Moving to the General: Brent Barton, HD51

Jesse Cornett

Now that the Primaries are over, we’ve all begun to look ahead to the fall races. While interest in the Presidential race should remain high, we shouldn’t forget some of the important races here in Oregon. One that I’ve watched develop with particular interest is Brent Barton running in House District 51 (Portland and Happy Valley to Estacada and beyond in Clackamas County). I’ve known Brent for a long time and I can’t imagine someone better suited to represent this district in Salem. If you are looking for a race to make a difference, maybe you should join me in not only supporting Brent, but helping him win by volunteering (more below).

Have no doubts that this will be a touch race, but it’s one that Brent can win. The incumbent, Republican Linda Flores, has served since 2003 after defeating the incumbent Democrat (who had been elected just the election before as a Republican but quickly realized that wasn’t the best party registration for her values or her district). Since then, the district has become more and more Democratic.

One thing we have heard a lot about in recent months is the bulk of new registrants since Oregon had its first competitive Presidential Primary in 40 years. Do you know how that is going to make a difference? Take a look at the following chart for just this district:

Hd51voters_2Linda Flores managed to hold on to this district for two re-elections, but let’s face it, her opponent wasn’t well funded two years ago but still managed to get over 42% of the vote. With these new registrations numbers and a smart, young, enthusiastic candidate like Brent Barton, this is a district that could easily fall from Republican control in 2006. But Brent has to be able to get out the word and make sure people know to keep voting when they vote for President and check the box for him for State Representative.

Brent has already knocked on thousands of doors by himself, but he needs our help to reach more of the district. I will head out with the Oregon Bus Project for their first trip of the year on Saturday when they roll to Clackamas County to support both Brent Barton and Toby Forsberg (running in District 39). I hope you will join me. If you can’t make it, well, there are a whole lot of other weekends and evenings between now and November 4th. And you could always consider a contribution whether you can make it or not.

Comments

  • Katy (unverified)
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    I'll be on the Bus for Brent on Saturday as well. I remember walking in Clackamas County for the opponent of Flores a few years back and the thing that still haunts me to this day are her lawn signs; hot pink cursive. Horrible. Those lawn signs alone are reason enough to get on the Bus this Saturday.

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    Katy is right. Brent Barton is a fantastic candidate for this district ! Rep Flores showed her vulnerability in November 2006. Her voting record doesn't match with the issues citizens are dealing with out there. While she was chair for house committee on education, she shut down attempts to get developers to pay part of the impact on schools. Brent is smart and has a lot of other very smart people advocating for him.

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    I've known Brent for a few years and I know he'll make an effective, thoughtful and energetic legislator. Linda needs to go. We gotta do everything we can to help Brent.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    I'd be interested in charts like that for other HDs, SDs, CDs, counties.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    Excuse me for being naive, but what does NAV stand for?

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Non-aligned voter

  • Katy (unverified)
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    NAV = nonaffiliated voter

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    Natterers and Vacillators!

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    Eric -- non-affiliated voter... as opposed to "independent".

    "Independent" is an actual party in Oregon, though the term NAV predates their creation.

    Personally, I think "Independent Party" is an oxymoron - and given the number of voters who think they're registering NAV when they're actually signing up for a party with a specific policy agenda and ideological point of view, I think the word "Independent" ought to be barred in a party's name. But that's the story.

    Oh, and... Go Brent Barton, Go!

  • Marshall Collins (unverified)
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    This is going to be a great pick-up for the dems! I lived in this district the entire time I was in the PDX area and I was quite suprised that not only did I have a repub rep but it was a hard core, right wing, will vote anyway Minnis and Scott wants her to vote rep. The only thing that has kept her winning elections has been the money. She got huge contributions from Minnis, Scott and the Party in exchange for her votes and was able to buy a ton of billboards and send out a mailer every other week for 3 months. All I knew about the '06 dem cand was his name and that he won a tight primary. I didn't see or hear anything about him until I saw his pic in the voters guide and his name on the ballot. And even with such low visibility he picked up 42%?!?! A dynamic, energetic and grassroots candidate like Brent and a well funded and strong support system helping him can make this a relatively easy seat to pick up.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    In that case, I noticed in the graph that the small amount of NAV's and R's have gone down slightly (almost negliable) but the upswing in D's is almost three times the downswing of the other two combined. Is this the effect of the Independents changing to D as well as the NAV's and R's?

    I wonder what the independent registration is like...or were they counted along and included in the NAV's?

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    No, no, no... "independent" as you almost surely mean it ("not registered with any party") is NAV.

    There are some "Independent Party of Oregon" registrants - but they're not on this chart. Neither are the Pacific Greens, Libertarians, or any others.

    The IPO been around for less than two years.

  • Jules Kopel-Bailey (unverified)
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    This seat must be one of the top priorities for Democrats across Oregon. Brent is a fantastic candidate, and will make an even better legislator. I look forward to putting a lot of time, energy, and money into making sure he wins this race. I hope you all will do the same. There's too much riding on it not to.

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    Here's a question that applies to this district but presumably to many others.

    1) We know that there was a massive expansion of Democratic registration to vote in the presidential primary.

    2) We know that there was a significant down-ticket undervote in the primary, hypothesized to reflect new Ds who mainly wanted to for a presidential candidate.

    So the question is, do we have to do specific work to weave the Democratic national nominee some coattails? The undervote suggests that this is not, or not yet, a matter of actual party identification for an awful lot of new registrants.

    Would it make sense to do specific outreach to new D registrants, as a matter of strategy?

    Is this Bus Project trip doing something like that, is it a general canvass?

    Should local candidates shape their campaigns in terms of identifying themselves with the national nominee?

    Unfortunately for family reasons I am rarely free to do Bus Project or other kinds of canvassing work on weekends.

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    Bus Trip details and RSVP-ishness riiiiiight here.

    Portland meet-up to get on the Bus: 9:40 on the Esplanade just north of the Hawthorne Bridge. You can also meet up in Lane County or in Oregon City.

    Walk the talk... the weather's supposed to be swell, and the Trip team has some new tricks up its collective sleeve.

  • Matt Reed (unverified)
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    Brent is a fantastic, smart, capable guy. He's exactly the kind of person we need in the legislature and deserves all of our support and help.

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    Kari,

    You are correct when you say that the Independent Party of Oregon is less than two years old. It is also the third largest political party in the state and given its current rate of growth will have as many members as every other minor party combined by November of this year.

    Since the actual voter registration card says "Independent Party", "Democratic Party", "Republican Party", and "not a member of a party", it strains credulity to suggest that many/most of the people who register with the party do not know exactly what they are doing.

    The reason the Independent Party was created in the first place is that the 2005 legislature chose to remove the word "independent" from Oregon ballots, and passed legislation (that I believe you supported) that made it more difficult for independents to make the ballot.

    In response to these changes, citizen activists collected 30,000 signatures to form the Independent Party of Orego. A main function of the party is to provide ballot access for Independent candidates who would otherwise run afoul of the draconian new requirements passed by the legislature.

    The Party itself has no specific policy or ideological point of view, with the caveat that it supports citizen engagement in our political process, and actively promotes a handful of reforms intended to reduce special interest control over our political process.

    As to your dismissive comment about the party ... you would do well to remember that there is a better than 50-50 chance that Eugene will elect an Independent as Mayor this November.

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    I have a conflict this Saturday but I'm proud to say I've been on the Brent Barton bandwagon for a long time.

    I know he can win, and I'm looking forward to it.

  • Dennis (unverified)
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    I am new to Oregon and support gay-friendly candidates. Would anyone please let me know how Mr. Barton feels about Oregon's recently-enacted non-discrimination and Domestic Partnership laws?

    Thanks for any input.

  • Linda (unverified)
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    I look forward to working more on this campaign as well, it's my home district and Linda Flores has got to go... I just saw something she recently mailed out and it made my blood boil... I think it had to do with her (vehemently racist) immigration views... go Brent!

  • mac mccown (unverified)
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    the fact that linda florez represents any portion of multnomah and clackamas counties should be embarrasing for all of us. she is without a doubt "a wedge issue diva" who appears to enjoy turning her back on her constitutents concerns while slavishly responding to the concerns of the far right.

    more importantly, brent will be responsive to the wishes of the district while also providing some much needed new leadership in salem. this is one resident of clackamas county who will gladly knock on a few doors!

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    Linda Flores and the Republicans go in lock step and like to have their wedge issues. As for domestic partnerships, I haven’t heard Brent talk about it but I think any couples can get them if they want. The big issue affecting our lives is how the state legislature spends our taxpayer money. Brent is the type of guy who will make smart investments for clackamas and oregon.

    I heard on OPB tuesday morning that a lot of shoe leather will be needed to reach all the new Democrats. Here's hoping lots of people will get their shoe leather on and help Brent.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Am I the only one who remembers voting for Kathryn Firestone for HD51 in 2006?

    I'm canvassing for Brent with the Bus Project on Saturday. I'm excited to get a Democratic Rep! I met him a couple of times while he was canvassing; I can definitely work with him. Clackamas county will want to be onboard with the majority's agenda. Brent will be our guy.

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    I have been very, very impressed with Brent every time I've met him. He's whip-smart, engaging and as Jesse pointed out--supremely well-suited for the district this district.

    Linda Flores should be shaking in her well-coiffed heels.

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    darn, Katy was a no-show. i was looking forward to talking about all we share in common.

    but it was a great day to kick off Bus 2008, even if i did take a frisbee in the forehead from Brent hisownself (i was playing touch football, not frisbee, so i have my excuse). my best talks of the day were with 2 Republican women, one opposed to mass transit and the other concerned about the moral environment in which her 2-yr-old grandchild will grow up.

    canvassing is something i don't do easily, but i'm always happy to get on The Bus. it always ends up being a great day.

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