Why things were different in Oregon

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

2014 was always going to be a tough election year. The sixth year of a presidency almost always is.

Add to the usual political dynamics these factors: The economy isn't making as strong a recovery on Main Street as we'd like. That -- along with panic over Ebola and Isis -- caused low approval ratings for the President among swing voters.

So, why were things different in Oregon? How did we re-elect Jeff Merkley by a huge margin? How did we re-elect John Kitzhaber by a strong margin, despite the late-breaking scandals? Why was Oregon the only state where Democrats gained seats in both houses of the Legislature?

To me, the answer is crystal clear: Democrats in Oregon were unafraid to stand up for our values. That's true for Jeff Merkley and John Kitzhaber -- and that was true all over the state in legislative races. Here's the House majority leader, Rep. Val Hoyle, writing this weekend for the O:

For me, the big takeaway from last month's elections is this: Voters in these House races rejected the politics of fear and negativity. Voters said no to over-the-line, often racially charged attacks, and they discarded the outright falsehoods in our opponents' ads.

But voters needed something to vote for, and I'm proud to say that House Democrats ran our campaigns on a clear vision of a future economy in which every working family has a shot at prosperity. We presented an agenda of investing in our schools and critical services, while making sure that we're holding government accountable. This is what made the difference.

Of course, running on our values does one more thing -- it mobilizes the volunteers that hit the doors and the phones. And we know that volunteer door-knocking is the single most powerful campaign tool we have.

We couldn't have succeeded in this election without the dedication of our many volunteers, who put in countless hours knocking on doors and making phone calls in support of candidates they believe in. In the last five days alone, we knocked on more than 50,000 doors in key races to make sure that voters turned in their ballots.

Around the country, in one high-profile race after another, Democrats tried to win on single-issue shibboleths, by running away from President Obama, and by trying to be lite Republicans. Not here.

Sure, in Oregon, things do look different here. But that's not an accident. It's because we do things different here, too.

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