Posts tagged ‘Historic Oregon Elections Series’

Oregon 1944 Republican Senate Primary (6-Year Term)

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Wayne Morse 49% (Red)
Rufus Holman 42% (Blue)
The map shows the net margin between the top two candidates.

This was the 2nd Republican Senate primary in 1944. For the other results, please see: http://lindholmcompanyblog.com/?p=4006.

The 1944 Oregon Republican Senate Primary for the long-term seat saw University of Oregon Law School Dean Wayne Morse challenging incumbent U. S. Senator, Rufus Holman.

Morse won solidly.

There was a clear geographic pattern to the returns. Morse was from Lane County. Holman was from Multnomah County.

An interesting back story, that has to wait for another time, is that Holman, earlier in his career, had been a consistent opponent of KKK-backed politicians in Portland. 

Source of election returns: Oregon Blue Book, 1945-46 Edition.

Oregon 1944 Republican Senate Primary (4-Year Term)

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Guy Cordon 48% (Red)
Charles Sprague 44% ((Blue)
The map shows the net margin between the top two candidates.

This was one of two major Republican primaries for U. S. Senate in 1944.

The 1944 Oregon Republican Senate Primary for the short-term seat saw former Governor Charles Sprague challenging incumbent, newly appointed U. S. Senator, Guy Cordon. Cordon had been appointed to replace Charles McNary who had died a few months earlier. McNary had been the Republican nominee for Vice President in 1940. McNary had been the Senate Republican leader.

Cordon won solidly.

There was a clear geographic pattern to the returns. Cordon was from Douglas County. Sprague was from Marion County. Cordon did extremely well in southern Oregon and did well enough in the rest of the state.

This was the 2nd straight Republican Primary that Sprague lost. As Governor, he lost his re-election bid in 1942: http://lindholmcompanyblog.com/?p=4003.

Source of election returns: Oregon Blue Book, 1945-46 Edition.

Oregon 1942 Republican Gubernatorial Primary

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Earl Snell 58% (Red)
Charles Sprague 42% (Blue)
The map shows the net margin between the top two candidates.

The 1942 Oregon Republican Gubernatorial Primary saw incumbent Secretary of State Earl Snell challenging incumbent Governor Charles Sprague. Snell won in a huge landslide.

There was a geographic pattern to the returns. Snell was from Gilliam County. Sprague was from Marion County. Sprague published what is now the Statesman Journal. Sprague did best in Lane County. Surprisingly, Sprague’s support was not centered on Marion County.

Sprague was the 2nd straight Oregon Governor to be defeated in his own party’s primary after just one term. Charles Martin had lost the same way four year earlier. See http://lindholmcompanyblog.com/?p=4000 for the voting geography of that contest.

Source of election returns: Oregon Blue Book, 1943-44 Edition.

Oregon 1938 Democratic Gubernatorial Primary

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Henry Hess 49% (Red)
Charles Martin 44% (Blue)
The map shows the net margin between the top two candidates.

The 1938 Oregon Democratic Gubernatorial Primary saw Henry Hess challenging Governor Charles Martin. Hess ran as a New Deal Democrat. Martin, a former Republican and retired Major General, was one of Franklin Roosevelt’s staunchest foes. Hess won the Primary, but lost in November to Salem newspaper publisher Charles Sprague. Hess was just too liberal for Oregon.

There was a clear geographic pattern to the returns. Hess was from Union County, in the heart of the Democrat’s traditional stronghold, such as it was, in Oregon. Martin was from Multnomah County, which was on the way to becoming the Democratic stronghold we know today.

Source of election returns: Oregon Blue Book, 1939-40 Edition.

Source: Oregon Blue Book, 1939-40 Edition.

1956 Attorney General: Thornton(D) over Francis(R)

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Robert Thornton was the only Democrat running downballot to win. He defeated Carl Francis(R) with 54.0% of the vote.

Thornton, like Wayne Morse, remained in office until 1968 when he succumbed in a Republican wave by losing to Lee Johnson. He joined the relatively short list of Oregon statewide incumbents to lose since World War II.

Source of data: Oregon Secretary of State, Abstract of Votes, 1956.

1956 State Treasurer: Unander(R) over Smith(D)

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Sig Unander(R)  won this race handily with 58.5% of the vote over Wiley W. Smith(D). Like Hatfield, Unander was considered another Republican moderate. 

Two years later, in 1958, Unander would face Mark Hatfield in the Republican Primary for Governor and lose. The Republican establishment at the time was willing to back Unander to stop Hatfield’s rise.

Source of data: Oregon Secretary of State, Abstract of Votes, 1956.

1956 President: Eisenhower(R) wins Oregon over Stevenson(D)

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Eisenhower(R) solidly won Oregon in 1956 over Adlai Stevenson(D) with 55.2% of the vote in their rematch. The weakness during the 1954 midterms had been overcome.

Source of data: Oregon Secretary of State, Abstract of Votes, 1956.

1956 Senate: Morse(D) over McKay(R)

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Wayne Morse, of Eugene, defeated Douglas McKay with 54.2% of the vote and bucked the strong showing by Eisenhower in the state. McKay had been Governor of Oregon and had resigned to take a Cabinet position in the Eisenhower administration.

Paul Patterson, the Governor who had died in January, had been President of the Senate under McKay and was his successor.

Morse continued in the Senate until 1968 when he was defeated by Bob Packwood. Packwood’s successor, in turn, is Ron Wyden. 1968 was a good Republican year in Oregon with two of the Democrats elected to statewide office being defeated in re-election bids.

Source of data: Oregon Secretary of State, Abstract of Votes, 1956.

1956 Secretary of State: Hatfield(R) over Sweetland(D)

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Mark Hatfield(R) defeated Monroe Sweetland(D) with 52.3% of the vote. This was Hatfield’s first statewide win. Looking at the map above, Hatfield clearly based his win on his strength in the Salem area.

Hatfield defeated Robert Holmes, the Governor just elected in 1956, in 1958. Hatfield would hold statewide office continuously for the next forty years, first as Secretary of State, then as Governor, and finally, as U. S. Senator. He remained undefeated.

In 1996, Gordon Smith succeeded him in the U. S. Senate.

Source of data: Oregon Secretary of State, Abstract of Votes, 1956.

Another Close Race … 1956 Governor: Holmes(D) over Smith(R)

With the Oregon Governor’s race between Dudley(R) and Kitzhaber(D) so close, it seems time to take a closer look at the last tight race for Governor.

In 1956, Robert Holmes(D) defeated Elmo Smith(R) for Governor with only 50.52% of the vote, less than 8,000 votes, in the closest Oregon Gubernatorial election in the last 100 years.

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Smith, as the President of the Senate, had succeeded to the position on the death of Gov. Paul Patterson (R) earlier in the year. Elmo Smith was father of future Oregon Congressman, and Republican Gubernatorial nominee (1994), Denny Smith.

Holmes, in turn, was only a two-year Governor because Mark Hatfield defeated him in his re-election bid in 1958. Hatfield, beginning his statewide career, was elected to Secretary of State in 1956.

The Oregonian’s Jeff Mapes has a very nice post on this contest. 1956 was an interesting election year Eisenhower swept the state, Wayne Morse cruised to victory, Republicans took Secretary of State and State Treasurer and Democrats took Attorney General.

As a footnote, Patterson’s died at the Arlington Club which led to some interesting political news … but that’s another story.

Source of data: Oregon Secretary of State, Abstract of Votes, 1956.