Friday, May 19, 2006

Final Election Recap

I say "final" because if Sten still wins and Cornett still loses and Read still wins and Boyles doesn't morbidly fascinate her way to 5,000 more votes, we probably won't mention it when it's officially official. It's generally regarded as bad form to un-concede, and Ginny got hers out of the way quickly Tuesday morning as we reported earlier. Plus as one of our commenters pointed out, 3,500 votes isn't going to change a whole lot. It's not like American Idol, where out of an amazing 50 million votes yesterday, less than 7/10ths of a percent separated top from bottom. The gaps are pretty big in even the closest races, and there just aren't enough votes to swing the tide all the way. It's possible, but not likely.

So Sten tops out right around 50.5%. Comparing him directly to Saltzman's 57% or so, he doesn't fare so well. But Sten had by far the more challenging field, and had the tougher record to defend. And then there's this: failed VOE Saltzman gadfly Lucinda Tate, not mentioned hardly at all in the media--3%. Failed VOE Sten gadfly Emilie Boyles, treated in the press as the columnist's gift that keeps on giving, and (rightly) savaged as a total loon--6%. Will the people who voted for her admit it to the press? How many husbands filled out all the ballots for their family, I wonder?

You can't tell me that having a thoroughly erratic woman blaming him for everything from Peak Oil to Lyme disease, with the press smirking as they scribbled, didn't take an electoral toll on Erik Sten--the guy who gave her $150,000. He made some of his own troubles, but it should be said he fairly withstood all comers and did it on $200,000, beholden to no one for more than 5 bucks (OK, a few $100 seed money people).

So the guy's earned the right to poke his finger into a few chests around town and tell them to sit down. Not that he'll do that directly, but Sten can be cocky, and isn't afraid to name names and describe deeds. He is entirely unselfconscious about his successes, and while electorally speaking it's not his strongest showing by any means, it's probably his greatest success as a candidate. If I had control of his hand I'd blow it up real big like a balloon and knock the PBA's whole fucking building over--"you cannot have City Hall for your own, yo."

Burdick (before giving up) said that 55% (50%) of Portland didn't want Sten. Well, we've got the 70+% who didn't want Burdick to thank, for keeping the PBA's barons from controlling the City trough for periodic feeds. (Dave Lister knew it; that's why he said he'd back Sten in a runoff.) Everyone's talking about Diane Linn getting utterly repudiated--what about Ginny? She had strong name recognition, a well qualified resume', the backing of an influential community, and money in $5K and $10K chunks. And she couldn't clear 30%. We may bicker about how we want our Democrats, but in Portland we can agree that we don't want them shilling for PGE and Qwest.

The sorrows are abounding over Jesse Cornett's loss, with a lot of handwringing about wanting to do more. His friends are doing the Schindler thing: "This watch! This watch could have bought 10 more yard signs! 10 beautiful Cornett mylar yard signs--WITH the holes in them to protect against the wind! And these earrings...1,000 postcards to swing voters in Hillsdale! I could have done more!" Now THERE is a guy who put together a campaign on a shoestring in a hurry, and made it sing. Your time will come, Jesse.

Gotta love the runoff for Multno Commissioner. Frederick was not supposed to be in it, but he's done a fine job to match up against Cogen and his insider might.

I've already said it, but thanks for the headlines Diane. It's OK to hit the sauce for a while, but if you're not getting up until 4pm most days six weeks from now, call me. Ted Wheeler struck me as an earnest, decent guy. I think he'll actually turn things around fairly quickly. Lord knows he's starting with a nice honeymoon.

Steve Duin wants you to know
this was a great primary for Ben Westlund, on the developing premise that low turnout means disaffected voters means people looking for an ex-Republican independent who's not yet in the race. Yet he's facing the majority party incumbent who has led without major scandal in a rebounding economy, in what is shaping up to be a very favorable national political environment for his party, and he's got plenty of money. The deck is stacked not only against Ben, but also Saxton in this race. I don't by any means suggest he can't lose, but when tradesports has him at 66 to win, that tells me he opens as good money, which is NOT good news for Ben, obviously. (If you don't know about these kinds of sites, they turn out to be pretty darn accurate--anything over 50 means better than even money the named event will happen.)

I think Ben was actually hurt a little, having to run to the left of Saxton, who will doubtless push himself back leftward now that the primary's over, and go back to being the Portland lawyer and school board guy. There will be a push towards the center for both. With Mannix, Westlund would have a clear position to stake out on the ideological spectrum in the race. He could play tetherball in the space left between Mannix and the center. But with Saxton, that gap is much smaller. Meanwhile, Kulo is pushed by who...the Greens? My advice to Ben: make the ballot first (or at least tell me you have 30,000 collected), then talk about your momentum.

I was disappointed that Hallman didn't do better for OSC, but Linder is a qualified candidate, and should get most of Hallman's votes. I'm not as dogmatic about the value of "having a woman on the Court," but it's certainly not a negative.

Alexis Dow got booted as Metro Auditor; sounds like it was time for a change, and time for Multno County's great assessor to take the job. When those allegations hit the papers, that was it for her.

Tina Kotek won big in her race--another victory for an openly gay candidate. It passed almost entirely without notice, which is a great thing.

And to Gordon Leitch, better luck next time. I'd be happy to consult on your next campaign, and I'll only charge you $500 for the whole time--as long as you pay me in those 20 dollar gold coins. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Feel free to chat about other races in the comments, if you're not ready to look ahead to November.