HD-10: The third open seat of 2012

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Rep. Jean Cowan (D-Newport) has announced that she will retire at the end of her third term rather than run for re-election. From her statement:

“After more than 20 years in elected offices, it is now time for me to step aside,” Cowan said.

Cowan cites her grandchildren as the primary reason for her decision to retire from public service.

“My grandkids are now 10, 9 and 3 years old and they all live a considerable distance from Newport,” she said. “It is very important to my husband, Pat, and me that we be able to be fully involved in their lives. I have sincerely enjoyed the opportunity to represent the citizens of House District 10, but it is now time for me to spend more time enjoying my grandchildren and sharing in their activities.”

Following the departures of Reps. Mary Nolan and Brad Witt to run for other offices, Cowan's seat is the third to become open for the 2012 election cycle. Yesterday, Rep. Jefferson Smith also announced that he would be leaving his seat to run for mayor (which makes four.) Rep. Ben Cannon's now-vacant seat will, very likely, not be open in 2012 - following the appointment process later this month.

The seat has always been one of the more competitive ones in Oregon, finally flipping in 2006 (one of the four that flipped to win a Democratic majority after 16 years.) Expect the race to be competitive again, though the district has changed somewhat in redistricting.

The old district (map here) basically ran from Lincoln City and Willamina south, through Newport and Waldport, to the outskirts of Florence - and then inland to Veneta, in Lane County.

The new district (shown) starts further north, near the south side of the Tillamook Bay (Oceanside, Netarts), heading down through Lincoln City, Newport, and ending south of Waldport near the Lincoln/Lane county line. In short, the district gave up a bunch of northern coastal Lane County for a bunch of southern coastal Tillamook County. The population centers, however, largely remain Lincoln City and Newport.

I haven't heard any word on prospective candidates yet. Stay tuned.

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    I want to thank Rep. Cowan for her service to the district, and the people of Oregon.

    She wasn't the easiest to pin down or lobby, but that reflected her thoughtful approach to the issues at hand.

    She taught me a fair amount about the issues and the people of her district, which I greatly appreciated.

    Oregon is better for her service.

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    This district has been brutalized in the Bush/Obama economy. Unless the Democrats get solidly behind a populist economic message and match the rhetoric with bold action, I think there is a strong chance that they will lose this seat the same way that they lost Anthony Weiner's congressional seat in New York yesterday.

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    The same way? By finding a POS candidate with endless baggage? Nah.

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      If your comment is true, then doesn't it actually reinforce my point about how much trouble the D's are in right now?

      If they can't beat a "POS candidate with endless baggage" in a solidly Democratic district, then how would you expect them to fare in swing districts or against stronger candidates?

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        NY-09 is not a safe district. It's only D+5. Matt Wand, Shawn Lindsay, and Frank Morse are all in better performing districts for Democrats than NY-09. HD-10 may be swingish but it's mostly in Lincoln and Tillamook Counties, which are ancestral Democratic areas that still often vote Democratic. Kitzhaber was able to hold onto Lincoln and Schrader won Tillamook last year in a pretty awful year. Even the parts in Polk and Yamhill aren't that bad for Democrats. We could lose the district but its definitely Lean Dem at this point, considering we don't know anything about the candidates.

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          None of the districts you mention are "better performing districts for Democrats" than NY-09 if by "better performing", you mean actual performance in elections.

          No Republican has held the NY-09 seat for 80 years prior to yesterday's election.

          By contrast, Alan Brown, a Republican, held HD 10 for several years. Before that, it was Lyn Snodgrass, a Republican.

          Similarly, Republicans have held HD 49 and 30 for most of the last two decades.

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            A bit of a correction: Lynn Snodgrass did, in fact, hold HD-10 - but it was an entirely different HD-10.

            In the 2000 redistricting, the seats were renumbered from south to north. Previously they had been numbered from north to south. (For example, Deborah Kafoury represented much of the area currently in Lew Frederick's HD-43 and Tina Kotek's HD-44. But back in 1998, it was HD-14.)

            Prior to Alan Brown, the area we know now as HD-10 was served by Democrats Terry Thompson and Hedy Rijken.

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        No my comment was my impression was the D was the "POS candidate with endless baggage" which is why he lost. It's less an issue of party than the D's nominated a turd of a candidate. I could be wrong. I'm not arguing. That was just my impression from afar.

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    I'm not sure if you've been paying attention but Oregon isn't like it was 30 years ago. There are few precincts in Washington County that Barack Obama didn't win, and he won many in Hillsboro, in Shawn Lindsay's district, 2-1. Obama won the new HD-49 with 60% of the vote. Kerry won both of those districts too, so it wasn't a fluke. I've looked at the numbers for the new districts, and HD-49 is about D+7, and HD-30 is about D+6. 30 years ago it may have been different, but a lot of the people who voted 30 years ago are dead and I wasn't alive. Today these are better performing districts than NY-09.

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      I'm not sure why you are mentioning Oregon of "30 years ago". Every district you've mentioned has been held by Republicans for most of the last 2 decades.

      You sure you're paying attention?

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