Democrats nationwide are in the doldrums today. And for good reason. The GOP increased its majority in the US House, won some big gubernatorial races, and, biggest of all, won the majority in the US Senate! Now we can all look forward to evenings with Mitch McConnell's palid, corpse-like visage on the telly, spewing forth more bile and deception.
But in Oregon, things aren't nearly so bad. Just like in 2010, the Beaver state shattered the Big Red Wave.
US Senator - Jeff Merkley
Senator Merkley won reelection handily, defeating Dr. Monica Webhy by a solid 19-point margin, 56%-37%. A look at the county-by-county returns shows that not only did the Senator get a big margin from blue-as-hydrangeas Multnomah County, but also won less blue counties like Deschutes, Jackson, and Coos. Times have changed in Oregon, that's for sure.
Dr. Webhy ran a terrible campaign: dodging the press, not showing up for interviews, and so on. It's not necessarily her fault. I'm afraid it's a reflection of the poor state of the Republican party in Oregon. I really wish they could do something to restore their credibility. Right now, they have none.
Senator Merkley has to feel pretty good about this win. He hardly had to break a sweat to win his second term. From my standpoint, he's an ideal representative: from a small lumber town in Oregon, with populist views (just like me). Here's to a long career, Senator Merkley.
Governor - John Kitzhaber
John Kitzhaber will serve a fourth term as governor of Oregon, an historic first. Despite late-breaking scandals (which, I suspect, will turn out to be insignificant), and a considerable degree of Kitz-fatigue, he managed to beat Dennis Richardson by a bigger margin (6 points) than the margin by which he defeated Chris Dudley in 2010.
To add to the good news for Kitzhaber, Democrats scored big in the state legislature, increasing their majorities in both the Senate and the House. In the Senate, Democrats hold 17 seats versus the Republican's 12. As of this writing, one Senate seat is still undecided. In the House, Democrats won 35 seats versus the Republican's 25.
Got that? Democrats control both state houses and the governor's mansion. If you're an Oregon Republican, that's got to sting. They just can't win for losing.
State Representative, 42nd District - Rob Nosse
As was generally acknowledged, the primary turned out to be Rob's biggest challenge. He won in the general by a huge margin. The Republicans didn't even bother to field a candidate to run against him.
State Measure 86: Post-secondary education fund - No
This measure was defeated. I'm disappointed but not surprised.
State Measure 87: Employ state judges by National Guard and state public universities - Yes
Passed. I never heard a good reason (in fact, I never heard any reason at all) to vote against it.
State Measure 88: Oregon resident driver card without proof of legal residence - No
This measure got clobbered. My county, Multnomah, was the only county where it carried. In my opinion, this measure's defeat is due almost entirely to stinginess and xenophobia. Undocumented immigrants are here; they're not going away. And they're going to continue to drive on our streets and highways. It only makes sense to get them into the system.
State Measure 89: Prohibits denial or abridgement of equal rights based on gender - Yes
Passed overwhelmingly. It's about time.
State Measure 90: Changes general election nomination processes; top two vote-getters in primary face-off in general election - No
This measure got crushed, which came as a complete (albeit pleasant) surprise to me. Oregonians saw through the slick ad campaign promoting this measure as voter empowerment. Take that, Koch Brothers!
State Measure 91: Allows possession, sale of marijuana to/by adults, subject to state licensing, regulation, taxation - Yes!
I never thought I'd see this day, but marijuana will soon be legal for recreational use in the state of Oregon. It's a realistic, practical solution, of course. But when have realism and practicality ever carried any weight in politics?
State Measure 92: Requires food manufacturers and retailers to label "genetically-engineered" foods -No
This measure was defeated by less than a single percentage point. Supporters can take some small amount of solace by considering that the campaign to defeat the measure spent $20 million, the most ever spent in an initiative campaign. At the very least, we bled Monsanto.
City of Portland Measure 26-159: Bonds to fix playgrounds, trails, parks - Yes
Passed overwhelmingly. Dollars for Mount Tabor!
Metro Measure 26-160: Retain prohibition on Metro-required single-family neighborhood density increases - Yes
Portland School District #1JT: Levy renewal - Yes
Try as I might, I haven't been able to find the results for this measure. But I think it passed. Which is good.
Well, there you have it. That's how it all shook out this time around. Although the national results leave a lot to be desired, I'm pretty happy with things here in Oregon. We win again, Oregon progressives!