Primary election results show a wonderful sweep for Clackamas County Democrats. Incumbent County Commissioners Democrat Jim Bernard and moderate Republican Paul Savas held off well-funded attacks from Steve Bates and Karen Bowerman, respectively. Voters are now accustomed to the offensive and inaccurate mailers and billboards put out by right wing PACs and their timber baron and sex therapist funders.
What remains to be seen is if County Chair John Ludlow, who had a direct hand in recruiting and publicly endorsing the losers, will find a way to work with a variety of perspectives, or will he continue to try to bully all the commissioners into his way of seeing things?
In the County Clerk’s race, Naval Reserve Commander and West Linn Democrat David Robinson will now face incumbent mistake maker Republican Sherry Hall in November. Democrat Shari Anderson was easily re-elected to a fifth term as County Treasurer.
Oregon’s primary system can be confusing. To clarify, in the non-partisan offices, a clear 50 percent-plus one is needed in the primary to forego having to face a general election. Hence, Bernard and Savas will not be on the ballot in the fall. They’ve won. However, since nobody got a 50 percent-plus one margin in the County Clerk’s race, the two top vote-getters, Robinson and Hall, will meet again in the general election in November. The county treasurer cannot be elected in the primary, but because Shari Anderson received a clear majority, she will run unopposed in the general election.
Three contested legislative races were easily decided:
House District 41: The Democratic primary for the retiring Carolyn Tomei’s seat was won by Kathleen Taylor by a surprisingly strong 2-1 margin against Deborah Barnes. She’ll go against Timothy McMenamin in the fall. (He ran two years ago against Rep. Tomei). Re-districting put a big chunk of the 41st in Multnomah County where Ms. Taylor lives. She had been endorsed by Rep. Tomei.
House District 18: With 40 percent of its voters in Southern Clackamas County, incumbent Republican Rep. Vic Gilliam, withstood a $100,000-plus attack by tea party darling David Darnell. Facing Gilliam in November will be Democrat Scott Mills, who notes that Gilliam pretty much toes the Republican Party line whereas Darnell was considered just too extreme for rural voters.
House District 51: Incumbent Democrat Shemia Fagan will campaign against Republican Jodi Bailey, who beat another Republican soundly. Both women live in Happy Valley. This district stretches from Clackamas to East Portland.
Statewide, the torture-supporting stalker Monica Wehby, darling of the right wing and out of state PACs, won the Republican primary in Clackamas County and will face Jeff Merkely in November. Tootie Smith won the Republican nomination for Congress in the seven-county 5th District. She will face incumbent Kurt Schrader, who easily won the Democratic primary. Incumbent Earl Blumenauer in the 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of northern Clackamas County, won easily.
County-wide turnout was 30.1 percent, with Republicans again outperforming Democrats by about one percentage point.
With primary results evident and party-building picking up steam, Democrats across the county can take pride in the primary results and eagerly look forward to the upcoming campaigns.