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Posts published in “Day: May 18, 2010”

OR: Early returns

Conventional wisdom seems pretty much to be holding in the early returns around Oregon. For governor it'll be Democrat John Kitzhaber (who won very big) against Republican Chris Dudley (who won over Allen Alley, but much more narrowly). For Senate, incumbent Democrat Ron Wyden (who had only sliver opposition in the primary) against Republican Jim Huffman (a 41% - at present - plurality win, decisive but far from overwhelming - some of his backers may be surprised the number isn't larger).

Of note: In the last results we saw, Bill Sizemore, he of the legal troubles but also a solidly conservative philosophical view, was flirting with about 10% of the vote - more than the conventional wisdom expected. There may be some significance in this; we get into that later.

A close race: Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo holds a small lead over challenger (and Republican legislator) Ron Maurer. We suggested here that this nonpartisan race was a missed opportunity for Republicans, a potential win with enough resources and visibility; the numbers seem to be bearing that out.

To the Republican chart, with numbers as they were at about 45 minutes past closing time:

District Establishment % Insurgent %
US House OR 1 Cornilles 39% Kuzmanich
Keller
28%
30%
US House OR 5 Bruun 64% Thompson 36%
US House ID 1 Ward % Labrador %
US House ID 2 Simpson % Heileman
Mathews
%
%
OR House 58 Jenson* 53% Mathisen* 47%
OR House 57 Smith* 62% MacLeod* 38%
OR House 17 Sprenger* 68% Cuff* 32%
OR Senate 19 Griffith* 49% Kremer* 51%

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Early take: The insurgency seems to be falling short.

Conservative metrics

Here's a little chart we'll be running, and gradually filling in, over the next week-plus as the Oregon and Idaho primaries unfold. It may give us some numbers to analyze with, when it comes to getting an insight into the percentages associated with the various components of Republican conservatism in the Northwest. (For that reason, Washington readers may want to pay attention too.)

District Establishment % Insurgent %
US House OR 1 Cornilles % Kuzmanich
Keller
%
%
US House OR 5 Bruun % Thompson %
US House ID 1 Ward % Labrador %
US House ID 2 Simpson % Heileman
Mathews
%
%
OR House 58 Jenson* % Mathisen* %
OR House 57 Smith* % MacLeod* %
OR Senate 19 Sprenger* % Cuff* %
OR Senate 19 Griffith* % Kremer* %

-
The point here is that, on the Republican side (and there really aren't any notable Democratic counterparts in the Northwest races) there's a discernible conflict between "establishment" conservative candidates - generally defined as those who declare themselves conservative and have strong endorsement and party organization support - as opposed to the "insurgent" candidates, who may be more reliant on grass roots and in most cases may be closer to the Tea Party and similar organizations.

This isn't a perfect chart, of course. In the Idaho 1st, Vaughn Ward has been beset with an enormous number of late-breaking campaign problems unassociated with his views on issues. In the 2nd, Mike Simpson is an incumbent (unlike the other congressional candidates here), and has two major opponents. And the Oregon legislative races (*) are an inversion of sorts. There, two Republican incumbents (Bob Jenson and Greg Smith), who are mostly conservative, have been targeted by a number of state party leaders and allied organizations for going south on recent critical tax votes. Incumbent Sherrie Sprenger is being challenged from the right, sort of, though the actual philosophical differences seem harder to parse than the challenger's proclamations that he's more conservative. Steve Griffith is a moderate attorney and the kind of Republican who might win in a Portland suburban district, and so has some support among party pragmatists; but how will he do against the conservative activist organization-backed Mary Kremer, who also has a good deal of party organization support?

These are among the top-line questions we'll be watching on this and next week's Tuesday nights. Will patterns emerge? Stay tuned.