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Entries in Jefferson Smith (5)

Wednesday
May162012

Low Turnout Marks Primary Voting

Nearly seven of 10 registered Oregon voters saved postage and didn't vote in Tuesday's primary election that booted two legislative incumbents, dismissed the business community's favorite for mayor of Portland and effectively elected a new attorney general. Turnout was low despite a presidential primary in which the major nominees already had been chosen.

Even a spirited Portland mayoral race failed to spark voter interest in Multnomah County, as Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith finished atop a crowded field to fight on in November. New Seasons co-founder and establishment favorite Eileen Brady saw her early lead wilt away in the final days of the campaign.

Clackamas County became the test garden for Tea Party politics in Oregon as former Wilsonville Mayor John Ludlow emerged to challenge sitting Chair Charlotte Lehan this fall. Ludlow swept past previous conservative favorite Paul Savas, who will retain his seat on the Clackamas County Commission, and former House Speaker Dave Hunt, who finished a disappointing fourth. The same political tussle shapes up as Commissioner Jamie Damon faces conservative former House member Tootie Smith. Former Commissioner and state Senator Martha Schrader won her seat in Tuesday's election.

Women activists touted a number of key wins, led by Ellen Rosenblum's comfortable victory in the Democratic primary for attorney general over Dwight Holton. Despite marijuana laws strangely becoming a focal point in the campaign, Rosenblum should face only token Republican opposition in the general election after GOP operatives mounted a write-in campaign for James Buchal. Since Attorney General John Kroger plans to resign by this summer, it is possible Rosenblum will be appointed to fill out the rest of his term and run as the incumbent in November.

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Monday
May142012

Two Legislative Incumbents Face Primary Defeat

Two legislative incumbents could get the boot in Tuesday's primary election, and Democratic voters will effectively decide who will be the next Oregon attorney general. What happens in the tight Portland mayoral race is anyone's guess, including pollsters.

Democratic Rep. Mike Schaufler of Happy Valley and GOP Senator Chris Telfer of Bend face unusually tough challenges in their respective primaries, with some political observers and pollsters predicting both could lose.

Schaufler is being opposed by political newcomer Jeff Reardon, while Telfer faces a challenge from former House Majority Leader Tim Knopp. 

Schaufler's race, which has seen support thrown to Reardon by some of his House Democratic colleagues, is an example of what can happen when a political figure on the philosophical edge of his or her caucus gets entangled in a controversy. Schaufler was accused last year of groping a woman lobbyist at a labor convention, which resulted in him being stripped of his chairmanship of a key House committee.

Telfer's contest is somewhat similar, but aggravated by complaints that she didn't talk regularly to constituents or lobbyists. Knopp certainly offers more red-meat appeal to the conservative Republican base than Telfer. He also may have more statewide political appeal than Telfer, who ran unsuccessfully in 2010 for state treasurer.

In the attorney general's race, two Democrats, Dwight Holton and Ellen Rosenblum, are duking it out over who would be tougher on corporate criminals, deadbeat dads and marijuana users. Both have high-profile campaigns with top-level political endorsements. Whoever wins Tuesday will face only token opposition in the fall. Republicans failed to field a candidate, but are trying to mount a write-in campaign so there is at least somebody on the ballot in November. 

Since Attorney General John Kroger plans to leave office this summer to become president of Reed College, Governor Kitzhaber will be under pressure to appoint the winner of the Democratic primary to complete the rest of Kroger's term, allowing him or her to run this fall as the incumbent.

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Monday
Aug082011

New Leaders Emerge from 2011 Session

Here are House members the CFM state affairs team views as emerging leaders based on their performance in the 2011 Oregon legislative session:

  • Rep. Mark Johnson, R-Hood RiverRep. Mark Johnson, R-Hood River.  He was a virtual unknown coming to Salem after beating an incumbent Democratic member last November. His only previous government experience was chairing the Hood River School Board. Almost instantly, Johnson gained respect by legislators and lobbyists for his quick study, hard work and straightforward demeanor. He was a key behind-the-scenes player for the House GOP on education reform legislation. His success has been rewarded by being named co-chair of the interim House Higher Education Committee (just a subcommittee during the session). Many believe Johnson will be a key player on state education policy for years to come.
  • Rep. Val Hoyle, D-EugeneRep. Val Hoyle, D-Eugene.  2011 was Hoyle's first full session after being appointed to the House in late 2009. She is considered likable, smart and always fun to be around. For a new member, she made a big impact on her committees:  Business and Labor, Health Care and Higher Education. Republicans like her because of her business background and reputation as a straight shooter. She is in a safe Democratic seat, so she could serve for a long time. 

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Monday
Aug012011

Cool Schools Bill Passed – Now What?

Public schools around Oregon this summer are getting energy-efficient upgrades such as new windows and boilers, thanks to the so-called "Cool Schools" bill (House Bill 2960) the legislature passed this session. Governor Kitzhaber touted the program as a job-creation plan during his campaign, saying it would put to work hundreds of contractors who would install locally made, energy-efficient products in schools.

Governor Kitzhaber outlines Cool Schools projects that were "shovel ready" when he signed the bill in June.The politics behind the Cool Schools bill were remarkable. The bill was labeled as Governor Kitzhaber's initiative and championed by two young, progressive House Democrats from Portland, Reps. Jules Bailey and Jefferson Smith. By all accounts, Republicans had every right to be skeptical. But the bill sailed through the legislature, gaining unanimous votes in both chambers. By the time the bill passed the Senate, Republicans such as Rep. Tim Freeman of Roseburg had signed on as co-sponsors.

The bill directs the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) to issue low- or zero-interest loans to schools. School districts submit an application to ODOE outlining schools' needs, and ODOE issues the funds. The money schools save on lower energy bills should be more than enough to pay back the loans over time.

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Friday
Jul292011

The Post Session Shuffle, Part Two

Now that First District Congressman David Wu has announced his resignation, the talk has turned to the logistics of his replacement.

David WuOver at BlueOregon, Kari Chisholm has this lowdown on the process: The Constitution says that vacant House seats are resolved with a special election. There is no gubernatorial appointment, although the governor does set the date of the special election.  According to the Secretary of State, if the date Kitzhaber selects is more than 80 days out from the resignation, there would be a special primary and a special general election. If the date he selects is fewer than 80 days after the resignation, Democrats and Republicans select their nominees through party conventions, and voters decide in a special general election.

The Oregonian reported that Kitzaber said he will set a date that allows for "sufficient time for the secretary of state to call a special primary." In other words, more than 80 days out from when Wu actually resigns, which he hasn't yet.

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