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Oregon's Battleground House Districts Draw Big Bucks

A graph that depicts the battleground Oregon House races.

A graph that depicts the battleground Oregon House races.

SALEM, Ore. - Democrats and Republicans have raised more than $12 million combined this year to try to break a deadlock in the Oregon House. Each party holds 30 seats, and the outcome of next month’s election will determine who gets to hold the Speaker’s gavel. Most of the big money is pouring into a handful of battleground districts.

In 2010, six Republicans won seats in the Oregon House that were previously held by Democrats. That pulled the GOP into a 30-30 tie and led to an unprecedented power-sharing deal.

Neither party wants a split House the next time around. And that’s led to some big spending in battleground districts. Some of the most money has been spent in those six seats that changed hands last time around.

Pacific University political scientist Jim Moore says those half-dozen freshmen Republicans are ripe pickings for Democrats.

“They’re still not really well known in their district. And so you have got to not just worked well in Salem, but you have to have told people at home what you’re doing.”

Most of the battleground seats are in the Portland suburbs. At least four of those races have seen more than $500,000 in fundraising so far. The other prolific fundraisers are the caucus leaders.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

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