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Election winners and losers

Winners: Billionaires and big business

An unprecedented $4 billion was spent in the national elections, much of it from the Koch Brothers and other billionaire contributors operating independently of the major parties. In Oregon, wealthy out-of-state contributors helped pass marijuana legalization, and also may have killed an initiative calling for labels on genetically engineered food.

Loser: Ted Wheeler

Measure 86, the state treasurer's bid to create a state fund to pay for college students’ financial aid, fared poorly. This can’t help his hopes to run for governor in four years.

Winner: Oregon Liquor Control Commission

Some wondered if Oregon was going to head in Washington’s direction and privatize liquor sales, rendering the OLCC irrelevant. Instead, Oregon followed Washington by legalizing marijuana and giving the OLCC an important new role in regulating the product.

Winner and Loser: The environment

The effort to combat global warming took a huge hit when a senator from a coal state took the reins of the U.S. Senate after a campaign promising to quash Obama administration efforts to close down dirty coal plants. But in Oregon, Democrats gained some leeway to pass environmental legislation that had been thwarted by Sen. Betsy Johnson, the pro-business Democrat who often voted with Republicans. Now Johnson won’t hold the deciding vote.

Losers: Moderates

With the stunning defeat of the “top two primary” initiative, moderates from both parties lost a leg up to make it through partisan primaries onto a general election ballot. Forget about competitive elections for most partisan races in Oregon.

Losers: Oregon U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden

Even though Merkley easily won reelection and Wyden wasn't even on the ballot, both will be in the minority when the new Congress convenes in January because Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate on election night. That means Wyden will lose his chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee and Merkley will have no control over his committee assignments.

Winners: Oregon incumbents

Across the nation, Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate, padded their House majority and won several governor's races. But in Oregon, not a single elected incumbent in statewide, congressional or legislative races was defeated, at least after most of the votes were counted.

Loser: Cylvia Hayes

Her boyfriend may have been reelected Oregon governor, but the First Lady was nowhere to be seen on election night. That's probably a preview of the next few years, as Hayes faces an ethics investigation and multiple public records requests that could embarrass her further.

Winner: Commissioner Amanda Fritz

Even though she wasn't on the ballot, Fritz won when voters overwhelmingly approved the $68 million Portland Parks & Recreation maintenance levy she championed. Fritz won't have much time to rest on her laurels, however. She must soon decide whether to be the third vote to pass the controversial street fee proposed by Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick.

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