Quick Hits: Post-primary news

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Late last week, there were a handful of news stories about the after-effects of the primary election.

First, Duke Shepard has decided to drop out of the Metro Council race for District 1 - rather than pursue a costly and negative runoff campaign against Gresham city councilor Shirley Craddick. Craddick had 46% to Shepard's 22% in the May primary.

Past history in similar local elections suggests to me that being competitive in November would require a massive amount of money and a toxic negative campaign. Setting aside the money required (though that’s a huge challenge), I have no interest in running a desperate and personally negative campaign against a good person on issues that are not at the core of why I ran. So while there may indeed be a long-shot path to victory in theory, there isn’t one that works for me in reality. This campaign started with integrity, and that is how it will end.

Duke was a client of mine, but more importantly, he's been a friend for many years. I'm very proud of Duke for the race he ran, and his decision to get out. I don't know Shirley well, but have many friends who support her - and a nasty and expensive November race between two good Democrats isn't what we need. In addition, Duke plays a critical role as the political director for the Oregon AFL-CIO, and it's a very good thing that his full attention will be on the many other critical races this fall.

Second, the recount between Mary Stern and Mary Starrett for the Yamhill County Commission is over -- and the outcome is unchanged. The original machine count was 10892 to 10888, with a four vote margin for Starrett (with 50 write-ins.) The hand recount had a nine-vote margin for Starrett (pdf) - 10895 to 10886, also 50 write-ins. With a 49.91% vote for Starrett and 49.86% for Stern, this race is headed to a fall run-off.

Third, ballot counts are now complete in the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction - though they won't be certified until Thursday. The final-final-final unofficial count remains the same - Susan Castillo leads 50.02% to 49.66% - and is 128 votes above of 50%, thus avoiding a runoff.

On Sunday, the Oregonian editorialized that the state should conduct an automatic statewide hand recount when the margin above 50% is less than 0.2% and a runoff election is at stake. I'm inclined to agree.

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    I disagree with the Oregonian's editorial that the state should pay for a recount.

    The 50% rule is set to ensure someone has broad support, and we don't just accept the one candidate out of fourteen who ended up with more votes than others. I think it's a rule set up for other situations.

    In this case, the initial result, which is rarely overturned by recount, found Castillo passed the 50% bar by 127 votes. It's clear Castillo won at least 49.9% of the vote, and that she received more votes than Mauer. So the spirit of the law - to ensure Castillo had the most votes and has broad support - can be met without a recount.

    We can spend $113,000 on more important things (making sure we're meeting the letter of other laws, if you wish).

    And, of course, for those who insist she must earn a "majority" - there are a host of questions. Majority of eligible voters? Of registered voters? Of ballots cast in the primary? Of votes on her race? And why does she need to do this in the primary, but not in the general? And what about the 15 Presidents who didn't receive a majority of votes?

    This sort of question, of course, is the type that professors of political ethics and law love. I could argue it the other way too - we set a clear number, we should make sure we meet it. Elections are sacrosanct, and soforth.

    Right now, with cuts in social services, I think we should spend $113,000 on other things. Like providing health care and helping the poor.

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    I want to especially flag that recount number. It appears that out of over 20k ballots cast, a mere three were reversed in the recount. That's an amazing degree of accuracy.

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    And my deep respect for Duke's choice. No doubt leaving the race was a hard decision, but it seems like the right one (as Alworth's post on the Governor's race highlights).

    I hope Duke rests up for another race in the future, as he'd be a quality elected official.

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    Duke follows in the honorable footsteps of Roberta Phillip, who decided her job as Policy Advisor to Jeff Cogen was more important than pursuing political office. those like Roberta & Duke who can set aside personal ambition for a greater good are too few. they both deserve our appreciation, respect and future support.

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    Kari and company get to know Shirley Craddick. She is in the Emerge class of 2010. Shirley made several interesting decisions that local and state political consultants should pay attention to. She was advised not to go door-to-door because Metro was too big for personal canvassing to pay off. She went door-to-door and listened and learned from her encounters. She is a hard hard worker who will do Metro proud.

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      Paulie: I met Shirley this year when I presented to the Emerge 2010 class. She asked insightful questions and I was glad to make her acquaintance.

      For what it's worth, whoever advised her not to go door-to-door in a Metro Council district race is an idiot -- and she was right to ignore that advice. There were only 27,000 votes cast in that race -- and hitting several thousand doors could make the difference in a critical race (and will always help a candidate refine his or her rap, one voter at a time.)

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