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Entries in Chris Harker (1)

Thursday
Aug182011

Special Election Could Tumble Legislative Dominos

The legislature’s 2012 session is more than five months away, but already legislative leaders are making contingency plans for a possible shake-up in control and session management, hinging on who might prevail in the special election to replace Congressman Dave Wu.

Governor John Kitzhaber set January 31, 2012 as the special election date when the party nominees will square off, the day before the legislature convenes. If one of the sitting legislators running for Wu's seat wins, it could trip a series of changes that upset the balance of power in the Oregon Senate and House. Currently, Democrats hold a 16-14 margin in the Senate. The House is tied 30-30 with shared control by Democrats and Republicans.

Senator Suzanne Bonamici, D-PortlandDemocratic Senator Suzanne Bonamici is in a pretty good place to win the race.  A widely respected member from Beaverton, she is the only woman in the race for a district that hasn’t elected a Republican since 1972.

If Bonamici wins January 31, she would resign her state Senate seat to head to Washington, D.C. (Nancy Pelosi won’t let a new member linger in Oregon too long). That would shrink Senate Democratic control to a 15-14 margin until a replacement could be appointed, a process that could take about three weeks at best.  In other words, most of the shortened session.

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