Oregon House races: The good, the bad and the awesome

Carla Axtman

We're almost a week from Election Day! Soon my tee-vee will return from the station-break hostage crisis of political ads which swamp the commercial time with spooky music and grainy images. I'm almost looking forward to return of the really awful Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial (Don't give me crap about this ad. I have a dog that I rescued from a shelter. I love animals. But the ad is obnoxious).

With only a week to go--here's a rundown of Oregon House races and where I believe they stand, according to my sources and observations. There are a handful of races where an extra push could really make a big difference, so look for those. I've divided the list of seats as follows: Solid Republican (17), Lean Republican (4), Solid Democratic (31), Lean Democratic (3) and Toss-up (5).

Toss ups:

District 26: This is a tough district, both to campaign and to represent. Its an extremely large and diverse constituency. Republicans also have a registration edge here. But Republican Matt Wingard has some pretty awful stuff in his background--and his appointment process for the seat vacancy raised eyebrows. Jessica Adamson could pull this out with a sustained push through Election Day.

District 37: Faux moderate Scott Bruun is the Gordon Smith of the House Republicans. Bruun is telegenic and plays a moderate when his constituents are looking, then runs to the conservative when they aren't. Michele Eberle is running a tough race against him, and its been working. Eberle could take this thing right out from under Bruun. But Democrats are going to have to pound it out for her if its going to happen.

District 39: This is former GOP Leader Wayne Scott's old district, anchored by Canby. Its traditionally very Republican and Clackamas County Commissioner Bill Kennemer heads the ticket this time. Kennemer has good name ID, but the Wingard appointment sham isn't helping him. Not to mention Kennemer's role on Mike Erickson's steering committee. Democrat Toby Forsberg is giving Kennemer a run for his money. Forsberg has a real shot at this seat, but it will take money and some serious ground game to make it happen.

District 51: Ohhhh...Republican Rep. Linda Flores. She really should be in control of this race--but she isn't. Its been slipping from her grasp. Her votes have been awful and her financial troubles aren't helping. Democrat Brent Barton is young, energetic, smart and managed a kick-ass endorsement from the O. But Barton is climbing a very steep political slope here. This district loves to vote R. Brent needs everything we can give him in order to put this one into the D column.

District 54: Having this one in the toss-up column is extra sweet. Bend Democrat Judy Stiegler is putting incumbent Republican Chuck Burley through his paces. I don't quite understand why Burley wants the job, especially since he complains that he can't make votes because he has to work. He apparently missed 290 votes in the 2007 session, which would render him completely ineffective for the constituency. But Stiegler is running in a GOP stronghold, so this one is tough. Stiegler needs shoe-leather and cash to wrap this one up.

Leaning Democratic:

District 49: Democrat Nick Kahl is pushing the envelope in Karen Minnis' former district. With Republican John Nelsen on the ropes due campaign finance issues (not to mention problems with the Reynolds School District budget--not good), this one leans Kahl's way. But just barely. Lean it more.

District 50: Incumbent Republican John Lim has been around a very long time. Too long. Firefighter Greg Matthews (aka "Mr. Gresham") has come on extremely strong. Lim is in serious trouble. Leans to Matthews, but you could tip it further.

District 52: This one almost went into "toss-up" for me, but I think Van Orman has the edge over Matt Lindland. Her ground game has been superb and her ads seem to have traction. This has been a tough district for Democrats to crack, but I think Suzanne may have it. Let's help push it to her.

Leaning Republican:

District 1: Democrat Rick Goche is a nice fit for this district. A fisherman and tree farmer, Goche understands the needs of the locals. But this is a very tough district for the Democrats. Republican Rep. Wayne Krieger should put this one away. Leans Krieger. (Donate to Goche to give him a push up the hill.)

District 6: Republican Sal Esquivel is facing a tough battle against Democrat Lynn Howe. Howe managed to score a key newspaper endorsement, which has to give Esquivel pause. But even with that endorsement, Howe is the longest of longshots. This one leans to Esquivel. (Donate to Howe...Esquivel deserves it)

District 18: Incumbent Republican Vic Gilliam has had a recurring issue with his residency, but seems to have overcome it. Democrat Jim Gilbert would be a superb replacement, but its a serious uphill battle to overcome the traditional Republican voting base in here. Leans to Gilliam. (Please give to the superb Jim Gilbert...it could happen)

District 24: In 2006, Republican Donna Nelson eeked out a victory. Nelson's left the seat, opening it up for new blood. Democrat Al Hanson has mounted a spirited challenge against Republican Jim Weidner. If everything goes perfectly, Hanson could pull it out (donate here). But it has to be picture perfect. I think it leans to Weidner, currently.

Solid Democratic:

District 5: Incumbent Democrat Peter Buckley will defeat the Independent Party's Pete Belcastro.

District 8:Incumbent Democrat Paul Holvey is unopposed.

District 9: In this rematch of 2006, Democrat Arnie Roblan will once again defeat Republican Al Pearn.

District 10: Incumbent Democrat Jean Cowan is unopposed.

District 11: Incumbent Democrat Phil Barnhart is unopposed.

District 12: Incumbent Democrat Terry Beyer will defeat challenger Republican Sean MP VanGordon.

District 13:Dem Incumbent Nancy Nathanson is unopposed.

District 14:Incumbent Democrat Chris Edwards is unopposed.

District 16:Democratic incumbent Sara Gelser will defeat challenger GOPer Rockne Roll.

District 21:Incumbent Democrat Brian Clem is unopposed.

District 22:Democratic incumbent Betty Komp will easily survive the challenge from Repub. Tom M. Chereck, Jr.

District 27:Democratic Representative Tobias Read will defeat Republican Russell McAlmond Michael DeVietro.

District 28:Incumbent Dem Jeff Barker easily defeats GOPer Greg Steiert.

District 29:Dem incumbent Chuck Riley defeats Independent Terry Rilling.

District 30: Dem Representative David Edwards will defeat GOPer Andy Duyck.

District 31:Dem Representative Brad Witt is running unopposed.

District 32:Incumbent Democrat Deborah Boone defeats GOP challenger Tim Bero.

District 33:Democratic Rep. Mitch Greenlick defeats Republican James Ellison.

District 34:Democrat Rep. Chris Harker easily defeats Republican Piotr Kulklinski.

District 35:Democrat Rep. Larry Galizio easily defeats Tony Marino.

District 36: State Rep. Democrat Mary Nolan easily holds off the two prong challenge of Republican Steve Oppenheim and Libertarian Jay A Ellefson.

District 38:Republican Steve Griffith cannot overcome the blue tide that will sweep in Democrat Chris Garrett.

District 40: Democratic Leader Dave Hunt is running unopposed.

District 41:Democrat Rep. Carolyn Tomei defeats challenger GOP Randy Uchytil.

District 42: Democrat Jules Kopel-Bailey defeats Green Party challenger Chris Extine.

District 43:Democratic Rep. Chip Shields is running unopposed.

District 44: Incumbent Democrat Tina Kotek is running unopposed.

District 45:Democrat Michael Dembrow easily holds off Libertarian Jim Karlock.

District 46:Hot stuff Democrat Rep. Ben Cannon is running unopposed.

District 47:Democrat Jefferson Smith is unopposed.

District 48:Democrat Rep. Mike Schauffler is running unopposed.

Solid Republican:

District 2: Republican Tim Freeman should defeat Democrat Harry McDermott in this traditional GOP stronghold.

District 3: Incumbent Republican Ron Maurer should defeat Democrat Julie Rubenstein.

District 4: Republican incumbent Dennis Richardson is unopposed challenged in this race by Independent Party Candidate Keith Wangle (thanks to Sal Peralta for the correction).

District 7: GOP House Leader Bruce Hanna should be quite safe against Dem challenger Donald Nordin.

District 15:Republican incumbent Andy Olson should easily survive the challenge from Democrat Dick Olsen.

District 17:GOP incumbent Sherrie Sprenger should defeat Dan Thackaberry.

District 19:Incumbent GOPer Kevin Cameron should survive the challenge from Hanten Day.

District 20: Democrat Richard Riggs (who has a great website), just can't get enough steam to overcome Republican incumbent Vicki Berger.

District 23: Republican Jim Thompson should defeat Democrat Jason Brown (who has beautiful photos on his website).

District 25: Republican Kim Thatcher is unopposed.

District 53: Democrat Conrad Ruel is unlikely to gain traction against GOP incumbent Gene Whisnant.

District 55: Republican George Gilman is unopposed.

District 56:Republican Bill Garrard is unopposed.

District 57: Democrat Jerry Sebestyen is a longshot against incumbent GOPer Greg Smith.

District 58: Republican incumbent Bob Jensen should defeat Democrat Ben Talley.

District 59: Incumbent GOPer John Huffman should defeat Democrat Mike Ahern.

District 60: Incumbent Republican Cliff Bentz is unopposed.

  • Emily George (unverified)
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    From what I hear, you're understating Richard Riggs' chance in HD 20, in a swing district that's trending blue. His campaign stepped up in the last 10 days and that's where folks in the Salem/Monmouth area would do well to spend their shoe leather time in the next week.

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    Emily--you might be right. I've asked around a lot about Riggs...and what you see in my post reflects that. But I plan to do an update next week--so if you've got more on Riggs that you think I'm missing, I'd love the information. Send it my way....

  • LT (unverified)
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    Carla, Last time around, an underfunded candidate with no paid staff and not even a campaign manager for quite awhile drove the total vote (actual number of voters) down into the territory of less than the number of voters not registered in a major party (half that number, if memory serves).

    Riggs has a Democratic registration edge, a dynamite campaign, a strong county party behind him, and he won't do any better? I live in Dist. 20, and Vicki acts as if she is hanging on for dear life. Yet Riggs "can't get enough steam"?

    Thompson and Brown are on opposite sides of M.49 (check the maps here on BO to see how the counties in that district went on that ballot measure, and yet Thompson is going to win? They are both nice men ( I know them) but esp. if there is an Obama landslide, my guess is that it will be close either way.

    And Cameron may get a big surprise on election night. Day has done a lot on local cable access, he talks about issues locals care about, and Cameron talks jargon--like about the "all funds budget" as if everyone in the district understands what that is.

    The results here in the mid-valley may just surprise a few people. None of the Republicans will be able to say they had an easy time of it, win or lose.

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    Carla,

    I'll see your Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial, and raise you this unholy combination of Sarah McLachlan and DMC (formerly of Run DMC) from a couple of years ago. DMC appears to have forgotten how to rap.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Sorry to go off topic, but has anyone seen the story of the 30-40 telemarketing call center workers in Indiana walking off the job because they refused to read an attack ad against Obama/Dems?

  • Richard Riggs (unverified)
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    Carla,

    I'm curious who you asked about my race because you didn't talk to me or anybody on my staff. I think Emily's & LT's comments are more accurate regarding my race than are your comments.

    My race has plenty of steam, we're phone banking every night and tomorrow Representatives Komp and Roblan will be putting in a few hours as well. To date I have knocked on more than 9,000 doors, volunteers have added a similar number and we have phoned at least another 9,000 households. We have contacted more than 29,000 households in a district of 33,000 registered voters.

    What do you consider steam?

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    Richard:

    Please feel free to email me information on your race. I'd be happy to look it over.

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    Carla - Dennis Richardson is not unopposed. Keith Wangle, an Independent, will probably do better than the Democrat did in 2006 in that race. Keith has a master's degree from Brown and was class valedictorian at Central Point High School.

    You can see his commercial, which is currently playing on cable:

    http://www.indparty.com/node/140

  • AndyB (unverified)
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    I think you have mis-characterized District 20. Anyone in Marion and Polk counties knows this race is running full throttle. It is by far the most active and best organized local Democratic campaign in the two counties. He has lots of shoes on the ground, lots of signs up, and lots of phones ringing. He has also raised considerable campaign dollars. Anyone who thinks Riggs has no chance is this race is going to very surprised on election night.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Excellent work, Carla. It's great to see the state of all the house races in one spot.

  • Richard Riggs (unverified)
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    Carla,

    I believe it's customary to do the research before publishing the article.

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    Mr. Riggs,

    This is a blog, not a newspaper. Traditional media rules do not apply.

    Carla did a great job of presenting a status of every house race in the state. That said, a common mistake of many campaigns is to focus the wrong energy on blogs. Right now, 110% of your energy should be in your district. If any voters in your district are reading this blog, they are already planning to vote for you. Take issue with Carla on November 5th.

  • RW (unverified)
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    For those of you in Clackamas COunty concerned that your votes count and are counted right, the monitoring teams really need more bodies. IF you are interested in working the rest of this week and election night, you can contact Shea Gumusoglu via email at [email protected]

    It's an important task in a county where the clerk is a Republican and not so open to monitoring, as unobtrusive as it is.

    As to the word "awesome", o lordee Carla... no no no!

    Heh. THe only dread I feel is related to Smith and possibly that "good guy in and of himself" who, in the end, has the same agenda as Smith... if excerpts are believable... but none of the wonderment I associate with that word... heheheheheh

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    Thanks for this Sal! I know I saw that at some point and must have forgotten to put it in my notes. I'll make the correction.

  • Jac Lorts (unverified)
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    As usual, our 59th House District (which includes The Dalles, Madras, John Day, the Fossil/Condon and surrounding areas) is being completely overlooked. Remember two years ago when Jim Gilbertson lost here by only 220 votes? And two and four years prior to that the seat has always been shown to be competitive? With Mike Ahern, a very popular Jefferson County Commissioner as the Democratic candidate, here in the hinterlands, we can't see our 59th district as "solid Republican." As is usual, our district is slipping just under the radar. We're working hard from The Dalles to Prairie City and hoping for an Ahern victory, but in all events, I'll bet the results of November 4th will show it has been a close and competitive race, certainly not "solid Republican."

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    As usual, our 59th House District (which includes The Dalles, Madras, John Day, the Fossil/Condon and surrounding areas) is being completely overlooked.

    Naw...I disagree there, Jack. I've been watching this race since July, and I know I'm not the only one. I think Ahern is a wonderful candidate. But he's got a lot to overcome in terms of moving voters in a traditionally deep-red district to color the bubble in for a Democrat.

    If you got some information that show it tilting close, please feel free to post it here or send it along to me in email.

  • Jack Lorts (unverified)
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    "But he's got a lot to overcome in terms of moving voters in a traditionally deep-red district to color the bubble in for a Democrat."

    Carla, I can't agree with your description of District #59 as a "deep-red district." After all Jim's performance two and six years ago, and mine four years ago, don't show the district as "deep-red." Since redistricting eight years ago, the district has always been close. Mike is very popular and doing well in his home county and he has a real corps of supporters in The Dalles, where his campaign manager is stationed.

    The voters of District #59 do tend to be somewhat conservative, but I know they can really read their candidates well. Both Gilbertson and Ahern tend to be conservative Democrats and the voters can realize that. I didn't do as well, but was still competitive, because they sensed I was considerably more liberal than they wanted. I think we'll see the race as much closer come November 4th.

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    No worries, Carla. Great analysis - though I think I agree with Jack about HD59. That was the closest race in the state in 2006, and the district is 5th most competitive in Oregon based on voter registration.

  • Bugs (unverified)
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    Great recap, Carla.

    But I would concur that Mike Ahern in HD 59 should move up to (at least) the "Leaning Republican" category. Win or lose, it's going to be very close out there as indicated by past election results and recent polling.

    And Judy Stiegler and Suzanne VanOrman need one more person to form the new "Central Oregon House Democratic Caucus"!

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    First, Carla, I'm glad that you took the time to detail these important races, with all the energy at the top of the ballot.

    I agree with Jack, my fellow Fossilite ( I grew up there.) I worked with Jim Gilbertson a lot in '06 and always thought it was winnable. At the time there were 12,000 Rs and 10,000 Ds and Jim almost beat the incumbent, who , granted, didn't work hard. Even after that, many political people didn't get it. I would mention Jim Gilbertson almost winning and many would say, "Oh yeah , Jim Gilbert from Molalla." who won 45%. They hadn't heard about Gilbertson and the fact that we almost won 59.

    On the one hand,it could be tougher this time because John Huffman is very respected in The Dalles, is working hard, and has raised a lot of $. On the other hand, Mike AHern is a great candidate, has a strong base in Jefferson, and is running hard. Huffman was appointed, not elected. The Democratic reg. surge hit parts of that district. I know that the longstanding 500 vote D advantage in Wasco jumped to almost 1000 before the primary.

    Remember, Jim Gilbertson won 47% there in '02 despite having no mail plan and being outsepnt 10-1 (Partly because of a scandal invoving John Mabrey.) Jack Lorts had a similar $ disadvantage in '04 and won a respectable 43%. 59 is AT LEAST leaning Republican and could be a toss up- we'll see.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    I should add Carla, that your reporting and analysis is outstanding and in-depth. It is hard to follow all of these races, and this puts it all together. It is truly one of the best Blue Oregon submissions I've read.

    I had to comment on 59 because I grew up there, managed Kevin Campbell's close race against Ferrioli in '96 in the old SD 28 and helped Jack Lorts in '04 and Jim Gilbertson extensively in '06.

    Dist 59 has been overlooked before, so I don't fault you. Without Grant COunty it would be a blue leaning seat. Grant makes it tough but still winnable.

  • john silvertooth (unverified)
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    Regarding the posts on District 59- Ahern (D) v. Huffman (R)-

    These assertions that a Democrat can not win Dist. 59 prove why the Democratic Caucuses can not win these seats-

    They do not understand how to campaign in a conservative area and have no idea of how to even speak a sentence in an atmosphere where they do not have a majority. They give up and run to some safe seat with their PAC money.

    They can't understand actually campaigning for Republican votes, especially with an expectation that you might actually get some.

    Peace Out like the kids say- I'd say more but there aren't many readers out here in the desert. JS

  • Joba (unverified)
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    Richard,

    I've got some news for you: if there's only a week to go until Election Day and you have time to respond to blog posts, then you're not doing what you need to be doing. That's the most telling sign yet that your campaign is in trouble.

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    Thanks for the kind words, Grant.

    I grew up in District 59, too. John Day, to be specific.

    I'm doing a follow-up to this post on Friday. In the meantime, based on all of the excellent feedback, I'm revisiting this race--although I don't know yet if I'll move it. And I hope those of you who are so passionate about this race are out there knocking on doors and making calls for Ahern.:)

    A "D" win for this seat would be a pretty nice cherry on top of what I anticipate will be a very good night for the Dems.

  • Stu (unverified)
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    Once again: Russell McAlmond is NOT running against Tobias Read.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Is it the Democratic Party of OREGON or just of Portland?

    Could it be possible that voters in districts outside of Portland will vote for a Democratic challenger that Portlanders didn't think could win? If that person wins, that person becomes a member of the House Dem. caucus, even if every Portland activist thought the victory impossible.

    Those of us in the rest of the state who have actively worked on campaigns can sympathize with this,

    Posted by: john silvertooth | Oct 28, 2008 11:03:17 PM "They can't understand actually campaigning for Republican votes, especially with an expectation that you might actually get some. " as we've actually won voters to Democratic candidates who were Republicans and perhaps voting for Republicans for other offices.

    But there seems to be a mentality among some in Portland akin to "if a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear?". If Portlanders don't think a race can be won, does the Democratic candidate have a chance?

    Joba, if you were running for office and a blog said you didn't have a chance, you couldn't find 5 minutes in your busy schedule to respond?

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    LT: To answer your question to Joba: No candidate SHOULD find 5 minutes in their schedule during the final week of their campaign to respond on a blog. If they are, they're frittering away very valuable time that should be spent on the phones or canvassing or other candidate-related stuff.

    If the Riggs folks believe I'm wrong--then get off the blogs and get out and prove me wrong. Hell--I'd be thrilled to be wrong about that race. I'll eat crow from a prominent place in their district, if that's a motivater to do more to win that seat.

    Given that much of this post is about Dems winning districts outside of Portland (and there's lots of them), the rest of your comment is mysterious and off-base, in my view.

  • Theresa Davis (unverified)
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    As a Reynolds School Board member, I challenge Nick Kahl to bring his comments to one of our meetings publicly and on camera. I strongly urge him to become INFORMED OF THE FACTS instead of issuing unfounded accusations and using the situation as a political football for his campaign.

    As a Democrat, we've complained for years about the Republicans' dirty tactics (Tom DeLay style) and how to turn the tables. However, this level of political nastiness will come back to haunt us in the future and is not a good representation of the Democratic Party values.

    Theresa Delaney Davis

  • Taylor M (unverified)
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    Carla, thanks for putting this together. One minor quibble- I think HD 38 is going to be closer than you list here. Steve Griffith is a very liberal Republican- he got the nod from the W Week!- and is a close fit for the Lake Oswego-based district. He also has name recognition from two terms on the Portland School Board, while this is Chris Garrett's first run for public office. Garrett is a strong candidate and a likely winner, but Griffith is basically the Republican's dream candidate for this race. I certainly wouldn't rank this one as a sure bet.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Carla, your exact words about Riggs were "just can't get enough steam to overcome Republican incumbent Vicki Berger".

    What defines "steam" short of election results? Ignoring blogs that say negative things? Getting lawn signs up all over the district? (Lots more Riggs and Day signs in S. Salem than Berger and Cameron signs.) Recruiting volunteers? Are you saying that there is some arbitrary number of volunteers Riggs should have recruited by now and you have information that he fell short of that number? If so, I'd like to know who set such an arbitrary number and what it is based on. I went to his campaign kickoff and his spaghetti feed. I also went to the all-candidate House debate at the Salem library where he did very well and Vicki appeared on the defensive. What did you base your evaluation on---hearsay information from people you know?

    Riggs said "We have contacted more than 29,000 households in a district of 33,000 registered voters." That's over 87% of households by Oct. 27. How many tossups and leaning Dem. candidates have contacted at least 85% of the households in their districts? By taking time to post that statistic, he proved he didn't have "steam"?

    Yes, you may turn out to be right about some of these races. Or wrong--we'll find out in a week.

    But "steam" is very ill defined. In 2006, no one who follows politics lives in Marion or Polk county (except the "Jackie is an icon" crowd were were mostly paid political staffers over the age of 40) could deny Paul Evans had "steam"--his end of campaign party was to a packed house verging on overflow crowd, many of them remembering the "politically smart" people who said he'd never raise enough money or recruit enough volunteers.

    Yes, he lost Marion County where Jackie Winters is so well known, and yes, he was deployed on election day. But he came within about 20 votes of carrying Polk County, and recruited a lot of young people who didn't recognize the name Jackie Winters ("what do you know about this woman Paul is running against?"). He has a loyal following even now, and when he runs for something again it will be a wonder to behold.

    Now, you may have a source who has no more faith in the Riggs campaign than a lot of the "politically smart" people had in the Paul Evans campaign. You may be right, he may lose--as may any other particular candidate.

    But please at least admit that "steam" was a poor choice of words. Vicki Berger is very obviously worried, as those of us who know her have noticed. Her slogan is that she protects "what is important to us". I can just hear people who know she has held few town hall meetings saying "as if she has a clue what is important to ordinary folks in the district".

    The "steam" remark is the kind of condescending crack many of us in this area have experienced from people in Portland who claim to know more about our district than the people who actually live here. You may not have realized that, but it is a fact.

    Once upon a time, the Democratic Party state office was in Salem, and there seemed to be more understanding of the rest of the state before the party office moved to Portland. I know that isn't your fault (was involved in politics when it happened and know who engineered that move), but there has seemed to be a growing disconnect between Portlanders and the rest of the state ever since.

    I hope there are at least 36 Democrats elected in November, along with the change to the House Dems. caucus it will bring to have people from varied areas of the state.

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    Stu wrote... Once again: Russell McAlmond is NOT running against Tobias Read.

    Yup. McAlmond was unopposed in the GOP primary, but dropped out. He's been replaced by his campaign manager, Michael DeVietro.

    [I've edited Carla's post.]

  • (Show?)

    That's over 87% of households by Oct. 27. How many tossups and leaning Dem. candidates have contacted at least 85% of the households in their districts? By taking time to post that statistic, he proved he didn't have "steam"?

    LT -- If he's contacted 87% of the households in his district, then he's doing it wrong. He absolutely should NOT be contacting 3/4 and 4/4 all-Republican households.

    And besides, that's the wrong metric. Give me $10000 and three days, and I'll "contact" every single household... with a robocall.

    He says he's knocked on 9000 doors. That's much more compelling.

    Why are we still talking about this? Go out and knock on some doors. In Riggs's district, even.

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    What defines "steam" short of election results?

    This post is a prognostication about election results, LT. That's the context in which I wrote the sentence to which you refer. "Enough steam" here means to defeat Berger. That is the main point of the exercise.

    The idea that there's a "growing disconnect" between people in Portland and the rest of the state is not something I see, in general. In fact, I think its the opposite. I think those of us that live in the Portland metro area are highly sensitive (perhaps too much) to those that live down the Willamette Valley and east of the Cascades.

    And frankly--this posts reflects that if you look at all of the highlighted races outside of Portland.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Sorry Carla, but what you said was

    "District 20: Democrat Richard Riggs (who has a great website), just can't get enough steam to overcome Republican incumbent Vicki Berger."

    For the others you said "should defeat" or "should survive a challenge".

    It may have just been to avoid repetitive language, but why did you chose the one Navy veteran/ Iraq vet to say he didn't have enough steam?

    One of the circumstances here is that Vicki Berger in 2006 condescended to her opponent because Vicki had been on the school board previously, why hadn't her opponent run for local office first.

    Vicki can't do that with Chemeketa Comm. College board member Riggs.

    And how many people here think someone with a military career and service in Iraq should only visit Democratic households? No Republican wants to vote for someone with a military background?

    Do you really believe that is how Jim Hill and Rocky Barilla won this district? We knew Jim had a good shot to be the first Democrat elected in this district when people gave coffees where over 40 people showed up, and some of those folks were largely Republican but they knew the Hill family.

    No, Kari, robocalls don't generate that kind of support, at least not in this district.n

    Is it all about a formula for winning districts with no individual circumstances factored in?

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    For the others you said "should defeat" or "should survive a challenge".

    I used several different phrases to talk about these races, LT--different than what you cite. I also used, "easily holds off", "cannot overcome the blue tide","should easily survive","is unlikely to gain traction". etc. All are in the context of talking about winning and losing the race. Period. As is the phrase I used in the Riggs/Berger race: "just can't get enough steam".

    You are picking at nits--and assigning motive to me that I don't have.

    Again, this post is about winning and losing. Not strategy, not district characteristics, not the souls of the constituency.

    Seriously.

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    No, Kari, robocalls don't generate that kind of support, at least not in this district.

    Pay attention. That was exactly my point.

    Riggs said he had "contacted" 29,000 households - while knocking on 9000 doors.

    My point was that a "contact" is not necessarily a meaningful metric.

  • John English (unverified)
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    If Van Orman and Stigler are in such strong positions, than Mike Ahern should be bumped higher. Gilbertson did better against an incumbent in '06 than Stiger did in an open seat in '04.

    <h2>Apparently, Future Pac sees (or saw) it as competative. They recruited Mike and had the Governor call him twice to urge him to run</h2>

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