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Randy Stapilus

COMMENTARY

Betsy Johnson attracted voters in regions where she has strong ties

By: - November 28, 2022

The core support for Betsy Johnson, the unaffiliated candidate for governor in the election, was almost surely a lot different six months ago than it was when the ballots were cast.  Polling from last spring up into September put her in third place but not by much: She was pulling numbers just above and below […]

COMMENTARY

Democrats win top races in Oregon, but Republicans do, too

By: - November 15, 2022

When our weekly coffee group reviewed this month’s election, the question arose: Is Oregon moving from the status of a blue state to a purple state? The idea emerged from some Republican successes, or near wins, in the general election, notably the Republican win in U.S. House District 5 and close calls in the governorship […]

COMMENTARY

You need more than money to win an election in Oregon

By: - November 10, 2022

Remember those news stories about the massive campaign contributions on behalf of nonaffiliated Oregon governor candidate Betsy Johnson? For months her campaign treasury outpaced all others; she was the beneficiary of many millions of dollars, including more than $3 million just from Nike co-founder Phil Knight. As this is written on Wednesday morning, the Oregon […]

COMMENTARY

Almost everyone opposes slavery, but what does it mean? 

By: - November 1, 2022

Almost certainly, Oregon’s Ballot Measure 112, which seeks to remove from the state Constitution a provision allowing slavery as a punishment for a crime, will pass.  The measure has gotten very strong support and little visible opposition. The site Ballotpedia said, “If you are aware of any opponents or opposing arguments, please send an email […]

COMMENTARY

Did the Biden visit to Portland help Tina Kotek’s bid for governor?

By: - October 21, 2022

A rule of thumb in election politics: When all indicators – such as polls – show a close race, then the side with the best organization and get-out-the-vote efforts, or whoever has a hot issue on their side, usually has the edge.  That thought may have been a reason for last week’s visit by President […]

COMMENTARY
Oregon Senate floor session

Oregon Republicans could gain ground in state Senate

By: - October 18, 2022

Two years from now, most Oregon state Senate seats up for election will be those held by Republicans or independent Republican leaners, putting that party on the defensive. This year, when mostly Democratic seats are up, Republicans have their best chance for gains. And their opportunity is real.  They’re throwing a lot of money into […]

COMMENTARY

A ban against legislative walkouts would put Oregon in line with most other states

By: - October 12, 2022

The initiative on guns has gotten more attention, though still less advertising than some advocates might have expected, but Measure 113 on legislative attendance deserves at least as much. Attention so far has been sparse. What could sound duller than a change in rules concerning the number of unexcused absences from the Legislature a member […]

COMMENTARY

Should visitors to Portland be afraid? Not really.

By: - October 3, 2022

Earlier this month I sat with several friends at a sidewalk table at a coffee shop just south of downtown Portland. The scene was nearly identical – same businesses, same kind of traffic, human and vehicular – as when we’d met in the same place several years before. It looked friendly, prosperous and safe.  I […]

COMMENTARY

Governor’s debate fractured, with 2 candidates on one side of an issue, another opposed

By: - September 29, 2022

In a group of three, two usually line up – and did in the latest Oregon gubernatorial debate A two-way contest of any sort is a relatively simple matter of one side gaining more than the other. Add a third side to the picture and it becomes much more complicated.  In Oregon’s race for governor, […]

COMMENTARY

Is Oregon ripe for ranked choice voting?

By: - September 20, 2022

With three serious gubernatorial candidates on the ballot in November and the theoretical possibility of a new governor elected with 34% of the vote, Oregon might consider an election tool that recently got a lot of attention in Alaska and seems ripe for consideration here: ranked choice voting.  The probability – at least, if polling […]

COMMENTARY

Oregon’s unaffiliated voters: more partisan than you might think

By: - September 5, 2022

If Oregon’s registered Democrats vote Democratic in this November’s general election, and the Republicans vote Republican, those numbers alone won’t come close to settling the deal.  A big reason: The largest group of voters in Oregon are the NAVs – those who register as “nonaffiliated.”  (Disclosure: I’m one of them.) But what does that mean […]

COMMENTARY

Oregon’s public defense system needs an overhaul

By: - August 29, 2022

One of the recurring plot points in the much-praised and just-ended TV series “Better Call Saul” concerned the stretched resources and minimal pay of public defenders, the attorneys who represent accused criminals who otherwise can’t afford to hire legal help.  The show was set in New Mexico (which does have public defender problems) but the […]