Oregon primary leaves no surprises

Oregon voters voted Tuesday, May 15, in one of the nation’s first primaries. Positions on the ballot included everything from governor, federal representatives, state representatives and senators, to county commissioners and judicial candidates. As Oregon moves on from the primaries to the general election in November, what’s next?

Historically, the turnout rate of this month’s primary was the lowest in decades. According to the Secretary of State’s official results, only 891,441 ballots had been received of the 2,665,029 eligible voters or 33.45 percent.

In the race for governor, incumbent Kate Brown easily won the Democratic primary with roughly 82 percent of the vote. On the Republican side, Rep. Knute Buehler won the nomination 46 to 29 percent against Sam Carpenter.

Confident in her nomination, Brown spent spent the days leading up to the primary tweeting about Peace Officers Memorial Day, Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation week.

On the day after he won his nomination, Buehler sent out a tweet challenging Brown “to put student safety on agenda for special session.” He also also announced that his goal as governor would be to “save Oregon from years of mismanagement.”

The state legislative elections were no surprise. Rep. Cedric Hayden (R) ran unopposed and will face Dem. Christy Inskip in November; incumbent state senator Floyd Prozanski (D) also did not face any party opposition and will run in the fall against Republican Scott Rohter.

In the only federal race on the ballot, long-time Dem. representative Peter DeFazio beat his unknown challenger by 83 percent. He will face Republican nominee Arthur Robinson for the fifth time in a row this November; after previously going up against each other in 2016, 2014, 2012 and 2010.

While he hasn’t made any public comments specifically about the primary or his opponent (what is there to say after having ran the same race four times before?), DeFazio has announced the agenda he wishes to continue as head of the Democrats on the House Infrastructure committee. In an interview with Bloomberg Government, DeFazio said that his priorities included FAA reauthorization, drone regulation and raising the federal gas tax.

Robinson, a biochemist, lists his desired goals (on his website) as passing legislation that both “protect[s] the lives of all Americans, born and unborn, through legislation that is pro-life and pro-Second Amendment.”

He said that while he believes he has momentum going into November, winning won’t be so easy.

“It would be nice to add a regular election. We’re going to try hard. We will do our best. We’ve gained on this guy, but we haven’t got him. We hope we’ll gain more,” said Robinson in an interview with The News Review.

Locally, Douglas County voted on two of the three county commissioner positions. Incumbents Tim Freeman and Chris Boice both won reelection with each getting roughly 60 percent of the vote in their respective races.

Both Freeman and Boice immediately start serving their next terms as they do not have a general election challenger. The county commissioner position is “non-partisan,” meaning that the office-holder is not directly tied to either party; they aren’t a party’s nominee. This allows them to take office instantaneously, as they do not have opposition to run against.

Expectations for November’s elections are huge. With Democrats hoping to ride a “blue wave” to take back the House and the Senate and Republicans hoping to hold onto their majorities, it will be interesting to see how much the national parties make a play for these races.

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