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Salem oncologist Bud Pierce was the first to enter the GOP race for governor last September.
Tune in to OPB Radio, or join Think Out Loud at Rontoms in Portland, for full election night coverage. On the radio you'll hear live coverage by NPR and OPB throughout the evening as results come in. NPR will lead the news with updates on the presidential race and the shake-out of the House and Senate. Think Out Loud will join the coverage with updates on the regional races including Portland mayor, attorney general, Portland city commissioner, secretary of state, Washington governor, the many ballot initiatives and much more.
Do you have plans for tonight? Do you know where you're going to watch — or listen to — the election results come in? Polls in Oregon close at 8 p.m., so make sure to drop your ballot off by then, but results from across the country will start to be released much earlier. On today's show, political analyst Jim Moore will walk us through the timeline of the night and what we may be able to expect. And if you're still looking for somewhere to celebrate or drown your sorrows, come on down to the Think Out Loud Election Night Party at Rontoms on Burnside. The fun starts at 7 p.m.
President Obama has been elected to another four years in office. Many wonder what changes those years will bring to the U.S. Supreme Court. All eyes are on 79-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has survived both colon and pancreatic cancer and is expected to retire by 2016 (though she's said she's not making any plans yet). Three other justices are in their seventies, making it one of the oldest courts in recent history. The reelection also means that Obama has a chance to make a more significant mark on the lower federal courts, where he hasn't had too much success nominating judges. We'll check in with our U.S. Supreme Court watcher Lisa McElroy about what the election means for the highest court, and what high profile issues Justices may decide in the next four years.
Portland has a new mayor. Oregon incumbents were reelected to state office. And President Obama's reelection came a lot sooner than many pundits predicted. At the local level, there were a few surprises. Portland's arts tax, which had polled poorly, passed by a large margin. And incumbent city commissioner Amanda Fritz took 58 percent of the vote to hold onto her seat, despite being neck and neck with her challenger Mary Nolan in the primary. Republicans in Clackamas County had a good night, celebrating victories by two conservative candidates for the county commission. While Oregonians weren't voting on the issue, advocates for gay marriage were watching other states closely. Washington's Referendum 74 is still too close to call, but voters in Maine and Maryland became the first states to make same-sex marriage legal by popular vote.
Over the past several months, we've brought you coverage and conversations about some of the biggest races in the region. Today, we'll check in with OPB Salem correspondent Chris Lehman about some of the statewide races we haven't gotten to, and look at some of the latest poll results conducted by DHM Research for OPB and Fox-12.
Washington has quite a few notable races on it's ballot this November. There's a hotly contested gubernatorial race — which could lead to the first Republican governor in the state in 28 years. And there are citizen's initiatives that, if passed, could highlight Washington's independent streak. It might become the first state to vote for gay marriage — though the issue is on the ballot in three other states as well. Washington voters could also be the first to legalize pot. There is also an effort to require a legislative supermajority in order to raise taxes. That initiative, if passed, could be ruled unconstitutional by the state supreme court. Another measure would allow charter schools in the state.
The mayor's office and four city council seats are on the May ballot in Eugene. Eugene's next city government will tackle economic issues such as development and logistical ones, like literally rebuilding the city hall. Kitty Piercy faces two challengers as she seeks a third term as mayor. She says she wants another four years to continue work on projects such as Envision Eugene, a plan for long-term growth in the city of 156,185. She's raised significantly more money than either of her challengers. Kevin Prociw currently works as a systems analyst for the City of Eugene, a job he'll have to give up if he's elected as mayor. He got into politics in 2010 when he started a government watchdog group called Lane County Citizens for Responsible Government. Jon Walrod is self-employed selling security systems. Like Prociw, he's never held elected office. His campaign does not have a website explaining his platform, but he's made public appearances with his opponents, where he's identified himself as conservative and emphasized running government like a private business. Incumbant Ward 2 councilor Betty Taylor is seeking a fifth term in office. At 86, Taylor isn't looking to retire from public life any time soon. She's garnered support from unions and an endorsement from the city's alternative weekly newspaper. She voted against ending Eugene's Occupy encampment in December of last year and she's adamently against tax breaks for the controversial Capstone development project. Taylor does not have a campaign website. Her opponents are Juan Carlos Valle, a Social Security Administration employee, and Jim Ray, who is semi-retired from his job as a restaurant equipment repairman. At last count, Valle's campaign had raised more than either of the others. He also got an endorsement from the Register-Guard. Valle is at odds with his opponents over the Capstone tax breaks, which he says could offer the city a significant economic opportunity. Ray says his top priorities are improving eduction and reducing gang activity in Eugene. Three other city councilors are running unopposed.
Tonight is election night and while it may seem fairly quiet, there are plenty of interesting local races going on around the state. The two most-watched races are probably for Attorney General and Portland mayor — both close races according to recent polls. Voters in Eugene are deciding between an incumbent mayor and two challengers and there are some hotly contested commissioner seats in both Lane and Clackamas counties. Three candidates are also vying to be the newest Oregon Supreme Court Justice. There are even a couple of incumbent legislators facing challengers from their own party. We'll follow these and many other races as results roll in tonight. Tune in to the radio or live stream at 8 p.m and follow us on Twitter @thinkoutloudopb.
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We find out why traffic deaths are rising in Portland despite efforts to reverse the trend, and we learn more about a new proposed system of publicly financed elections in the city.
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