There were a few surprises in primary election results this year as only three legislative races attracted more than one Democratic entry. Most hotly contested and most expensive race in the state for the primary:
Senate District 24, spanning Multnomah and Clackamas counties, saw incumbent Rod Monroe facing two Democratic opponents. He went down hard to former State Rep. Shemia Fagan as she amassed over 60 percent of the vote. Kasye Jama, the other challenger, mustered about 12 percent. This was winner-take-all, as no Republican has filed.
Senate District 13, covering some of Clackamas (Wilsonville), Washington and Marion Counties, saw Paul Diller prevail on the Democratic side against Sarah Grider by a 58-42 percent margin. He faces GOP incumbent Kim Thatcher in the fall.
In an important Metro primary, Lynn Peterson was overwhelmingly elected to the council presidency. Joe Buck (39 percent) and Christine Lewis (22 percent) will run off in November. Following them in the returns were freshly appointed District 2 councilor, Betty Dominguez (20 percent) and the only Republican, Carol Pauli with 19 percent.
Unopposed state Senate candidates included incumbent Rob Wagner (SD19) and challengers Charles Gallia (SD20) and Chrissy Reitz (SD26). Both Gallia and Reitz will be mounting very active campaigns.
Congress saw two incumbents prevail easily. In CD5, Kurt Schrader easily topped Peter Wright, 88-22 percent in Clackamas, slightly smaller margin district-wide reaching six other counties. Earl Blumenauer had zero problems in CD3. Both he and Schrader are expected to win in November.
House District 18 was the only contested Democratic primary. Barry Shapiro beat Doug Culver by a 2:1 ratio. He is taking on appointed incumbent Rick Lewis.
Unopposed House candidates in the primary were Ryan Spiker (HD26), incumbent Margaret Doherty (HD35 with one precinct in Clackamas), Rachel Prusak (HD37), incumbent Andrea Salinas (HD38), Elizabeth Graser-Lindsey (HD39), incumbents Mark Meek (HD40), Karin Power (HD41), Jeff Reardon (HD48), and Janelle Bynum (HD51). Challenger Anna Williams in HD52 prevailed 2:1 as her opponent, Aurora Del Val, withdrew from the campaign, although her name remained on the ballot.
At the county level, Paul Savas won re-election with 60 percent for his county commission seat against Peter Winter (23 percent) and Louise Lopes (17 percent). No runoff there. However, County Clerk Sherry Hall was only able to muster 43 percent of the vote and will face Pamela White (32 percent) in November. Sherry Healy was third with 24 percent. Commissioner Sonya Fischer had no opponent in winning her full four-year term.
The biggest Democratic win statewide was Val Hoyle beating Republican Tualatin mayor Lou Ogden for the office of Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner. She achieved 52 percent, thus avoiding a runoff.
Three levies worth mentioning won support. In West Linn, a general obligation bond for infrastructure capital improvements prevailed 56-44 percent, while a parks levy in Happy Valley won with a strong 70-30 percent. And a long-time controversy concerning the Gladstone library expansion is now calm as voters there approved a bond levy toward construction costs.
Turnout was relatively uninspiring. Statewide, it was the lowest in several years, as only 33.7 percent of the state’s voters actually submitted ballots. In Clackamas County the turnout was 27.25 percent. Precincts with Neighborhood Leaders yielded much higher numbers, with face-to-face meetings actually generating a 52 percent turnout.
Too, as State Democratic Chair Jeanne Atkins told the Central Committee meeting May 17, “Don’t let them tell you this was a weak turnout,” she said. It looks slightly lower than the primary two years ago, “but with motor voter registration, a lot more people turned out than it appears.” Oregon has a lot more voters than it did two years ago.