OR-5: The only (sorta) competitive race in Oregon

Carla Axtman

As Oregon begins to creep slowly into the summer months (paging Oregon's weathergods, I've about had it with this cool, rainy stuff. How about some hot, sunny days?), candidates will be out in force at parades, picnics and various other gatherings to get some face time with voters. The conventional wisdom from the national political punditry says we're all in the mood to kick the bums (aka incumbents) out. But according to the New York Times, Oregon is likely to buck that trend.

If you're in to cool map widgets, this New York Times page is going to make you giddy. Each House district is color coded based on how the Times views that district's race. Plus each district on the map clicks through to a snazzy blow-up of the district complete with a button that leads to a nice profile. Fancy stuff.

The only Oregon district worthy of the "leans" rather than "solid" designation is Oregon House District 5, a seat currently held by Democrat Kurt Schrader. The GOP opponent in this one is Scott Bruun, who apparently thinks he's running against Nancy Pelosi, but I digress.

It's rather interesting that Oregon House District 1 (held by Democrat David Wu) has been solidly blue for years now. The national Republicans have been whacking away trying to get this seat for several cycles, only to continually fail. The recent primary showed some possible Democratic weakness in Washington County, which constitutes a large chunk of this district. But Wu's once again drawn an unknown candidate with no experience, so barring a major upset, this one stays in the blue column easily.

In the 4th, Peter DeFazio is set to romp over his Republican challenger Art Robinson. The other two seats are also solidly safe: Blumenauer in 3 and Walden in 2. Neither seems to have drawn an especially tough challenger.

Some of us have also been watching what's going on in the Vancouver, WA area with House District 3, now an open seat due to the retirement of Democrat Brian Baird. Washington's primary isn't until August and candidates have until June 11 to file. Right now, there are three Democrats and four Republicans in the race. The Times has this one a tossup. I'm personally cheering for Blue America endorsee Craig Pridemoreon this one.

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    Now we know who is the Queen of wishful thinking. It is way too soon to call CD1, especially if you are going to base it on previous elections alone, without any actual poling.

    David Wu has never been really challenged in a challenging election year. Cornilles may not have experience but that may play more in his favor, given that he has put together a strong campaign and seems to be a solid candidate.

    David Wu is a lack luster candidate with serious character issues. Cornilles and the Republicans are going to have a field day with him.

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      You are saying that Cornilles will gain traction with "serious character issue" campaigning where Ameri failed in a cycle where the GOP picked up house seats and Bush won?

      While I agree that it is still very early in the cycle for predictions, I found it interesting looking at the house race map the the New York Times has up which Carla linked too.

      If we give every race listed as toss-up to the GOP, and the GOP also picks up all their "leaning GOP" races, and the Dems take the rest (i.e. safe and leaning Dem races) then the Dems actually increase their hold in the House.

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        Ack. Screwed up the close italic tag. Wish the preview actually previewed with the HTML tags working.

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          You need to go back and look at the map again. If the Dems don't win any toss-ups they end with 228 seats, a 10 seat majority, down from 257 at the begining of this session.

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      Wu has been seriously challenged for this seat. In 1998 he ran foragainst GOPer Mollie Bordonaro who he only defeated by 3 points.

      I'm not sure what kind of "field day" you think Cornilles and the GOP can have against Wu, but Goli Ameri drug the dirt out a few years ago against him and was clobbered. I find it difficult to believe that Cornilles can get within 15 points of Wu.

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      David Wu has never been really challenged in a challenging election year.

      1. Scandal. And he still won 58-38.

      Stop smoking the wacky weed.

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    I don’t think the Schouten race is an indication of Democratic weakness in Washington County. There were 98,000 votes of which 14,000 were NAVs. The Ds had an advantage of 5500 votes but Schouten lost by 12,000 votes, a swing greater than the total of all the NAV votes. The down vote loss on this race was 21000 votes and they cannot all be Democrats. To reconcile such a loss for Schouten one has to believe that Democrats voted for Duyck even though other county races did not show such a Democratic shift. I think the loss was a failure of tactics and we failed to inform our base of the choice they had.

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      Steve: I suspect you're right on the "Democratic weakness". I have some pretty serious concerns about the tactics on the Schouten race--and rumors of the post-mortems aren't making me feel any better (If only they'd run more TV ads that nobody in WaCo saw...really? Good grief)

      I think that the County Dems will be quite ready this Fall. But I do have a twinge of concern still about some of the down-ballot races.

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    Carla -- thanks for the plug for Pridemore. I've met him several times now and he's the "real deal." Who represents southwest Washington, including Clark County, in Congress, should matter to Oregonians. This will be both a competitive primary and general election.

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    When Ras comes out with a poll saying Cornilles is within 3 points of Wu, we'll know it's all over for the GOP in that race. :)

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