Election Night Will Bring Changes

Secretary of State Kate Brown predicts 72 percent of registered voters will participate in Tuesday's election, the highest turnout in a non-presidential election in 20 years. Pundits are predicting some surprises in the state races, and no one knows what to predict in the gubernatorial race, which is polling as one of the closest races in Oregon's history.

Election night will bring surprises. Incumbents will lose their seats, and parties will prevail in districts where a majority of voters are registered the other way.

After the votes are tallied, the new legislature will get to work preparing for the 2011 session. New members will get committee assignments. Senate and House members will elect their leadership - House Speaker, Senate President, Majority and Minority Leaders.

The new governor will have just two months to put IN PLACE A NEW ADMINISTRATION. He'll have to submit a budget to the legislature in, BY LAW, ON FEBRUARY 1, decide how to staff state agencies, and choose a cabinet.

Races to watch:

The Governor's race: Every poll has the two leading candidates, Chris Dudley and John Kitzhaber, within mere percentage points. Watch for this race to be decided by a few thousand votes.

Congressional District 5: Democrat Kurt Schrader is a one-term incumbent, and Republican challenger Scott Bruun is putting up a fight. Polls have shown both candidates in the lead by wide margins, SO NO ONE IS SURE WHAT TO EXPECT.

Senate District 3 (Ashland/Medford): Incumbent Democrat Alan Bates COULD WIN on the strength of the Ashland vote in a district that is otherwise Republican. Dave Dotterer, a Republican from Ashland, BELIEVES HE IS POISED FOR an upset.

Senate District 8 (Albany): Incumbent Republican Frank Morse is a well-respected leader in a district where voter registration is increasingly in the Democrats' favor. Dan Rayfield could pull OFF AN UPSET win for the Democrats.

Senate District 15 (Hillsboro): Incumbent Republican Bruce Starr is being challenged by Chuck Riley, a Democrat House Representative. The polls are close and both candidates are well-known in the district.

Senate District 20 (Canby/Oregon City): Incumbent Democrat Martha Schrader is the wife of Congressman Kurt. If one Schrader goes down, could they both? Republican challenger Alan Olson hopes so.

Senator District 26 (Mt. Hood/Clackamas): Long-time Senator Rick Metsger, a Democrat, is retiring, opening up a seat with a Republican registration edge. House Representative Brent Barton, a young Democrat from Clackamas, is facing Republican Chuck Thomsen, a long-serving Hood River County Commissioner. This is a tight race where each candidate is better-known in one half of the district.

House District 24 (Yamhill): One-term incumbent Jim Weidner is being challenged by local vintner Susan Sokol Blosser.

House District 29 (Hillsboro): Rep. Chuck Riley opted to run against Bruce Starr for the Senate seat, so his wife Katie Riley is facing Republican Katie Brewer in this barn-burner. Recent polls show Brewer leading, which would be a change of party for the district.

House District 30 (Hillsboro): Rep. David Edwards, a Democrat, decided after the Primary not to seek re-election, leaving the Democrats scrambling to find a candidate to run against Republican SHAWN Lindsay. But even with his head start, Lindsay is neck-and-neck with Doug Ainge.

House District 37 (West Linn): Republican Rep. Scott Bruun is challenging Kurt Schrader for Congress, leaving his House seat open. Will Rasmussen won the Democrat primary, while the Republican nominee dropped out. Julie Parrish was the surprise pick from the REPUBLICAN nominating committee, and she's mounted a serious campaign.

House District 49 (Troutdale): One-term Rep. Nick Kahl won the seat for the Democrats when high-powered Republican and former House Speaker Karen Minnis stepped down in 2008. Now Troutdale City Councilor Matt Wand is trying to win back the seat for the Republicans.

House District 50 (Gresham): Democrat Greg Matthews defeated incumbent Republican John Lim in a 2008 surprise. Now Andre Wang is mounting a challenge to win back this seat for the Republicans.

House District 51 (Clackamas): Incumbent Democrat Brent Barton is running for the Senate just one term after taking this seat away from the Republicans. Democrat Cheryl Meyers and Republican Patrick Sheehan are duking it out to replace Barton.

House District 52 (Hood River/ Mt. Hood): Rep. Suzanne VanOrman, a Democrat, won this open seat in 2008 after years of Republican domination. Mark Johnson, a Republican, is a strong challenger.

House District 53 (Bend): This is another seat that changed parties in 2008. Incumbent Democrat Judy Stiegler watched her husband lose his position as District Attorney in May's election. Republican Jason Conger LEADS Steigler in the polls.