2018 Oregon Election Predictions

Alex McHaddad, October 21, 2018

Oregon House Turnout

The primary is destiny - usually. Reviewing historic primary turnout in Oregon allows an analyst to not reject the null hypothesis that a party's primary turnout is not a predictor of their candidate's success in the general election.

In 2018, 41 primaries for Oregon House of Representatives saw higher Democratic turnout. However, historical patterns show that higher turnout is not always a predictor of performance in the general election. Data provided by the Oregon Secretary of State's office for elections between 2004-2016 allows analysts to identify the vote gap overcome by a general election candidate whose party received fewer vote than their opponent in the primary. The average vote gap that such candidates have overcome is 769.38.

Keeping this number in mind, the following Oregon House races can be rated as Toss-Ups:

  • HD 6. Pam Marsh (D) vs. Sandra Abercrombie (R). Democratic turnout exceed GOP turnout by only 35 votes.
  • HD 18. Barry Shapiro (D) vs. Rick Lewis (R). GOP turnout exceeded Democratic turnout by 634 votes.
  • HD 20. Paul Evans (D) vs. Selma Pierce (R). Democratic turnout exceeded GOP turnout by 138 votes.
  • HD 22. Teresa Alonso Leon (D) vs. Marty Heyen (R). Democratic turnout exceeded GOP turnout by 334 votes.
  • HD 26. Courtney Neron (D) vs. Richard Vial (R). GOP turnout exceeded Democratic turnout by 710 votes.
  • HD 37. Rachel Prusak (D) vs. Julie Parrish (R). Democratic turnout exceeded GOP turnout by 708 votes.

Assuming all remaining remaining non-Toss-Up races are won by the candidate with higher primary turnout, Oregon House Democrats are likely to obtain a supermajority for the 2019 legislative session.

Oregon Governor: Finance

The 2018 gubernatorial election has proven surprisingly competitive, with the Cook Political report recently ranking the competition between Democratic Governor Kate Brown and GOP State Rep. Knute Buehler as a "Toss Up." Oregon voters make known their support through several methods, including political donations - the state's political tax credit allows individuals to claim a tax credit for up to $50 in political donations. Governor Brown's 3,152 small donations (under $100 each) amount to $133,263.20 . Rep. Buehler's 2,120 small donations, however, total $134,649.00.

It must be noted that Governor Brown has not received a campaign contribution larger than $250,000, while Rep. Buehler has received two (yes, two) $1,000,000 donations from Nike founder Phil Knight.

Oregon Governor: Primary Votes

Primary turnout still indicates a safe election for Democratic candidates. Governor Brown received more votes during her primary campaign than all GOP candidates combined. Primary is not necessarily destiny, but an 81,000 vote lead is difficult to overcome.

Note: 2 parties, Constitution and Libertarian, choose their gubernatorial candidates during conventions rather than primaries.

Oregon Governor: Social Media

While far from scientific, examining social media is an interesting method of gauging popular sentiment toward specific candidates. Governor Brown leads Rep. Buehler's Facebook following by more than 100%, while no third party candidate has attracted more than 500 Facebook page likes.

US Congressional District 2

By all accounts, Congressman Greg Walden (R-Hood River) is set to be reelected to Congress. The primary for Congressional District 2 saw over 32,000 more Republicans vote than Democrats, with Walden receiving 11,000 more votes than all Democratic candidates combined. Former Phoenix, Oregon city manager and Democratic candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner debated Congressman Walden in a debate broadcast in Oregon's smallest media market, Bend (also streamed on LaGrandeAlive.TV in Union County). They were not joined by Independent Party candidate Mark Roberts, who declined to participate due to health issues.

CD2 Social Media

Rep. Walden maintains a similarly mammoth lead over Mrs. McLeod-Skinner on social media. Mark Roberts, who made a splash on social media earlier this year following some derogatory made towards First Lady Melania Trump, is performing better on Facebook than his party's gubernatorial candidate, but he has not managed to obtain more than 1,700 page likes.