The mood at the downtown lounge Velvet was subdued. The snowboard video had been switched over to PBS and election results from the east coast were scrolling silently across the scene.
City council candidate Nathan Boddie stood silently by the TV screen. It was 8:12 pm and the election results were scheduled to post any moment.
Another minute went by, and several bystanders held their iPhones, hitting refresh on the Deschutes County election website.
Then, Boddie declared out loud perhaps what he only meant to say to himself: "Nailed it!"
The results were in. Boddie, a local physician and first-time candidate, had a solid lead over incumbent Mark Capell, 53.9% of the vote over 46.5%.
The mood changed in the snap of a fingers. A tray of tequila shots and lime wedges in small mason jars appeared, and Boddie's partner rushed across the room and enveloped him in a bear hug. Another friend stepped forward and offered back slaps.
BEND CITY COUNCILOR 5: NATHAN BODDIE
At presstime, the strongest endorsement for a candidate, Boddie held a lead. Although a physician, his campaign has reached out to much of the "service sector" and has helped relate to a younger demographic about what city politics can mean to individual's lifestyles. "It looks really good," he proclaimed while the results rolled in during the evening. "The main thing going forward," he said to a small crowd at Velvet, "is to keep your interest in mind."
BEND CITY COUNCILOR 6: CASEY ROATS
The final weeks of the campaign had been dogged by questions about residency—and those questions may overshadow, if not disqualify Roats—but at presstime, he enjoyed 45% of the vote, with the closest challenger, Lisa Seales, pulling in 41%. The other two candidates split the remaining votes.
CITY COUNCILOR 7: BARB CAMPBELL
Perhaps the most tireless campaigner of the season, Campbell, the owner of a downtown business, spent her time and weekends pounding the pavement and knocking on doors. Her grassroots campaign seems to have paid off, as she was holding a 50.78% margin of the vote over incumbent Scott Ramsay 48.87%. Her outspoken inclusion on city council tips the interests of power, and may just extend the length of city council meetings.
US SENATE: JEFF MERKLEY
Even in Deschutes County, which is evenly split between Republican, Democratic and Independent, incumbent Merkley enjoyed a solid lead. State-wise, he crushed Monica Wehby, who had been backed by ultra-conservative national interests.
US CONGRESS: GREG WALDEN
In spite of changing demographics, Walden continues his reign.
GOVERNOR: JOHN KITZHABER
Although hounded by revelations that the "First Lady" was skating near ethical lines, no big surprise here—and probably no big surprises over the next four years.
OREGON HOUSE DISTRICT 54: KNUTE BUEHLER
Buehler ran a smart and friendly campaign, and the centrist earned wide-reaching endorsements. He had a strong victory, 60-40, over Craig Wilhelm, but it is probably—and hopefully—not the last time we will see Wilhelm running for public office.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER: TONY DeBONE
Probably the biggest surprise of the evening. Barram was endorsed both by this paper and by the Bend Bulletin, a somewhat rare occasion. Yet, incumbent DeBone won handily. Although perhaps not the best campaigner, DeBone is a strong representative for rural interests and will continue to do so—and will maintain a geo-political balance for Deschutes County.
MEASURE 86: NO
Requires creation of fund for Oregonians pursuing post-secondary education, authorizes state indebtedness to finance fund
Sadly no. A great opportunity to invest in job creation and the future of the next generation was missed here.
MEASURE 87: YES
Permits employment of state judges by National Guard (military service) and state public universities (teaching)
Whatever. This mostly just proved that old people vote.
MEASURE 88: NO
Provides Oregon resident "driver card" without requiring proof of legal residence in the United States
Probably the biggest measurement that shows our xenophobia and emotional callousness to the plight of others, 2 to 1 voted against this measure.
MEASURE 89: YES
Amends Constitution: State/political subdivision shall not deny or abridge equality of rights on account of sex
What is remarkable is that 37% of Oregonians voted against this measure. Really?
MEASURE 90: NO
Creates an open, top-two primary election system
Thank goodness, no! This would have curtailed a multitude of political parties and limited the practice of democracy. Former mayor Michael Bloomberg has done many wonderful things, but writing a check for $1.25 million to fund this initiative was not one of them. That money would have been better spent helping with college debt (see Measure 86) or just buying himself a gold-plated toilet.
MEASURE 91: YES
Legalizes recreational marijuana; tasks OLCC with regulation of its sale
Yeeeeesssssss! Although voters in Deschutes County voted against this measure (50.9% to 49.1%), the rest of the state was sober enough to vote "yes."
MEASURE 92: NO
Requires food manufacturers, retailers to label "genetically engineered" foods as such; state, citizens may enforce
This has been the most expensive race in Oregon history, with $17 million gathered by the proponents and opponents, most of it coming from out-of-state. And, with $5 million spent on TV ads, the fifth most for any campaign in the country, all told Measure 92 has been a boon to Oregon's economy. While the merits, and potentially health dangers, of genetically modified organisms has been debated with this high-profile campaign, most of those arguments actually took backseat to the merits of the initiative itself—with many people complaining that the initiative was poorly worded and constructed, enough so that even many liberal newspapers urged a vote "no." That vote won.