More than one pundit has already said that Clackamas and Washington counties will carry or lose this election for the Democrats. Let’s look at the numbers.
Multnomah County’s 527,169 registered voters make it the largest. And Oregon’s largest county is severely lopsided favoring Democrats. More than equaling it, however, are the combination of Washington County, 355,459, and Clackamas, 287,931. They, too, lean Democratic.
Those three counties are some 42 percent of Oregon’s vote next month.
Add two more counties — Eugene’s Lane with 255,162, and Salem’s Marion, 200,535 — and the top five have 1,626,256 voters of Oregon’s 2,731,048. That’s 60 percent of all the voters, and Democrats outnumber Republicans 966,397 to 703,825 in Oregon. Voters who don’t state a party preference are second in volume with 874,822.
If you were a statewide candidate, where would you decide to campaign the most? As the old saying goes, “Go fishing where the fish are.” And for most statewide candidates, they aren’t in Eastern Oregon or other rural counties with the exception of Lincoln County on the coast.
With the ballots in voters’ hands over the past week now, how are Democrats turning out? Well ahead of the Republicans in Oregon. Some say it is a 2:1 difference, though Republicans can’t be counted out.
And those who decline to state their party? Nationally they are breaking 2:1 Democratic in early surveys. Do we have confidence Kate Brown can be re-elected and we can hold strong majorities in the Legislature?
Stay tuned, as they say. If the momentum is on the Democratic side now, it’s time to turn up the heat and make those margins even bigger.
If the goal is to make Oregon a Democratic beacon, a standard of governance and decency that other states can emulate, bearing down right now is important.
After all, the numbers don’t do us any good if our people, those who share our values, don’t vote.