Beaver State politics over the next year just might revolve around the governor's race. (Willamette Week has a highly-recommended and fun read on its current formal and possible players.) But it could also fizzle. The battle of significance we know will be fought out is the contest for the Oregon House.
The last few elections in Oregon have been gnetly trending the way of Democrats, and as 2005 nears its end, the next cycle looks to head that way as well.
The Oregon Senate, now in 18-12 control of Democrats, has little low-hanging fruit for either party in 2006, and Republicans seeking to take back the chamber - as they must - will find the battle uphill.
The Oregon House is a different matter, what with all 60 seats up for grabs. The 2004 election left it with 33 Republicans and 27 Democrats; six seats would have to change hands for Democrats to take over in 2007. (Two changed in the Democrats' favor last time.) On its face, that seems unlikely; we're taking about a large turnover. And yet if the year trends Democratic, it could happen, especially if Democrats run a larger effort aimed at House Republican leadership, as they have started to do. The odds seem at the moment to favor ongoing Republican control. But a shift of just four seats would be involved; the odds are slim.
We'll take several bites of the Oregon House apple. Below the fold, we'll start with a look at the 10 closests Oregon House general election results of 2004, and what they suggest for targeting in 2006. (more…)