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Ben Westlund Is Next Oregon Treasurer

Three years ago, Tumalo State Senator Ben Westlund was a Republican.

Ben WestlundThen in 2006, he ran for Governor as an Independent.

Last year, he became a Democrat.

And now he is Oregon's next state Treasurer.

Late Tuesday, Republican businessman Allen Alley conceded the race to Westlund and wished him well in the "difficult times ahead."

With 54 percent of the vote counted, Westlund was leading 50 to 46 percent.

At a Democratic victory party in Portland, Westlund said his election was a small part of a Democratic sea change.

Ben Westlund: "Every once in a while, every once in a great while, people have the opportunity to come together and do something truly remarkable, and that's what we're witnessing now. And we're a part of it. Every one in this room is a part of it."

The treasurer's campaign received relatively little attention this year, until the financial crisis hit.

Wall Street losses stripped away a lot of the state's pension wealth. One of Westlund's first jobs as Treasurer may be how to rebuild it.

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