Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Race of the Day- Oregon U.S. Senate

Oregon U.S. Senate

62 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2016 Presidential Result: Blue State (West)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

It was still less than 30 years ago that Oregon had two Republicans representing it in the U.S. Senate. These were moderates though, even by the standards then, and as the GOP spent some time moving to the right, Oregon has moved to the left and it is very hard to imagine a Republican succeeding at the federal level statewide. In fact, Republicans have often been hopeful of regaining the Governorship, but have fallen short each time, as Democrats have dominated at that level too.

In many ways, Oregon is two states, with a conservative rural eastern region and liberal areas along the coast. Portland has seen nightly protests for months now along with incidents of arson and violence. The Trump campaign does not have any hope of wining Oregon, but hopes they can use the situation in that "Democrat run city" to gain the votes of swing voters in swing states.

Jeff Merkley is someone who was making moves towards a Presidential run, but with so many Democrats in the field, including many of his Senate colleagues, he decided his best course of action was to seek a third term. That was almost certainly the right decision and Merkley will have to be content with his ever growing seniority in the Senate. At least he does not have worry too much about this general election.

Anybody with a hint of past political success or name recognition among Oregon Republicans took a pass on this race. The May primary featured six little known candidates but the biggest news came immediately after the primary result. To the extent that there was an "establishment" pick among those running, it was Jo Rae Perkins, an insurance agent  who had been Chair of the Linn County Republican Party. She had also lost Republican primaries for Congress in '14,'16, and '18. The new decade though saw her succeed among Republicans, taking 49 percent of the vote, while her closest competitor,  refrigeration technician Paul Romero, whom himself had lost GOP primaries the last two cycles, took 30 percent.

In her moment of triumph, Perkins addressed her supporters and outed herself as a proponent of the Q Anon Movement. This was apparently not something she had been keeping a secret, but still, most voters had no real idea. This might have come as a surprise to many of her voters and donors and while she had no realistic chance of beating Merkely, suddenly her entire campaign was a symbol of Republican embarrassment nationwide. The immediate firestorm led to her campaign staff try to do damage control or minimize her belief in the theories of online conspiracy fanatics but she pretty much has confirmed she is totally with "Q" and Trump and has taken various oaths to prove it. Since her nomination, other Republicans who have stated the support Q Anon have been nominated for the U.S. House, and one in Georgia, who won a runoff is heavily favored to win in November, creating quite a headache for the GOP leaders there. These folks believe a lot of truly wacky things, including that there is a cabal of Satan worshiping pedophiles controlling the U.S. government and only Donald Trump is able to stop them, which he is working to do behind the scenes. Recently, when given a chance to denounce this group, which the FBI has labeled as a potential domestic terrorist threat, Trump came from closer to encouraging them in their beliefs.

At the least, Republican Senate leaders will not have to worry about one of them in the Upper Chamber. Merkely will almost certainly have his biggest win yet. Six years ago, he won by 19 points against a female Republican opponent, whom at one point in the campaign had been seen as a potential winner. She merely had to deal with stories about harassing her exes. and has since left politics to return to her career in medicine, where things likely make more sense these days.

U.S. Senate races predicted thus far:

14 D (5 Safe, 3 Likely, 3 Lean, 3 Tossup) 
13 R (4 Safe, 4 Likely, 3 Lean, 2 Tossup)

Total with predictions thus far:

49 Democrats (35 holdovers, 5 Safe, 3 Likely, 3 Lean, 3 Tossup)
43 Republicans (30 holdovers, 4 Safe, 4 Likely, 3 Lean, 2 Tossup)


Post a Comment

<< Home