Archive for the ‘History’ Category.

Have Both Chambers of the Oregon Legislature Been Tied Before?

It is very possible that the 2011 Oregon Senate will be tied 15-15 and the 2011 Oregon House at 30-30. Both Chambers have never been tied simultaneously before. However, there are cases that came close.
1. The Senate was tied after the 1956 and 2002 elections. The House has not been tied before.
2. The 1895 House failed to organize. In some sense, this is a tie.
3. The 1874 legislature had three major parties with none, Democrats, Republicans, or Independents, holding a majority. The Independents were a Grange-based party.

Sources: Edwards, Cecil L., ed., Chronological List of Oregon’s Legislatures, Salem, 1993; Oregon Senate Journal and House Journal 1887 through 1891; Oregon Blue Book, Salem, 1995-96 through 2009-10.

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.

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: State House Seats by Party

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When looking at this graph, it’s important to keep in mind that the national trend of urban areas, like Portland, going Democratic began in the 1930s.  However, this graph follows the same general pattern observable in all the earlier posts.

 

This graph shows the Republican recovery in Oregon starting with the 1938 election. Insted of being a constant trend in favor of the Democrats, the pattern really is more of a Democratic surge followed by a Republican recovery.

 

Prior to 1972, state legislative districts tended to follow county lines and could have a single member or have multiple members. One House District was split between Clackamas and Multnomah Counties during this period. The number of house districts allocated to Multnomah County changed from 14 to 13 due to the 1930 redistricting.


Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

 

 

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: State Senate Seats by Party

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This graph shows the Republican recovery in Oregon starting with the 1938 election.

 

Prior to 1972, state legislative districts tended to follow county lines and could have a single member or have multiple members. One House District was split between Clackamas and Multnomah Counties during this period. The number of senate districts allocated to Multnomah County was six throughout this period.


Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: Vote Numbers for Congress by Party

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This graph shows how Republicans won the district. The Democratic vote dropped significantly between 1932 and 1934 and the Republican vote stayed level. Hence, the Republican won. The Democratic vote total shot up again in 1936 and the Democratic nominee won.

 

This graph also shows the Republican recovery in Oregon starting with the 1938 election that persisted through the 1940s. The victories came from an increasing vote total.

The 1938 Republican winner was Homer Angell who remained in office until defeated by Tom McCall in the 1954 Republican Primary. McCall, in turn, lost to Democrat Edith Green in the 1954 General Election.

 

 

During the period 1930 through 1940, Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District boundary followed the Multnomah County boundary.

 

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: Vote Pct. for Congress

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This graph shows an interesting feature of Oregon politics during the 1930s. The Republican nominee narrowly won the district in 1934, 1938, and 1940.

This graph also shows the Republican recovery in Oregon starting with the 1938 election that persisted through the 1940s.

 

During the period 1930 through 1940, Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District boundary followed the Multnomah County boundary.

 

 

 

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: Voter Registration Compared to Oregon Statewide

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Source: Oregon Secretary of State

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: Voter Registration Number by Party

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The voter registration numbers look a lot like the Presidential voting numbers. There is a sharp increase in Democratic registration as Republican registration remains roughly constant.

 

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.