Oregon continued its run of backing Democrats for President that dates back to when “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys was the No. 1 song in the country.
The electoral map of Oregon took on its usual hues: The population centers around the Portland metro area and a stretch from Eugene northwest through Corvallis to the coast around Newport went for Democrat Joe Biden, who won the state and the national election.
President Donald Trump retained Eastern and Southern Oregon as strongholds of Republican red on the map, running up victories from Pendleton and Hermiston to Klamath Falls and Coos Bay.
In the far northwest corner of the state, Astoria and Clatsop County went for the Democrat, as per usual in recent races.
But neighboring Tillamook and Columbia counties stuck with President Trump, after both flipping in 2016 following two consecutive wins by Democrat Barack Obama.
But the biggest — if not unexpected — flip could be seen on the map as a blue bulge running east out of the Cascades. Deschutes County unambiguously gave the Democrat the majority of its votes for president for the first time since Beatlemania swept the nation.
Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno has until Dec. 3 to announce final voting totals.
But with many counties already reporting official, final results, the remaining votes are a tiny fraction of the turnout. It’s safe to see how the election went in Oregon. Some of the numbers:
Blue streak: Biden kept the streak of Democrats’ presidential wins in Oregon alive for another four years. The state last went with a Republican in 1984, when Ronald Reagan won a second term in the White House.
More votes, same result: Trump increased his total vote in Oregon in 2020, with 955,842 votes as Friday. That’s up from 782,403 votes four years ago. But the extra votes only lifted Trump’s percentage of the vote slightly — to 40.36% in 2020 from 39.09% in 2016.
Bigger bite: Biden has received 1,337,329 votes, a big jump over the 1,002,106 votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Both numbers were big enough to beat Trump, but Biden’s total gave him just over 56% of the vote in 2020, bettering Clinton’s 50.07% of the vote in 2016.
Deschutes goes Democratic: Deschutes County issued its final vote totals on Friday. It’s a landmark result in the presidential vote. Biden won just under 52.7% of the presidential vote in Deschutes County. It marks the first time the county gave over half its votes to a Democratic candidate for the White House since Lyndon Johnson won 69% over Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964. Trump won the county in 2016 with 46.4% over 43.1% for Clinton. This year, Trump won 44.3% of the vote. Minor party candidates and write-in votes accounted for the final 2.9% of the returns. In 1964, Deschutes County cast a total of 10,095 votes in the presidential election. The 2020 total: 125,234. The total Deschutes County vote in 1964 is 221 votes less than Biden’s margin of victory — 10,316 votes — over Trump in 2020.
Flipper: Most of the approximately 3,000 counties in the United States voted for the same party’s candidate as in 2016. Deschutes County was one of 5 9 counties to flip from Trump in 2016 to Biden, according to a national vote analysis by National Public Radio. Another 18 flipped from Clinton in 2016 to Trump in 2020. The 77 counties that flipped were a pittance compared to the last presidential election. In 2016, 237 counties changed parties from how they voted in 2012. Trump won 216 counties that went for Obama in 2012. In Oregon, Tillamook and Columbia counties made the switch to Trump. Both counties stuck with Trump this year.
Purplish: Between 1964 and 2020, Deschutes County gave the largest number of its presidential votes to a Democrat twice, though never more than half the ballots cast, and once not even close to it. Jimmy Carter won the county 48.9% to 46.7% over President Gerald Ford in 1976. Most of the remaining votes went to independent Eugene McCarthy, the former Democratic U.S. senator from Minnesota, who was running as more liberal than Carter. Democrat Bill Clinton came out on top in Deschutes County in 1992, but he got a lot of help. Clinton won Deschutes County with 35.73% of the vote to 35.65% for President George H.W. Bush. The margin: 38 votes. The difference maker? Independent Ross Perot, who won 27.99% of the county vote.
Old record: Best turnout in 48 years. The 2016 election that led to Donald Trump becoming president saw a record 136 million ballots cast nationwide, a 59% turnout of eligible voters, the most since Richard Nixon was elected in 1968 with 60.7% turnout.
New record: Best turnout in 120 years. NPR projected there would be 155 million votes cast in 2020. That would equal a turnout of 67% of eligible voters, the highest percentage since 73% of voters cast ballots in 1900 to elect Republican William McKinley over Democrat William Jennings Bryan. Women could not vote until 1920, and “Jim Crow” segregationist laws in southern states kept many Black men from voting.
All-time champ: Strong political difference drove just over 81% of eligible voters to the polls in 1860 to choose between four candidates. Republican Abraham Lincoln won with 39% of the vote against a split Democratic Party that fielded two tickets, one from the north and one from the south, plus the Whig Party. The electorate did not include women or the 4 million Black slaves in the country. Lincoln’s win would set off the Civil War the following year.
Oregon’s first election: Oregon became a state in 1859 and first voted the following year. Lincoln won Oregon with 36% of the vote, just ahead of the pro-slavery Southern Democratic ticket with Vice President John Breckinridge of Kentucky running for the top job. It helped in Oregon that one of the state’s U.S. senators, Joseph Lane (namesake of Lane County), was Breckinridge’s running mate. Sparsely populated Oregon cast a total of just 14,761 votes, but good enough to give Lincoln three votes in the Electoral College.