Area voters send Democratic legislators back to work

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici waves to a crowd of Oregon Democrats after winning her 1st Congressional District race on election night.It was a good night for Democratic incumbents in the Beaverton area.

Those with the names Bonamici, Hass, Read, Steiner Hayward, Barker, Harker or Greenlick had plenty of reason to smile as the results rolled in from the Washington County Elections Office after 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

Several were doing just that at the Oregon Democratic Party’s election night headquarters in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Portland.

U.S. Congressional District 1 Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton, carried a substantial lead over her Republican opponent Delinda Morgan, a small business owner from Gaston. Unofficial results showed Bonamici with 147,496 votes, or 65 percent, and Morgan with 78,511, or 34 percent.

Incumbent District 14 state Sen. Mark Hass also handily defeated his Republican opponent, businessman Gary Coe with 28,659 votes to Coe’s 17,559.

Celebrating with a cadre of Democratic Party colleagues Tuesday night, Bonamici said she was thrilled district voters were pleased enough with her one-year term — replacing former Congressman David Wu — to elect her to her full term.

“I want to thank the people in the 1st Congressional District in Oregon. They had a choice,” she told the cheering crowd. “Washington County chose a representative who will stand up for middle-class families, for women to have the intelligence to make their own reproductive decisions, to acknowledge that climate change is real and ensure access to affordable health care.”

Bonamici defeated Republican nominee Rob Cornilles in a special election on Jan. 31 for the district including Washington County, most of Portland west of the Willamette River, as well as Yamhill, Columbia and Clatsop counties. First elected to the Oregon House in 2006, she previously represented District 17 in the Oregon State Senate from 2008 to 2011.

“I know there will be challenges ahead in Washington going forward,” she said. “I will be working with all my colleagues across the aisle to get things done.”

County voters return Democrats to Salem

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - State Senator Mark Hass is congratulated by a supporter during an election night party with the Oregon Democrats in Portland.With 32,142 votes, state Senate District 17 incumbent Elizabeth Steiner Hayward outdid Republican challenger John Verbeek, who took in 16,636.

In other Oregon House races in Washington County, Democratic incumbent Rep. Tobias Read, with 16,890, overtook challenger Burton Keeble with 7,979 votes.

In the race for 28th district state representative, Democrat Jeff Barker bested Republican challenger Manuel Castaneda with 60 percent and nearly 40 percent, respectively, of ballots cast.

House District 33 voters also returned incumbent Rep. Mitch Greenlick to the Oregon Legislature with 17,778 votes to Republican challenger Stevan Kirkpatrick’s 8,252 votes.

In the House District 34 race, incumbent Rep. Chris Harker topped Republican challenger Dan Mason with 14,181 votes, or nearly 64 percent, to 8,047 votes, or 36 percent.

Hass, who served three two-year terms in the Oregon House before being elected to his first full Senate term in 2008, said he was “heartened” by his Tuesday night victory in what he called a “pretty negative race” with Coe.

“I’ve always said we have the most thoughtful voters in Beaverton and Aloha, and they just weren’t buying it,” he said of Coe’s approach. “It’s just very validating. We held our majority.”

Reflecting on the campaign while picking up campaign signs Wednesday morning, Coe, who said he “ran to win,” felt he got his fair share of negativity from the opposing side.

“I wanted to run a very clean campaign,” he said. “I won’t say Sen. Hass, but from the other side, there were attack ads, a lot of sign wars, signs torn down and defaced. They did not play a clean game like we did. It was unfortunate.”

On the other hand, Coe said he was inspired talking to the area’s voters, including numerous Democrats among the 9,600 doors he knocked on during his campaign.

“It was a wonderful experience because of the people I met, not only other candidates, but the people I met door to door. We had great conversations. That was the good part.”

With the decisive across-the-board Democratic victories Hass sees Read, Barker and himself in committee chairman positions in January, with Read likely the new Senate majority leader.

“I think that says something for the guys from Beaverton being impact players,” Hass said.

While he doesn’t see launching another campaign, Coe vowed to stay engaged in the community and possibly help others in future elections.

“I doubt very much if I’ll be a candidate again,” he said. “But I will be involved with politics.”

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