Oregon Governor didn't flip, but it was close enough to scare them

When we checked in on the Oregon governor’s race shortly before the election, there were Democrats in that state who were beginning to panic. Governor Kate Brown had been ahead by a solid 20 points at the beginning of the year, but Republican Knute Buehler had closed that race to less than five in the final stretch. Momentum seemed to be on his side and unhappy voters appeared to be in danger of possibly giving Brown the boot.

That didn’t wind up happening, but the polls were pretty much spot on in this case. Brown will get to serve another four-year term, after which she’ll have to step down as per the state constitution. (No person can serve more than two terms in a twelve year period.) But how did this race get so close and how are Democrats in Oregon responding to the results. You can get a taste of the efforts to paint a brave face on things from this report at Oregon Live. (Emphasis added)

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is headed into the next four years with the wind at her back, after she decisively beat Republican Rep. Knute Buehler and Democrats expanded their hold on the state Legislature.

Democrats’ voter registration advantage helped carry Brown to victory, in a year with unusually high voter turnout for both parties in the state and across the country.

The crowd at the Democratic Party of Oregon’s party at the downtown Portland Hilton had already heard that Brown had been re-elected before she took the stage Tuesday night, and they greeted her with cheers and applause.

Excuse me for a moment, but did you just say that Brown “decisively beat Knute Buehler?” Perhaps you should take a look at the official vote tally.She didn’t even manage to get a majority. Brown, a Democrat, won by 4.9%in Oregon.

Brown won her 2016 special election by eight points and that was after her former boss had to resign in disgrace. As recently as 2006, Democrats were winning that race by nearly ten point margins. I would hardly call this a decisive win. But, to be fair, Republicans have been able to make it competitive in recent years. In 2010, Chris Dudley came within less than two points of winning. This probably seems surprising given the double digit registration advantage that Democrats enjoy.

We’ve heard enough complaints from Oregon residents, particularly in and around Portland, about how the liberal policies enforced by the Democrats are producing destructive results. Homelessness and crime are both more serious concerns than they were even a decade ago. This race put a scare into the Democrats and it definitely should have. Oregon didn’t flip this time, but for all it’s reputation as a blue haven, it’s looking more and more as if they might be ready to flip in the next cycle or two.