Only days after 70,000 people gathered on Portland’s waterfront to roar their approval for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, voters on Tuesday handed him a resounding victory over Hillary Clinton in the Oregon primary election. It was the most exciting primary progressive-leaning Oregon has seen in 40 years, and one that drew record participation among Democratic voters. A total of 52 convention delegates were at stake in the Oregon primary.
Obama takes Oregon, Adams Portland’s next mayor
Only days after 70,000 people gathered on Portland’s waterfront to roar their approval for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, voters on Tuesday handed him a resounding victory over Hillary Clinton in the Oregon primary election.
It was the most exciting primary progressive-leaning Oregon has seen in 40 years, and one that drew record participation among Democratic voters. A total of 52 convention delegates were at stake in the Oregon primary.
Obama’s victory in Oregon broadens his chances of becoming the Democratic nominee for the general election, moving him within 100 delegates of the total he needs to claim the prize.
“You have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination,” Obama told cheering supporters in Iowa, the overwhelmingly white state that launched him, a black, first-term senator from Illinois, onto his improbable path to victory last January.
In Portland, Sam Adams soundly defeated local businessman Sho Dozono to win the race to find the city’s next mayor. With more than three-quarters of the votes counted, Adams led Dozono by 24 percent, securing 58 percent of the total vote.
“As mayor, I will work hard with all of you. And you better believe me, you will work hard, too,” Adams said. “We want to make Portland not only a city we belong to, but also a city we believe in.”
Democrats Jeff Merkley and lawyer Steve Novick battled in a tight race for the chance to face Republican Gordon Smith in the general election for Smith’s seat in the U.S. Senate. Merkley secured the nomination, edging out Novick by about 6 percent of the vote.
“This will go down as one of the greatest losing campaigns in history,” said Novick, adding that voters must now throw their support behind Merkley.
Portland attorney Nick Fish crushed contender Jim Middaugh in the race for City Commissioner seat 2, winning 62 percent of the total vote. Middaugh was the chief-of-staff for Erik Sten, who left seat 2 open after he resigned from the Portland City Council in March.
Amanda Fritz, a local advocate and nurse at OHSU, came away with the lead in the race for City Commissioner seat 1, gaining 43 percent of the total vote. But because Fritz failed to gain 51 percent of the total vote, she will have to face local business-owner Charles Lewis, who gained the second most votes in the race, in a run-off during the general election in November.
To get elected into office from the primary, a candidate for a Portland office must gain a majority (51 percent) of votes; otherwise, the top two candidates will face off in the general election in November.
John Kroger, a law professor who has never held public office, will almost certainly be Oregon’s next attorney general after handily beating out state Rep. Greg Macpherson, a Democrat from Lake Oswego, for the Democratic nomination.
Kroger, who teaches at Lewis and Clark College’s law school in Portland, won with more than 55 percent of the vote to about 45 percent for Macpherson in a race dominated by big spending by unions for Kroger and negative advertising by MacPherson.
“Greg Macpherson was a formidable opponent,” Kroger said, “but it shows the power of ideas in politics.”
No Republicans entered the primary race for attorney general, virtually assuring that Kroger will win the general election in November.
Democrats also selected former Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown of Portland to be their Secretary of State candidate. She’ll face off against Republican Rick Dancer, a former Eugene TV news anchor, in the fall.
With two-thirds of the votes counted, Brown was pulling in nearly 51 percent of the vote. Her closest competitor, state Sen. Rick Metsger of Welches, was getting 28 percent, and state Sen. Vicki Walker of Eugene was trailing with just over 17 percent.
Republican and former Portland State student body president Mike Erickson will face off against Canby-based Democrat Kurt Schrader in what might shape up to be one of the country’s most intriguing Congressional match-ups this fall. Erickson edged former state GOP chair Kevin Mannix to win the Republican nomination for District 1, while Schrader sailed to victory without much competition.
In the other House races, Earl Blumenauer maintained his seat in District 3, while Democrat David Wu will take on Joel Haugen this fall in the race for Wu’s seat in District 5.
In the race that may have garnered the least attention and contention this spring, Randy Leonard retained his spot on the Portland City Council, gaining 72 percent of the votes for seat 4.