Former Vice President Joe Biden easily defeated President Donald Trump for Oregon’s seven electoral votes, in unofficial election returns Tuesday.
Biden’s victory in the state was expected. Democratic presidential candidates have won seven straight campaigns in Oregon dating back to 1988, when then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis won the state in his losing race against then-Vice President George H.W. Bush.
The Trump campaign made no serious effort to contest Oregon this year. He hasn’t visited since he campaigned here before the May 2016 primary. And when the president mentioned the state this year, it was usually to criticize Gov. Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, both Democrats, for their handling of racial justice protests in the state’s largest city.
Biden did not campaign in Oregon either, nor did he spend much money in the state. He last visited for a private fundraiser in Portland a year ago. An early September poll by DHM Research in Portland showed him leading by 12 percentage points.
Still, the passions of the campaign were visible in Oregon, with Trump supporters holding boat and truck caravans in the metropolitan area and a higher-than-usual number of Democratic presidential signs promoting Biden in Portland. More importantly, in the run up to election day, Democrats were returning their ballots at a higher rate than Republicans, according to the state Elections Division.
Republicans last came close to winning Oregon in 2000, when Democrat Al Gore won by just under half a percentage point. The race was so close in part because consumer advocate Ralph Nader, running under the Green Party banner, took 5% of Oregon’s vote.
Bush lost Oregon by more than 4 percentage points when he ran for reelection in 2004 and Republicans then lost the next three races by double-digit percentages. Trump, who lost by 11 points in 2016, did about the same as the party’s 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney. But Trump ran more strongly in rural areas while doing worse in the suburbs — and in Portland. One big question heading into Election Day was how the president’s repeated attacks on Portland — his administration officially labeled it an “anarchist jurisdiction” — would impact his standing throughout Oregon.