By Taylor W. Anderson

The Bulletin

Hillary Clinton has about the same chance to win Oregon on Election Day as President Barack Obama did at this point in 2012, according to new polling released Tuesday by Portland news station KPTV.

She holds a 7-point lead over Republican Donald Trump, according to the poll by DHM Research, released seven days before the election. The poll was conducted Oct. 25-29.

In fundraising emails to supporters, Trump’s campaign considers it likely Oregon’s seven electoral votes will go to Clinton.

A week away from the 2012 election, Obama was leading Mitt Romney by the same margin, with the same margin of error in a poll by the same firm. Obama ended up winning Oregon by 12 percentage points.

That same year, Democrats took control of both chambers in the Legislature and haven’t relinquished it. They now control 35 of 60 seats in the House and 18 of 30 in the Senate.

Democrats haven’t lost a statewide race in 14 years, and voters haven’t elected a Republican governor since 1982.

The poll showed Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has a comfortable 9 percentage-point lead over Republican challenger Bud Pierce. The two are running to finish the remaining two years of John Kitzhaber’s fourth term, which he vacated in February 2015

While Democrats are poised to retain the governor’s mansion, Republicans are knocking on the door of the Secretary of State’s Office for the first time in three decades.

Secretary of state

Republican Dennis Richardson maintains a 5-point lead over Democrat Brad Avakian, though there’s still a sizable chunk of undecided voters for the two to win over.

The KPTV poll showed Richardson leading Avakian 32 percent to 27 percent. The poll noted 32 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of Republicans are undecided.

Richardson challenged Kitzhaber for governor in 2014, losing by nearly 6 percentage points. He was a six-term representative from Central Point. Avakian has served as the state’s labor commissioner since 2008. He was a state senator and representative from Washington County from 2003 through 2008.

Measure 97

The DHM Research poll was the latest in a string of polling that shows support waning for Ballot Measure 97, the $3 billion annual tax hike on big businesses in Oregon.

The poll showed support at 40 percent, down from 60 percent in September. Polling at the time indicated voters were more reluctant to support the measure when they learned details about it.

Measure 97 is a 2.5 percent tax on gross sales above $25 million a year. Supporters, backed by public employee unions, say the revenue would help improve the state’s schools, health care and senior services, which are all largely funded by the state’s general fund budget.

Opponents say businesses subject to the tax would pass on the added costs, and that the money would be a blank check to the Legislature. Both sides have made Measure 97 the most expensive in Oregon history.


Little public polling exists in legislative races in Oregon’s remaining swing districts, but campaign spending gives insight into races political parties view as this year’s battlegrounds for the makeup of the 2017-18 Legislature.

In Bend’s House District 54, Republican Rep. Knute Buehler has been a top fundraiser in his re-election bid against Democrat Gena Goodman-Campbell. Democrats have hoped to use the power of the White House to help Goodman-Campbell in her race against Buehler, with national Democrats saying President Obama favored Goodman-Campbell in the race.

That seat is the only one east of the Cascade Mountains considered competitive, but Democrats, Republicans and Independents are fighting over a cluster of seats in the western third of the state.

House Republicans are hoping to capture an open Portland-area seat, with the party’s campaign arm pumping money into the campaign of Lori Chavez-DeRemer, mayor of the town of Happy Valley in House District 51. Democrats, meanwhile are supporting business owner Janelle Bynum, another Obama pick, national Democrats said. The race has become the most expensive legislative race.

Democrats are defending Rep. Paul Evans, of Monmouth, in a tight race. The incumbent, who first won in 2014, faces Republican Laura Morett, a Salem resident who appeared on two seasons of the reality TV show “Survivor.” Evans has collected nearly $503,000 in his re-election bid. Morett has raised $290,000.

Senate Democrats were forced to defend a seat after the death of Alan “Doc” Bates, a Medford doctor who died while fishing in August. Democrats selected Medford attorney Tonia Moro, who has attracted $484,000 in cash and other donations. Alan DeBoer, the former mayor of Ashland and Republican in the race, has reported raising $591,000. The district leans Democratic, and Bates won it in 2014 by 7 percentage points.

Republicans are also trying to pick off the coastal seat held by Democratic Sen. Arnie Roblan. He and Republican Dick Anderson, former Lincoln City mayor and current Lincoln City councilor, are battling over the seat Roblan has held since 2013. Roblan was a state representative from Coos Bay from 2005 to ’13. The district leans Democratic.

Democrats have the edge in most swing districts, but the number of voters who align with no party is large enough to swing any race.

Lawmakers from both parties say they want to pass a transportation package next session, which begins in February. Paying for road funding typically involves raising the state gas tax, a vote that requires at least 36 votes in the House and 18 in the Senate.

Other races in the mix:

House District 30: an open Washington County seat that leans Democratic formerly held by Rep. Joe Gallegos, a Democrat who is retiring.

House District 24: an open Yamhill County seat that leans Republican formerly held by retiring Republican Rep. Jim Weidner.

House District 26: an open Portland metro area seat formerly held by Republican Rep. John Davis, who is retiring.

House District 23: a Willamette Valley seat held by incumbent Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Polk County, who is facing a challenge by Independent Party candidate and former Republican Rep. Jim Thompson.

House District 22: an open Willamette Valley seat that leans Democratic and was held by Democratic Rep. Betty Komp, who is retiring.

House District 40: the seat opened when Democratic Rep. Brent Barton, of Clackamas County, announced he was retiring. Democrats have a registration edge in the district.

House District 37: Republican Rep. Julie Parrish, of West Linn, is being challenged by Democrat and attorney Paul Southwick.

Senate District 25: incumbent Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, a three-term Democrat from Gresham, is being challenged for her seat by Republican Tamie Tlustos-Arnold, a Fairview City councilor. The Portland-area seat leans Democratic.

— Reporter: 406-589-4347,

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