Yesterday’s election in Massachusetts was certainly monumental on several fronts. I’m sure many Republicans did a happy dance last night in their living room like I did when the Associated Press called the election for Scott Brown, the first Republican Senator elected from Massachusetts in years. He is a political moderate, but stands opposed to the government take over of health care, and now breaks the super-majority chokehold the Democrats had in the Senate. He, above anyone else, knows just how bad government run health care is as the Massachusetts model is the pinnacle of failure.
So what is the effect this vote may have on Oregon? While Senator Wyden is not likely to be unseated this year, as he is well-respected and well-liked, it could mean a change in direction for the House members. Earl Blumenauer represents one of the most liberal districts in the state, and in my estimation is assured re-election. Kurt Schrader and David Wu represent split districts with significant numbers of typically conservative voters in the rural sections, and I believe these two districts could change this year to become represented by Republicans. What will impact the election is who the Republicans have running against them. So far, no Republican has been successful against Rep. Wu, but then again, no serious contender has run against him. In 2008, Mike Erickson had too many issues to overcome to be successful against Rep. Schrader, so it was again a case of a poor candidate to run against the Democrat.
Oregon is far from being a blue state. She is dominated by heavy concentrations of more liberal voters in densely populated areas, mainly Portland and Eugene, and thus statewide and national elections skew to the left. Examine any state political map and you will see large geographic areas highlighted in red, and not represented by our elected officials. Until the 1980’s, Oregon had significant independent Republicans in state and federal offices. Gov. Tom McCall and Sen. Mark Hatfield come readily to mind. Perhaps this will be the year Oregonians find people who are interested in serving Oregon’s citizens and not themselves, and will remove those from office with union bought agendas or who only follow Democratic party lines.
As the federal government continues to spend money it does not have at unprecedented rates, and Oregon continues to suffer with double digit unemployment, frustration will continue to grow here, and as was seen in New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts, voters will act on their frustrations. This may be a truly historic election this fall and Oregonians have a fantastic opportunity to speak with their votes and elect officials who will stop the spending bleeding and will create business friendly environments that can finally reverse the current recession once and for all.