Election results are in. In a mostly unsurprising election, one of the most surprising results was how few people actually cared. A statewide malaise has settled like dark clouds--Washington's scandals, incompetence, and assorted nightmares may be to blame (they seem to have damped the mood around my house, anyway). But really, 32%? That's pretty amazing given some pretty big stakes.
As time wears on, we'll sift through the results and find larger themes, but there were some initial winners and losers that jumped out.
Leaving aside Diane Linn, whose ouster was a personal rebuke, incumbents did extremely well. Ted Kulongoski, supposedly gasping has last breath, steamed to an easy win. Jim Hill's campaign didn't convince the moderates to shift from Ted, and the progressives had Pete Sorenson.
In City Council races, Dan Saltzman didn't even break a sweat beating Amanda Fritz, and at this writing, Erik Sten appears to be holding off Ginny Burdick.
Unions flexed their muscles in a couple races and both fell flat. In the Governor's race, unions abandoned Ted for Jim Hill (some just abandoned him); in the House 46th District, unions lined up for one of their own in Mary Botkin, but she finished a distant third with just 12% of the vote. Unions have increasingly seen their endorsements fall on deaf ears, but these were especially anemic endorsement dividends.
Winner: State GOP
For once, Republicans can eye November knowing they've got a moderate who has a very good chance of winning--particularly with Ben Westlund in the race. Ron Saxton tacked far right in the primary, and that may come back to bite him, but it was his credibility that won the day. Republicans are clearly tired of losing Mahonia Hall, and Saxton's a better bet than Kevin Mannix, who has yet to win a statewide race.
Loser: Loren Parks
What did he spend on Kevin Mannix's 30%--$400,000? You think he awoke this morning wondering if he could have found a better way to spend the money? Like using it to light his barbeque?
Winner and Loser: Jesse Cornett
Jesse trails Rod Monroe by a measly 176 votes, and that's a crushing blow. I'm biased as hell, but Jesse was a far better candidate, a potential legislator who might have brought some bridge-building and innovation to Salem. Thanks to last minute shenanigans by his opponent, Rod Monroe, he had little time to build up support, yet he spent his days knocking on doors and trying to build a campaign the right way. He ran a great race and earned my kudos and respect. Let's hope this isn't the last time his name appears on a ballot.
Loser: Anyone I Give Money To
Hey Loren, I feel your pain (a tiny, tiny fraction of it, anyway). I have now made political donations to Dennis Kucinich, John Kerry, and Jesse Cornett. To future candidates who may be wanting to hit me up for dough: okay, but don't say I didn't warn you.
Now, on to November!