Democrats Keep Oregon Blue

'Blue wave' takes U.S. House, but Democrats maintain power in Oregon

Oregon won’t have the only governor in the U.S. with a goatee after all. Gov. Kate Brown will keep her job for the next four years, winning 49 percent to Knute Buehler’s 44 percent.

The 2018 midterm election brought out high numbers in turnout: 62 percent, according to the Secretary of State. The high turnout didn’t just vote for Democrats higher up on the ballot. Besides re-electing Brown and Rep. Peter DeFazio, the down-ticket races felt a Democratic Party wave as well. This includes the technically nonpartisan Lane County Board of Commissioners and keeping outgoing state Rep. Phil Barnhart’s seat in the Democratic Party.

Heather Buch, who defeated appointed Commissioner Gary Williams 56 to 44 percent, will join Joe Berney (who defeated Commissioner Sid Leiken in May 2018) and Pete Sorenson to flip what has been perceived as a conservative Board of Commissioners to a more progressive majority.

In an election night address to supporters, Buch said she hopes her win will encourage more women to run for elected office.

She added to Eugene Weekly that she feels honored to be one of many women elected to office tonight.

In the legislative race, Barnhart told EW that he was impressed that Marty Wilde won the district by such a large margin because House District 11 is essentially a swing district.

Despite timber-fueled negative ads from Wilde’s opponent, Mark Herbert, Wilde won 56 to 44 percent.

Wilde’s win helps the Democratic Party gain a supermajority in the Oregon House of Representatives according to unofficial election results from Oregon Secretary of State. The Democratic Party now has three-fifths control of the House, making it easier to pass revenue increases.

This election was also a big one for Lane County in terms of race. State Sen. James Manning is now the first black man to be elected in Lane County to the Oregon Legislature. Both Republicans and Democrats can claim this historical moment since Manning ran with the endorsement of both parties. He was appointed to his Senate seat when former state Sen. Chris Edwards stepped down in 2016.

State Sens. Floyd Prozanski and Lee Beyer won their re-elections. Prozanski defeated Scott Rohter, 60 to 37 percent and Beyer beat Robert Schwartz 60 to 39 percent.

Other results include Measure 102 passing, and Oregonians rejecting Measures 103, 104, 105 and 106.

The Eugene School District school bond that will lead to a new North Eugene High School, among other district improvements, was approved as was Springfield’s $10 million road bond.

However, election reform will have to wait in Lane County. Score Then Automatic Reform (STAR), which was funded mostly by Mark Frohnmayer of Arcimoto, was rejected by 52 percent of voters.