Saturday, November 8, 2014

On Electoral Pacifism — or, an Oregon 2014 Election AAR

So I've been going over the final tallies of the Oregon State House and State Senate, and there are a few interesting developments. I'll have to check out previous years' results to see if there are any patterns, if I ever find myself with copious amounts of free time. *snerk*

Here's the deal: the Oregon State House has 60 seats, who are elected or re-elected every two years, just like the federal House of Representatives. According to (see links above), going into the 2014 election, Democrats controlled 34 seats, Republicans 26. After the election, Dems have 35 and Repubs have 25 — a net loss of one.

But here's the kicker: 18 of those seats — a full 30% of the House — won an uncontested vote. No primary challenges, no opposition. 11 of those went to Democrats.

The Senate wasn't any better: 16 of the 30 seats were up for grabs, and five were uncontested, four of which are Democrat-controlled. We had one seat flip red-to-blue, for an end result of 17 Dems, 13 Repubs.

This is just … wrong on so many levels. Not the part where one party controls both chambers of a Legislature — that happens from time to time, nature of the political beast and all — but the part where so many seats went to the incumbents without any challenge whatsoever.

I'll admit I get upset that the national party committees don't seem to give a crap what happens in Oregon, preferring to concentrate on Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida as "swing states". But what do you call it when the GOP doesn't even offer up a candidate — one guy or gal to make the incumbent work for his/her seat, and if nothing else, force the Democrats to spend a little cash maintaining their majority? Or worse yet, when the voters themselves will write-in the other party's candidate because they didn't feel like troubling themselves making any other options?

I'm going to label this behavior "electoral pacifism", if not outright laziness, and what happened here is the pinnacle of it. It's no wonder Oregon ended up bluer after this election than it was before; the Dems rocked their Get Out The Vote campaigns, and the Repubs couldn't even be arsed to hold a f@#$ing primary.

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