Writings and observations

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Oregon

National news will be locked in on whatever happens with control of the U.S. Senate, while Washington has not so much as a U.S. Senate or governor’s race to draw a lot of attention this year.

But there’s plenty to watch, and plenty of interest.
First, what about turnout? Ballot returns so far have indicated substantial turnout. But the numbers are still unclear.

Oregon has a U.S. Senate race this year, the only one in the Northwest, but probably not a lot of people are really wondering how it’s going to turn out; all that’s likely to be of interest here is the margin. (Polling has been pretty uniformly showing Democrat Jeff Merkley more than 10 points ahead of Republican Monica Wehby.)

The governor’s race is a lot more interesting, which is something of a surprise from, say, a year ago, when the Senate contest would logically have gotten more attention. Just enough baggage has piled on Governor John Kitzhaber, and enough of it just as ballots were heading out in the mail, to throw some question marks over his contest with Republican Dennis Richardson. Enough that Richardson might win? Not many analysts have gone that far, but some nerves doubtless are on edge in both parties over this one.

Odds are that both chambers of the legislature remain under narrow Democratic control, and the House doesn’t seem to be up for grabs. If it changes hands, you can call that a true upset. The Senate, with its one-vote margin allowing for Democratic control, is a closer call; only a few tight races could significantly change things there. The Corvallis-Albany seat held by Republican Betsy Close seems thinly likely to change hands, but too the Medford-area seat held by Democrat Alan Bates is being fought down to the wire. (Bates is being outspent, and he has been quoted as saying that fewer than 1,000 votes probably will decide it.)

And then the ballot issues, several of which – polling suggests – are close enough as to be up for grabs. Pot legalization seems thinly likely to pass, but if it does not by much. GMO labeling could go either way. Among the hot buttons, only the drivers license rule change seems to have a clear outcome (it appeared headed toward defeat).

Even without a hot Senate race, Oregon can take its place among the states with a lot to watch this week.

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Oregon Oregon column

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

A look ahead to what JUMP in Boise will be (Boise Statesman)
3 Idaho races to look at on Tuesday (Boise Statesman)
5 Idaho races to consider on Tuesday (IF Post Register)
Looking ahead to election this week (Lewiston Tribune)
Candidates linked to lobbyist donations (Nampa Press Tribune)
Caldwell council mulls president choice (Nampa Press Tribune)
Campaigns come to a close on Tuesday (Pocatello Journal)
Poll shows most Idaho Republicans ahead (TF Times News)

Eugene city hall project growing (Eugene Register Guard)
Pot businesses split on Measure 91 (KF Herald & News)
What’s behind a planned new tax district (KF Herald & News)
Are high schools preparing for college? (Medford Tribune)
Overview of Cylvia Hayes (Portland Oregonian)
Looking back on central races (Salem Statesman Journal)

Reviewing some local political ads (Bremerton Sun)
Ballot issues draw in heavy funding (Everett Herald)
Substantial money in Cowlitz races (Longview News)
Reviewing the Sheldon race (Seattle Times)
Clark County charter provision in review (Vancouver Columbian)
Next round for health insurance exchange (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima Co jammed with $700k in settlement (Yakima Herald Republic)

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