MHCO Legislative Update - 2016 Oregon Legislative Election

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Political Lay of the Land for Oregon Business Community in 2016 - It is Not Pretty

IP28 – Business Tax Initiative will be the big driver of this year’s election.    May cost the business community $22 million to defeat.  Dilemma for business community is we may defeat IP28 but lose more seats in the Oregon House – in which case the Democrats would have a Super Majority and pass IP 28 in the 2017 Legislative Session.  They only need to pick up one more seat (flip a Republican seat to a Democrat) and they will have a super majority in both the House and Senate.  Financial resources will be tight because of IP28 – in the end the business community and the Republican caucus expect to only “fully fund” four or five of the House seats “in play”.  Priority will be to protect incumbents.

No one knows how the national ticket will impact Oregon Legislative races.  In the 2016 Oregon Primary Election Democrats turned out 66% of the vote, Republicans turned out 58% of the vote.   Democrats are also adding more voters than Republicans with the “motor voter” law that went into effect January 1, 2016.  If these trends continue in the General Election it could be a disaster for Republicans.

There are 60 House Seats and 15 Senate Seats up for Election this cycle.  Best outcome for this election cycle would be for Republicans to stop losing seats and start rebuilding their caucus in the House and Senate.  There is no expectation for the Republicans to regain control of either the House or Senate – top priority is to stop losing seats.

Oregon Senate

There are 15 Oregon Senate Seats up for election this year.  The Republicans have 8 seats and the Democrats have 7 Seats that are up for election.  Out of the 15 there are only three Senate seats considered in “play”.

  • SD 5 (South Coast – Tillamook, Lincoln City, Coos Bay) currently held by Democratic Senator Roblan.   Registration: 38% Dem, 30% Rep, Independent 6%, Other 26%. 


This is probably the Republicans best chance to “pick up” a seat this election cycle. 


Republican candidate is Dick Anderson, former mayor of Lincoln City.


Since January 1, 2016  “motor voter” has added 745 more Democrats than Republicans.


  • SD 25 (Gresham, Fairview, Wood Village, Troutdale) currently held by Democratic Senator Laurie Monnes-Anderson. Registration: 38% Dem, 26% Rep, 5% Independent, 31% Other.


Unlikely that Republicans will pick up this seat.


Republican candidate is Tamie Tlustos-Arnold (and yes that is the correct spelling of her name ….)


Since January 1, 2016 “motor voter” has added 1,798 more Democrats than Republicans.


  • SD 27 (Bend, Redmond, Sunriver) currently held by Republican Senator Tim Knopp.  This district recently added 2,864 more Democrats since Jan 1, 2016.    This was enough to change the district from Republican to Democratic plurality of voters.  Registration: 34% Dem, 32% Rep, 7% Independent, 27% Other.


This is a big worry for the Senate Republican caucus and the business community.  Over the past 10 years, Bend has become more Democratic.  A loss here would be a huge blow to the business community.  It remains a real possibility.


Democratic candidate is Greg Delgado. 


Senate Summary:  Picking up the south coast Senate seat would be a much needed win – one that Republicans have not had in several election cycles.  Historically, Presidential election years are not kind to Oregon Republicans.  Other wise it looks like a status quo election in the Senate that with the Democrats maintaining control with the same landlord vs. tenant coalitions that have existed in the Senate for the past two sessions.  That may be good news for landlords but the margin is very, very narrow.


Oregon House


All House Seats are up for election.  There are 9 open “Democratic” seats (retired Democrat) and 4 open “Republican” seats (Republican retired). 


Of the 60 seats up for election in the House only 11 seats are considered competitive. 


  • HD 11 (Creswell, SW Eugene, Brownsville, south Lebanon) – currently held by Democrat Phil Barnhart.  Republicans considered have a strong candidate in Joe Potwora.  Possible pick up for Republicans.  Registration: 40% Democrat, 31% Republican, 5% Independent, Other 24%.


  • HD 20 (West Salem) – Currently held by Democrat Paul Evans.  Republicans consider possible pick up.   This was a close election in 2014 in a historically Republican seat.   Rep Evans is a hard worker but Republicans hope to win back this seat.  Registration: 36% Democrat, 35% Republican, 5% Independent, 24% Other.


  • HD 22 (Keizer, Hayesville, Woodburn) – currently held by Democrat Betty Komp.  Republican Patti Milne vs. Democrat Teresa Alonso Leon.  Republicans always say this district is in play but they never win it.  Open seat this time. Registration: 37% Democrat, 26% Republican, 5% Independent, 32% Other.


  • HD 24  (McMinnville, Carlton, Yamhill, Hillsboro) – currently held by Republican Jim Weidner.  Republican candidate Ron Noble.  Targeted by Democrats as a possible pick up.  Registration: 33% Democrat, 35% Republican, 5% Independent, 27% Other.


  • HD 30 (Hillsboro, North Plains, Intel Country)  - currently held by Democrat Joe Gallegos.  Republican candidate is Dan Mason, Democratic candidate is Janeen Sollman. Registration: 36% Democrat, 27% Republican, 5% Independent, 32% Other.


  • HD 32 (Clatsop and Tillamook Counties) – Currently held by Democrat Deborah Boone.  Republicans have considered to have a strong candidate in Bruce Bobek. We have supported Deborah in the past. Registration: 38% Democrat, 30% Republican, 5% Independent, 27% Other.


  • HD 37  (Tualatin, West Linn) – currently held by Republican Julie Parrish.  Another friend of MHCO and strongly opposed to rent control.  We have supported Julie in the past.  Registration: 37% Democrat, 34% Republican, 5% Independent, 24% Other.


  • HD 40 (Gladstone, Oregon City) – currently held by Democrat Brent Barton.   Republicans are hoping to pick up this seat. Republican candidate is Evon Tekorius.  Registration: 38% Democrat, 30% Republican, 5% Indpendent, 27% Other


  • HD 51 (Happy Valley, Damascus) – currently held by Shemia Fagan.  Republicans consider this a possible pick up.  Republican candidate is Lori Chavey-DeRemer.  Democrat is Janelle Bynum.   Registration: 36% Democrat, 29% Republican, 4% Independent, 30% Other.


  • HD 52 (Sandy, Government Camp, Parkdale, Cascade Locks) – currently held by Republican Mark Johnson.  Targeted by Democrats as a possible pick up.  A lot of angst in the business community that we could lose this seat.  Registration: 36% Democrat, 31% Republican, 5% Independents, 28% Other.


  • HD 54 (Bend) – currently held by Republican Knute Buehler.  Targeted by Democrats as a possible pick up.  Registration: 36% Democrat, 29% Republican, 7% Independent, 28% Other.


House Summary:  If all Republican candidates prevail in the 2016 General Election, regardless of who wins in the other “open” seats we would pick up several more potential votes against rent control.  However, if Republicans lose any incumbent seats the Democrats would most likely have a “super majority” which would be devastating for landlords and business.  Much depends on Republican incumbents holding on to their seats in November 2016.   Picking up a one or two "open" Democratic seats would give us some much need breathing room.


In the meantime – a long brutal campaign! 






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