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One early and fair measure of political effectiveness, at the opening stages of campaign season, is this: How well do the parties fare in filling all the ballot spots in their state?

In Oregon, with candidate filing now closed, we now can evaluate the ballot spot vacancies for the parties. Overall report card: Both parties did well, installing candidates for most substantial state positions.

There is, certainly, no lack of candidates for governor: three Democrats and no fewer than eight Republicans (though just three of those can realistically be considered serious contenders). Both parties have candidates for all five U.S. House seats (though, at the moment, none of the races shows signs of being very close).

Of the 15 Senate and 60 House legislative seats up for election – 75 in all, or 150 ballot positions – the parties filled all but 13 slots – leaving fewer than 10% uncontested. (Some of those could be filled through election of write-ins at the primary election in May.)

Should be noted that those open spots are not evenly devided. Democrats account for four open spots, all House races, while Republicans account for nine (one in the Senate, the rest for the House). In the tight race for control this year, that gives Democrats a slight but instant edge.

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