So, in the end, the polls were more or less right – take an average of where they were in the last couple of weeks, and they didn’t run far from the final results. There were no massive underground swells, in either party (though the prospect for one was mainly held out on the Republican side).
Probable public explanation on Ron Saxton: Republicans wanted a winner; Kevin Mannix was too damaged by past losses and recent controversies; Saxton moved enough to the right in image at least to pick up a heavy slice of the conservative vote. Our take: Some truth in all of that, and a bit more besides.
One interesting early indication: There was no groundswell to the right beyond what polling already is picking up. That could have implications for a string of contests to come around the region. More on that in a day or two.
Probable public explanation on Ted Kulongoski: Labor and several other interests weren’t strong enough to engineer a replacement. Our take: True, but the guv be underestimated as well.
In both cases, however: A number of factors have yet to be evaluated, including a closer look at the vote totals. We’ll be getting around to those soon.
There were political careers ended (Mannix) or seriously impaired (Hill, Sorensen). Atkinson did well enough electorally and impressed enough as a campaigner that he’s by no means done, if he wants to run again. Which, sooner or later, he likely will.
Implications for Ben Westlund’s independent campaign: Not especially good, at least at first glance. Both major party nominees won decisively, and a Mannix win on the Republican side (or a Hill upset on the Democratic) would have worked better for him. But this will take more evaluation.
Looks like a fun one come November – the early line at least is that Oregon apparently has a hotly-contested gubernatorial contest on its hands.
Partials from late Tuesday night:
Saxton got off to a substantial lead almost the moment polls closed, and never lost it. Same for Kulongoski.
There were other indications worthy of note from the Tuesday numbers: The sweeping ouster of Multnomah County Chair Diane Linn maybe most notably. More comment on these and more results will be forthcoming.
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