First Thoughts on the Election Returns

The results board at the Senate Democrats' election night party gave an early hint at a shift of power.November 2 was full of surprises. Close races, surprise upsets and easy victories marked this election.

Although Republican Chris Dudley's gubernatorial lead stands at 15,000 votes, it won't last and John Kitzhaber will be elected governor.  Around 65,000 Multnomah County ballots remain to be counted.  Kitzhaber is winning Multnomah County by roughly 70% of the vote, with Dudley at 28%.   If this margin stays consistent, it will be a net pick up of around 26,000 votes for Kitzhaber.  A smattering of votes are coming in from other counties (including liberal Lane County), but Multnomah will decide this election.  The final tally should give Kitzhaber a win by 5,000 to 15,000 votes.

The other bigs news is an Oregon Legislature tied at 30-30 in the House and 15-15 in the Senate.  Some late GOP pick ups in Clackamas County evened out legislative control.  This is unprecedented and will most likely require a "coalition" government to operate next session in Salem.  We expect this means extensive power-sharing of possibly leadership posts, and key committees such as Ways and Means, Revenue, Business, Health Care and Environment.

The results will have an impact on redistricting, health care reform and a host of other initiatives slated for consideration in the 2011 session.