Independent Party goes to Bonamici

It can be noted, and will be, that not a lot of people voted in what amounted to a straw poll conducted by the Independent Party of Oregon – evidently about 100 or so, out of a universe of potential voters of well over 20,000. That’s small turnout.

Regardless, the result is in, and it may matter for the more definitive election to come.

By a margin of just under two to one, the party’s 1st district members voted for Democrat Suzanne Bonamici over Republican Rob Cornilles. The two had just appeared together at an Independent Party-backed debate in Portland, on Sunday night.

The district has a strong Democratic edge, giving Bonamici a natural advantage. A line of reasoning we’ve heard recently even in some far-flung areas of the state went like this: Bonamici didn’t need the party’s endorsement (which could, possibly, translate to a two- to three-percentage point help) to have a good shot at winning the election which ends on January 31. But Cornilles, running in difficult terrain, did need it, badly, and would have to be considered a serious underdog if he lost the bid for the Independent nomination.

Both candidates had sought the endorsement, but neither seemed to fight for it very hard. Party leaders report that no more than a direct mail flyer or two from each side was seen. A more intensive effort by either candidate might have mattered considerably, and might have been inexpensive campaigning with potentially high return.

For Cornilles, anyway. As it stands, Bonamici wound up where she doubtless wants to be, with large advantages looking toward the general election, and having just blocked her opponent from gaining a potentially strong asset.

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