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  • NW Policy Advocates

Election 2022: Governor Kotek . . . and ????

Oregonians Make Their Voices Heard

Election day came and went. In past years, that would have been enough for us to know ... "who won?"

In the Governor's race, the Oregonian called the race for Tina Kotek. With over 80,000 votes left to tally in Multnomah County, her slim 30,000 vote lead over Christine Drazen is expected to grow, and uncounted votes in smaller, rural counties are unlikely to change that outcome.

In other races, in past years we would have had a pretty good idea who won by now. This year, a new law changed all of that. Ballots now can be postmarked the day of the election, meaning that ballots could come in two or three days from now and still impact the final tallies. In close races, that might mean waiting several days to find out "who won."

So, we DO know a few things:

  • Oregon will have a new Governor, Democrat Tina Kotek. A challenge for her will be uniting the state. More Oregonians voted for someone other than Tina Kotek (when you combine Drazen and Johnson voters), and at this point it appears that 31 of 36 counties voted for someone other than Tina Kotek. Her day one challenge will be communicating to the majority of Oregonians that she can effectively hear their views, represent them as Governor, and try to bridge the urban/rural divide.

  • Republicans narrowed the margins in the Oregon House and Senate, but will not tie or take control of either chamber.

  • The "narrowing" was far more limited than expected. Many predicted that the Senate might end up in a 15-15 tie or even a 16-14 Republican majority. But at this time, it looks like Republicans are likely to end up with no more than 14 of the 30 seats. The key race hanging in the balance is in Clackamas County, where Democrat State Rep. Mark Meek has a small lead – just 238 votes – over incumbent State Senator Bill Kennemer, with a large number of votes left to count. The House is even more murky. Republicans look likely to pick up 3 or so seats. But nowhere near a tie or the majority.

  • The "Supermajorities" that Democrats have enjoyed appear to be in the rear view mirror for now. This eliminates the opportunity for Democrats to pass certain types of bills (i.e. tax changes) without a single Republican vote.

  • On the Congressional front, 2 of the 6 seats will be in Republican hands, with a 3rd (the 6th District) very close. In that race, almost half of Marion County's ballots are yet to be counted (and where Republican Mike Erickson has won a majority of votes so far). Could that overcome Democrat Andrea Salinas' small lead and flip the seat Red?

  • While 75% of poll respondents indicated that they viewed the country on the "wrong track," that did not create a wave election, either nationally or in Oregon. This defies predictions and runs counter to previous instances of widespread voter dissatisfaction (1980, 1994, 2010, 2018). Essentially, voters said: "We're willing to give the party in power the opportunity to get things back on track."

The Bottom Line: Counties will announce more results in the coming days:

Wed, Nov. 16th

  • Marion County, 5pm

  • Multnomah County, 6pm

So take a deep breath, grab some popcorn and prepare for a slow rollout of the final election results as a result of Oregon's new voting laws.

In some legislative, local city and county races, we may not know the winners for another week.

Keep in touch.

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