June 4, 2010 Volume 111 Number 11

Primary election results: Kitzhaber vs Dudley for Oregon governor

John Kitzhaber cruised to an easy victory in the May 18 Democratic primary election, defeating challenger Bill Bradbury 65 percent to 29 percent.

Kitzhaber, who served as Oregon’s 35th governor from 1995 to 2003, was endorsed by most of labor (including the Oregon AFL-CIO and Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council), but not all. Bradbury, a former secretary of state, had support from most of the state’s teachers’ and classified employees’ unions.

Kitzhaber will face Republican political newcomer Chris Dudley in November. Dudley captured 39 percent of the vote in a nine-person primary. Allen Alley finished second with 32 percent of the vote, while former Republican gubernatorial nominee and union foe Bill Sizemore garnered just 8 percent.

Dudley played basketball for the Portland Trail Blazers and is a former player’s union rep and secretary of the National Basketball Players Association.

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski is term limited after eight years in office.

The statewide voter turnout was 41 percent. Republicans voted at a 50 percent rate. Democrats voted at a 45 percent clip, while independents and minor party members came in at 26 percent.

In statewide contested races where the AFL-CIO had an endorsed candidate:

  • Susan Castillo was expected to win a third term as superintendent of public instruction. At press time, she was clinging to a 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent lead over Republican State Rep. Ron Maurer of Grants Pass, in the non-partisan race. The state has until June 7 to finish counting ballots.
  • Congressman David Wu outpolled David Robinson 81 percent to 18 percent in the Democratic primary in House District 1. Wu will face Rob Cornilles in November.
  • In the State Senate, incumbent Rod Monroe defeated two Democratic challengers in District 24. He will take on Republican nominee Rob Wheeler in November.
  • In the State House, Democratic Rep. Tina Kotek turned back challenger Richard Ellmyer, capturing 85 percent of the vote in District 44. In Pendleton’s District 58, State Rep. Bob Jenson defeated Michael Mathisen in the Republican primary, 52 percent to 48 percent. He will face Democratic nominee Pete Wells in November.

The Oregon AFL-CIO didn’t take a position in the state treasurer’s race, which pitted labor-friendly Ted Wheeler (former Multnomah County chair) against State Sen. Rick Metsger. However, both candidates ran with endorsements from various local unions or building trades councils. Wheeler won the election with 65 percent of the vote. He will face Sen. Chris Telfer (R-Bend) in November; Telfer ran unopposed in the GOP primary.

In the Portland metro area, the Northwest Oregon Labor Council had a decent night, with eight of its 11 endorsed candidates either winning outright or making it to a November runoff.

Most city and county races are non-partisan, and if no candidate wins a majority in the primary, voters pick between the top two in November.

Portland city commissioners Nick Fish and Dan Saltzman won re-election. Fish outpolled three lesser-known challengers, with 80 percent of the vote. Saltzman surprised many by capturing 55 percent of the vote and winning outright in an eight-person race.

In Multnomah County, Jeff Cogen beat out two candidates for county chair, with 78 percent of the vote. Cogen, a former chief-of-staff for Saltzman, was first elected to the county board in 2006. In March, he was appointed by fellow commissioners to replace Chair Ted Wheeler, who accepted a governor’s appointment to serve as state treasurer following the death of Ben Westlund.

NOLC’s choice to succeed Cogen in District 2 — Tom Markgraf — was not successful. Markgraf finished third (14 percent) behind Karol Collymore (36 percent) and Loretta Smith (18 percent).

Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton grabbed 79 percent of the vote in winning two elections. He will finish the unexpired term of the former sheriff, then, in 2011, he’ll start a full four-year term as sheriff.

In Clackamas County, incumbent Commissioner Jim Bernard won another term in office, with 55 percent of the vote.

In Washington County, labor-backed Commissioner Dick Schouten lost his bid for County Chair to fellow Commissioner Andy Duyck. Duyck received 54 percent of the vote in the three-person race. Schouten was second with 39 percent. Schouten still has two-and-a-half years left in his term on the commission.

At Metro, NOLC-endorsed Rex Burkholder finished third in a three-way race for president of the regional government. Burkholder, a Metro councilor, garnered 28 percent of the vote, not enough to outpoll former Hillsboro mayor Tom Hughes (37 percent), or environmental activist Bob Stacey (35 percent).

Incumbent Metro councilor Kathryn Harrington won re-election in District 4 with 69 percent of the vote. Oregon AFL-CIO Political Director Duke Shepard didn’t do as well in District 1, but he did make it to a November run-off with a second place finish behind Shirley Craddick. Craddick, a Gresham city councilor, received 47 percent of the vote to Shepard’s 22 percent.

In the open race for mayor of Salem, Marion-Polk-Yamhill Counties Labor Council candidate Chuck Bennett, a Salem city councilor, was defeated by Anna Peterson 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent. Bennett’s term on the City Council doesn’t expire until December 2012, so he will continue serving

Voters defeated labor-endorsed Measure 24-292, which called for changing the form of Marion County government, adopting a home rule charter, and increasing the number of commissioners from three to five. It lost soundly, 77 percent to 23 percent.

In Yamhill County, labor-backed Kris Bledsoe lost her challenge against incumbent County Commissioner Kathy George, 53 percent to 46 percent.

In Eugene-Springfield, former Lane County Labor Council secretary-treasurer and longtime AFSCME member Pat Riggs-Henson finished second in a seven-person race for Lane County commissioner. She will face winner Sid Leiken, mayor of Springfield, in November. Riggs-Henson picked up 28 percent of the vote to Leiken’s 41 percent. The two are vying to replace retiring Commissioner Bill Dwyer.

The Oregon AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education is meeting June 4 (after this issue went to press) to consider endorsements for the general election, including races for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, State Senate, State House and any ballot measures.

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