Archive for the ‘History’ Category.

Oregon 1914 Statewide Election Results: Death Penalty Measure

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Oregon abolished the death penalty in 1914. Support for its abolition was relatively evenly distributed throughout the state. The death penalty had survived a statewide vote in 1912 by a landslide. This time women had the vote and it narrowly lost.

MEASURE 18: Abolishing Death Penalty

REFERRED BY INITIATIVE
PASSED by 175 votes statewide

ABOLISHING DEATH PENALTY. Its purpose is to abolish the death penalty for murder committed in the State of Oregon and fixing life imprisonment as the maximum punishment for any crime. It repeals all provisions of the Constitution and laws in conflict with the same.

Key: Yes percentage in 10 percent increments from 0-10 at far left through 90-100 at far right. Darker indicates a higher yes percentage.

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The Difference in 100 Years: Prohibition and Legalized Marijuana

It seems Oregonians have always been willing to experiment. One hundred years ago Monday, Oregonians passed a state prohibition constitutional amendment (see http://lindholmcompanyblog.com/?p=11038). It was part of a national movement. Oregon was one of four states that day to pass it that particular day. The federal constitutional amendment was added a few years later in 1920. However, in a complete reversal, the national amendment was resoundingly repealed in 1933.

Tuesday, Oregonians went in the opposite direction. They legalized marijuana. Advocates of legalization have long argued that marijuana laws were a kind of prohibition – not a favorable comparison. Similar to what happened with prohibition, marijuana legalization was expanded in other parts of the country the same day as Oregon’s vote.

Both were approved with approximately the same level of support. Statewide, prohibition was passed with 58 percent and marijuana was legalized with, it appears now, about 55 percent. The question now is how well will this particular experiment go.

Oregon Voted for Prohibition 100 Years Ago Today

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Key: Yes percentage in 10 percent increments from 0-10 at far left through 90-100 at far right. Darker indicates a higher yes percentage.

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Prohibition was passed and added to the Oregon Constitution in 1914 after falling short previously. The local option had passed and been added to Oregon’s laws a few years earlier. Prohibition was added to the United States Constitution in 1920 and repealed in 1933.

Above is a map of the voting percentages for yes by county. The key is below.

As one can see, Multnomah County was the least supportive among Oregon’s counties. This fit with the national pattern. Prohibition typically did better in rural areas and worse in urban areas.

MORE ABOUT THE 1914 ELECTION COMING

MEASURE DETAILS:

MEASURE 17: Prohibition Constitutional Amendment

REFERRED BY INITIATIVE
PASSED

PROHIBITION CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Its purpose is to prohibit after January first, 1916, the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors within the State of Oregon, except upon prescription of a physician, or for scientific, sacramental or mechanical purposes.

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.