to pass for May and November votes.
Known Opposition: Taxpayer Association of Oregon (Far Right), Bill Sizemore (Sponsor of all things extremely libertarian).
Projection: Pass, I really don't think this will be that close.

Measure 57 (S):
Summary: Proposes an alternative to Kevin Mannix's (R-Of Course) property crime sentence minimum initiative.  Focuses state policy on treatment rather than prison for low level drug and property crimes.
Known Opposition: Kevin Mannix and his crew.
Projection: Pass with more votes than Measure 61, thus becoming law.  I think that both will pass though.

Citizen Constitutional and Statutory Measures:

Measure 58 (S):
Chief Sponsor: Bill Sizemore.
Summary: This measure would require English immersion rather than ESL for children for whom English is not their primary language.
Known Opposition: I would think a lot of progressive groups will mobilize against this one.
Projection: Fail, this has really not gained any traction at all and should fail pretty convincingly.

Measure 59 (S):
Chief Sponsor: Bill Sizemore
Summary: This is at least the third time that Sizemore and his gang have proposed this measure, which makes federal income taxes fully deductible on state returns.  This measure largely benefits high wage earners and would blow a huge hole in the state's budget.
Known Opposition: A leading coalition of progressive groups will once again mobilize against this one.
Projection: Fail, the third time is NOT the charm for Sizemore.

Measure 60 (S):
Chief Sponsor: Bill Sizemore
Summary: This would require "merit-pay" for teachers in public schools.
Known Opposition: The Oregon Education Association will doubtless go all out against this measure.
Projection: Fail, as noted before, a similar measure failed in 2000 with 65% against.  Thus, in this climate its hard to imagine it doing much better.

Measure 61 (S):
Chief Sponsor: Kevin Mannix
Summary: This is Kevin Mannix's draconian sentencing measure for property and low-level drug crimes.
Known Opposition: Most of the Legislature for one (See Measure 57) as well as most of the moderate and progressive groups in the state.
Projection: Pass but with less votes than Measure 57, thus meaning it effectively fails.

Measure 62 (C):
Chief Sponsor: Kevin Mannix.
Summary: Dedicates 15% of Oregon Lottery proceeds to crime fighting/prevention efforts.
Known Opposition: The current groups that receive lottery funds, schools and parks, have opposed this.
Projection: Fail, I think the message has gotten out that this cuts money from schools and people like money for schools.  It could be close though.

Measure 63 (S):
Chief Sponsor; Bill Sizemore
Summary: This measure would allow minor building changes without a permit.
Known Opposition: A wide coalition led by building companies.
Projection: Fail, Sizemore continues his losing streak here.

Measure 64 (S):
Chief Sponsor: Bill Sizemore
Summary: Sizemore brings back an old and twice-failed idea to ban public-employee unions from using dues for political purposes.
Known Opposition: The progressive movement in this state will mobilize to kill this one.
Projection: Fail, the third time is not the charm once again.

Measure 65 (S):
Chief Sponsor: Former SOS Phil Keisling (D)
Summary: Creates a Top-Two Open Primary in which all parties run their candidates on the same ballot and the top two, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.
Known Opposition: Both the Oregon D's and R's oppose this strongly.
Projection: Fail, narrowly.  This is a gut feeling and I may well be dead wrong but I just think the major party opposition will kill this.

Congressional Races:

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) faces only minor party opposition.

District 5
Candidates: State Senator Kurt Schrader (D) vs. Businessman and 2006 R Nominee Mike Erickson (R).
Registration Info: 165k Ds, 144k Rs, 88k NP/Others.
Summary: Yes Erickson has money, yes he has been running ads but no I don't think he has much of a chance of winning this one.  Schrader wins easily.
Projected Winner: Schrader.

Oregon Legislature:

Key: *=Targeted Seat.

Oregon Senate

Current Composition: 18D, 11R, 1 I.
Projected Composition: 18D, 12R (1 I to D and one D to R).

Ratings Changes:

Safe Races:
1 (Roseburg)-Kruse (R).
2 (Central Point)-Atkinston (R).
5 (Lincoln City)-Verger (D).
14 (West Slope/Beaverton)-Hass (D).
18 (Tigard/SW Portland)-Burdick (D).
21 (SE Portland)-Rosenbaum (D).
22 (Portland)-Carter (D).
23 (NE Portland)-x-Dingfelder (D), this is technically a net pickup of 1, as Avel Gordly is an I.
25 (Gresham)-Monnes Anderson (D)-This one may be a bit closer than expected because the Rs have fielded a candidate via write-in.  I still believe it is going to be Monnes Anderson by a lot though.
28 (Klamath Falls)-Whitsett (R).
29 (Pendleton)-Nelson (R).
30 (Ontario)-Ferriolli (R).

Competitive Races:

9 (Stayton)
Candidates: Fred Girod (R-int) vs. Bob McDonald (D).
Registration: R+4k.
Summary: The fact that this race is even competitive ought to really scare the Rs.  Girod still has the edge though.
Projected Winner: Girod.

3rd-12 (McMinnville)
Candidates: Brian Boquist (R) vs. Kevin Nortness (D).
Registration: R+2.5k
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.
Projected Winner: Boquist.

*27 (Bend)
Candidates: Marien Lundgren (D) vs. Chris Telfer (R).
Registration: R+3k
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).  I dont't think it will happen but this one to watch..
Projected Winner: l-Telfer.

Oregon House:

Current Composition: 31 D, 29 R.
Projected Composition: 38 D, 22 R.

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).
7 (Roseburg)-Hanna (R).
8 (Eugene)-Holvey (D).
9 (Coos Bay)-Roblan (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).
22 (Woodburn)-Komp (D).
25 (Keizer)-Thatcher (R).
27 (West Slope, my district!)-Read (D).
28 (Beaverton)-Barker (D).
29 (Hillsboro)-Riley (D).
31 (Clatskanie)-Witt (D).
32 (Cannon Beach)-Boone (D).
33 (Portland)-Greenlick (D).
34 (Beaverton)-Harker (D).
35 (Tigard)-Galizio (D).
36 (Portland)-Nolan (D).
38 (Lake Oswego)-Garrett (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).

Projected Pickups (all D):

*26 (Wilsonville)
Candidates: Matt Wingard (R-int.) vs. Jessica Adamson (D).
Registration: R+2k
Summary: Sometimes the opportunities just fall into your lap.  In this case, it turns out that Wingard has been arrested for using a screwdriver on his son.  Wingard has run a bad campaign, Adamson a good one, I'm calling the upset.
Projected Winner: x-Adamson.

*37 (West Linn)
Candidates: Scott Bruun (R-inc.) vs. Michele Eberle (D).
Registration: D+ less than 1k.
Summary: Were this 20 years ago, or even 10, Eberle would have absolutely no chance in this district given the Bruun family's strong legacy there.  This year is not normal, however, and Eberle has been running a great campaign.  I'm calling it a pickup.
Projected Winner: x-Eberle.

*49 (Gresham)
Candidates: John Nelsen (R) vs. Nick Kahl (D).
Registration: D+4.5k
Summary: Two years ago about the only major disappointment I had was Minnis winning this district.  Republicans think Kahl is a lightweight because he's young and relatively inexperienced.  Kahl certainly would appear to face an uphill battle but this district's D tilt should be enough to put him over the top.
Projected Winner: x-Kahl.

*50 (Fairview)
Candidates: John Lim (R-inc.) vs. Greg Matthews (D).
Registration: D+3k
Summary: How Lim keeps winning here is a mystery.  Matthews finally puts Lim out of his misery with a win here.
Projected Winner: x-Matthews.

*51 (Clackamas)
Candidates: Linda Flores (R-inc.) vs. Brent Barton (D).
Registration: D+1k
Summary: How I would love to get rid of the racist Flores.  Barton has the money and he has the message.  Say goodbye to one of my least favorite people in the legislature.
Projected Winner: x-Barton.

*52 (Corbett)
Candidates: Matt Lindland (R) vs. Suzanne VanOrman (D).
Registration: D+2k
Summary: In case you're wondering, yes Matt Lindland is indeed otherwise known as UFC fighter Matt "The Law" Lindland.  He should stick with Ultimate Fighting as VanOrman should pick this one up for the Ds.
Projected Winner: x-VanOrman.

*54 (Bend)
Candidates: Chuck Burley (R-inc.) vs. Judy Stiegler (D).
Registration: D+1.5k
Summary: This district has been trending blue over the past several years thanks largely to an influx of California retirees.  Stiegler lost by less than a thousand votes when this was an open seat in 2004.  I think this is the year the Ds break through and win their first state legislative race east of the Cascades since the 1960s.
Projected Winner: x-Stiegler.

Projected Holds (D or R):

6 (Medford)
Candidates: Sal Esquivel (R-inc.) vs. Lynn Howe (D).
Registration: R+3k
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.
Projected Winner: Esquivel.

15 (Albany)
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, is popular in this district making it a likely hold.
Projected Winner: Olson.

17 (Scio)
Candidates: Sherrie Sprenger (R-int.) vs. Dale Thackaberry (D).
Registration: R+2k
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 an R district and thus more likely than not Sprenger holds.
Projected Winner: Sprenger.

18 (Silverton)
Candidates: Vic Gilliam (R-int.) vs. Jim Gilbert (D).
Registration: R+2.2k
Summary: This is one of my dark horse races this year.  Gilliam is the favorite but Gilbert may well pull the upset.
Projected Winner: Gilliam.

19 (Salem)
Candidates: Kevin Cameron (R-inc.) vs. Hanten (HD) Day (D).
Registration: R+ less than 1k
Summary: This is a district that should be more competitive than it has in the past.  Cameron is vulnerable, especially to a good candidate such as Day.  Interesting fact, Cameron runs the cafeteria that operates in the basement of the Oregon Capitol that I ate in probably three times a week during the 2005 session.  Let's just say, his food is much better than he is as a legislator but this is still a historically R-leaning district so he has the edge.  This is one of a number of seats that could go blue on election night..
Projected Winner: Cameron.

20 (Independence/Monmouth)
Candidates: Vicki Berger (R-inc.) vs. Richard Riggs (D).
Registration: D+1k
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.  I still think she pulls it out, barely.
Projected Winner: Berger.

23 (Dallas)
Candidates: Jim Thompson (R) vs. Jason Brown (D).
Registration: R+2k
Summary: Thompson likely has the edge here.  If this seat falls, it will be a very long night for the Republicans.
Projected Winner: Thompson.

24 (McMinnville)
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.  However, from all accounts Wiedner has the money and has run a very solid campaign so I think he holds this one.
Projected Winner: Wiedner.

*30 (Hillsboro)
Candidates: David Edwards (D-inc.) vs. Andy Duyck (R).
Registration: D+2k
Summary: This is the Republican's only targeted seat and Duyck might have been a good candidate ten or even four years ago.  Instead, I think that the longtime Washington County politician will fall short against Edwards, who ran a campaign fraught with problems, much of it self-inflicted, in 2006, and still won.  Edwards should win far easier this time around.
Projected Winner: Edwards.

*39 (Canby)
Candidates: Bill Kennemer (R) vs. Tony Forsberg (D).
Registration: D+1k
Summary: I'd love to be able to say that Forsberg will win this one but I think that Kennemer is well enough known he'll barely hold on for the win.
Projected Winner: Kennemer.

59 (The Dalles)
Candidates: John Huffman (R-int.) vs. Mike Ahern (D).
Registration: R+1k
Summary: This one is going to be very very close and as an open seat battle it can surely go either way.  That being said, this is a historically R district and I think Huffman will pull it out.
Projected Winner: Huffman.

Well that's it, let me know what you think.

Tags: 2008 elections, OR-5, OR-Sen, Oregon (all tags)



Comments Welcome!

Lets make it happen!

by skywaker9 2008-10-28 11:48AM | 0 recs
That's because you're all Latte Drinking Outback

Driving Vegitarian Grateful Dead Burn-out hippies!

Note: Brown would be the first GLBT candidate ever elected to statewide office in the US, a fact which has honestly not come up at all in the campaign.


Btw, can you send some of that Karama up north a bit?

I am scared to death Dino (What, me? A Republican-NO WAY!) Rossi is going to clip Christine G. at the polls here...

Sigh. Obama is going to pummel McCain here, but we might vote out Christine anyway.

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-28 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Kate Brown

Ed Flanagan was the first GLBT to win a statewide office.  He won a couple of races in Vermont for State Auditor in the 1990s before running a losing campaign against Jeffords in 2000. She would be the first lesbian to win statewide office, though.  

On another note, isn't it a sign of progress that sexual orientation isn't a major issue in a statewide race?  

by karin1492 2008-10-29 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: How Blue will Oregon Be?: My Near-Final Predic

Great rundown, Skywalker. I can't find much to argue with. I hope you're wrong in a few cases...I sure like what I've seen of Farmer Dan, for instance...but I don't have much basis for arguing.

One technicality on your technicality, though -- I think the Senate will be a net gain of one for the R's, as my senator Avel Gordly re-registered Democratic in order to vote Obama in the primary. As far as I know, she hasn't gone back to NAV or Independent Party.

by Pete F 2008-10-29 01:42PM | 0 recs


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