Oregon’s ‘Quiet Primary’ Includes Several Notable Races

Oregon held it’s very quiet primary last Tuesday with all of Oregon’s 25 presidential delegates up for grabs.  Here is a brief recap of the 2012 Oregon primary election results at the state and local level:

Notable Statewide Races

Attorney General

Editors Note: In the Anthem email that went out on 5/22/2012, it was incorrectly noted that Dwight Holton defeated Ellen Rosenblum. We apologize for any inconvenience, but the information stated here is correct.

  • Democratic Primary: (Dwight Holton vs. Ellen Rosenblum) – Ellen Rosenblum defeated Dwight Holton, 65 percent to 35 percent. While Rosenblum was expected to win, the overall percentage of victory was surprising.

Notable Legislative Races

Senate Districts

  • SD 27: Central Oregon Republican Primary (Tim Knopp vs. Sen. Chris Telfer) – Former House Majority Leader defeated sitting State Senator Chris Telfer, 68 percent to 31 percent. Knopp massively outspent Telfer and was expected to win. Many suspect Knopp will rise quickly among the Republican ranks, though Senate Republican leadership supported Telfer, which could make the situation next session interesting within the caucus. While Knopp has a challenger in the fall, there is some speculation the Democrats will attempt to replace the candidate with someone more viable.

While the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) has supported Telfer in the past, it also had a strong relationship with Knopp when he served in the legislature. The Association will be supporting Knopp in the general elections.

  • SD 28: Southern Oregon Republican Primary (Karl Scronce vs. Sen. Doug Whitsett) – Sen. Doug Whitsett defeated Karl Scronce, 74 percent to 26 percent. Scronce ran in the primary for the House last cycle against Bill Garrard. Whitsett’s wife was also running in the primary, and both were expected to win.

Whitsett has voted against credit union legislation in the past and did not receive any politcal action committee (PAC) money from the NWCUA in the primary.

  • SD 29: Eastern Oregon Republican Primary (Maryl Graybeal-Fetherstone vs. Bill Hansell) – Bill Hansell, a sitting County Commissioner, beat Maryl Graybeal-Fetherstone, a beer distributor, 61 percent to 39 percent. While Hansell, a credit union member with NWCUA support, was expected to win because of his name recognition within the district, he was heavily outspent by Graybeal-Fetherstone. The margin of victory was quite large given the disproportionate amount Graybeal-Fetherstone was able to spend. There is no Democrat filed in this district.

House Districts

  • HD 29: Western Washington County Democratic Primary (Katie Riley vs. Ben Unger) – Ben Unger, a former staffer for the Attorney General and Senate Democrats, defeated Katie Riley, the wife of former legislator Chuck Riley, by a margin of 66 percent to 34 percent. Unger will now face Rep. Katie Eyer. Riley ran in the race against Eyer in the last cycle but was heavily outspent by Unger. This district will be targeted by both sides in the fall and has a 6.5-percent advantage in registration for Democrats.

NWCUA contract lobbyist Pam Leavitt described this race as “one of the most competitive in the state.” The Association has supported Eyer in the past but is still in the process of choosing a candidate to back in the fall election.

  • HD 36: Southwest Portland Democratic Primary (Benjamin Barber vs. Sharon Meieran vs. Jennifer Williamson) – Jennifer Williamson, an employee from PacifiCorp supported by the NWCUA, defeated Sharon Meieran, an emergency room doctor, 53 percent to 44 percent. Another candidate in the race, Benjamin Barber, received just 2% of the vote.  While Meieran was the early favorite, Williamson, a credit union member, was able to gain a number of unexpected endorsements.  While Williamson will face Bruce Neal in the General Election, the district has a 42% registration advantage for Democrats meaning Williamson will replace Rep. Mary Nolan in this seat.
  • HD 47: Southeast Portland Democratic Primary (Thuy Tran vs. Jessica Vega Pederson vs. Andrew Haynes) – Jessica Vega Pederson defeated Thuy Tran, 48 percent to 41 percent. Another candidate in the race, Andrew Haynes, received 11 percent of the vote. Pederson will face Maggie Nelson in the primary, but with a 25-percent registration advantage, Pederson will almost certainly be the candidate who replaces Rep. Jefferson Smith, who is running for mayor.
  • HD 48: Outer-Southeast Portland Democratic Primary (Jeff Reardon vs. Rep. Mike Schaufler) – Jeff Reardon, a teacher, defeated incumbent Rep. Mike Schaufler, 66 percent to 34 percent. This was one of the most targeted House races during the primary. Schaufler was the only Democrat to vote against BM 66 and 67 and was viewed as one of the most business-friendly Democrats in the legislature. Reardon attacked Schaufler for a number of personal issues and the use of his campaign funds. There are concerns that Schaufler’s defeat could move the House Democrat caucus further to the left.

The NWCUA supported Schaufler in the primary but will back Reardon in the general election.

  • HD 52: Hood River/Clackamas County Democratic Primary (Marv Hollingsworth vs. Peter Nordbye) – Peter Nordbye defeated Marv Hollingsworth, 68 percent to 31 percent. Hollingsworth was the candidate selected for this seat to run against Rep. Mark Johnson. While Nordbye will only accept $50 per donor and only accepts funds from donors in the district, Hollingsworth’s campaign never got off the ground. With Nordbye in the race, Johnson is expected to coast to an easy victory, even though the seat has a 5-percent registration advantage for Democrats.
  • HD 56: Klamath Falls Republican Primary (Tracey Liskey vs. Gail Whitsett) – Gail Whitsett, wife of Sen. Doug Whitsett, defeated Tracey Liskey, a farmer, 53 percent to 47 percent. While Liskey is well-known in the district, the name recognition of the Whitsetts carried Gail Whitsett to victory. She does not have a challenger in the general election and will eventually replace Rep. Bill Garrard.

Credit unions in the Klamath Falls area have a strong relationship with Gail Whitsett and recommended the Association support her in the primary.

  • HD 58: Eastern Oregon Republican Primary (Jack Esp vs. Rep. Bob Jenson vs. Brent Smith vs. Eli Stephens) – Even though he had three challengers, Rep. Bob Jenson won the primary with 53 percent of the vote. Brent Smith received 29 percent, and Jack Esp and Eli Stephens each received 9 percent apiece. Although Jenson, whom the NWCUA has supported in the past, will face Heidi Van Schoonhoven in the general election, Jenson should have no problem winning re-election thanks to a 17-percent registration advantage.

Notable Local Races

Portland Mayor’s Race

  • Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith will face off in the November election for Portland mayor. Hales, a former city commissioner, came out ahead of Smith in the runoff, 38 percent to 29 percent, respectively. Eileen Brady, who raised significantly more funds than the other candidates, was knocked out of the race with approximately 24 percent of the vote.

Smith wrote a letter in Fall 2011 challenging the city of Portland to shift its public funds to credit unions and has deposited some of his campaign funds at an Oregon credit union. In a March interview, he showed a clear understanding of credit unions and their potential role in economic recovery, job growth and the establishment of more sustainable banking practices.

“With greater and greater consolidation in the banking industry, most of the money is banked in major institutions outside the state,” Smith said. “Despite that, still a majority of small-business lending is coming from local banks and credit unions. So, local institutions are punching above their weight class when it comes to small-business lending, and we know that most job growth comes from smaller businesses. There is a really important economic and jobs case that we need to make for banking locally.”


Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor: mhalvorson@nwcua.org.

Posted in NWCUA.