Bernie Sanders Wins Oregon, But What Happens In November?

By Conrad Wilson (OPB)
May 18, 2016 12 p.m.
Bernie Sanders fans wave signs outside the new Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters in Portland, Ore., April 6, 2016.

Bernie Sanders fans wave signs outside the new Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters in Portland, Ore., April 6, 2016.

Inger Klekacz / OPB

Bernie Sanders won the Democratic presidential primary in Oregon on Tuesday night. The senator from Vermont won nearly every county in Oregon capturing 54 percent of the vote.


But Hillary Clinton’s supporters said that even though the loss is disappointing, it’s clear to them Clinton will be the Democrats' nominee come November. They say they'll continue to pivot their efforts towards apparent Republican nominee Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, Trump won Oregon’s Republican primary with 67 percent of the vote.

Sanders did not celebrate the win in Oregon. Monte Jarvis, his Oregon state director, said he was pleased with the win.

“We need to nominate Sen. Sanders to be president in the Democratic Party so that we can beat Donald Trump," he said.

Despite the fact that Sanders trails Clinton considerably in delegates, Jarvis said Sanders still has options. He did not specify what those options are.

“There’s a lot that can happen between now and the convention, and at the convention itself,” Jarvis said. “We’ve got to do everything that we can get every vote, every delegate so we have as big of a presence at that convention that we can get.”

Sanders also picked up the support of two superdelegates Tuesday night, Larry Taylor and Lupita Maurer. Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, also a superdelegate, has endorsed Sanders.

Bernie Sanders fans wave signs outside the new Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters in Portland on April 6, 2016.

Bernie Sanders fans wave signs outside the new Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters in Portland on April 6, 2016.

Inger Klekacz / OPB

At a raucous results party in Northeast Portland, Kaylee Ditlefsen, a freshman at Warner Pacific College, said Sanders is her kind of progressive.

“I’m definitely an idealist, like most Bernie supporters are,” she said. “But that’s what sparks revolutions. That’s what sparks the movement.”

Ditlefsen and voters of her ilk represent a growing concern for the Democratic Party if Sanders does not win the nomination. Will the supporters he's energized show up for Clinton?

Ditlefsen said she’s hasn’t made up her mind yet.

“I don’t even want to say that I would consider Donald Trump,” she said.

Rather, she said, a Trump win could somehow advance Sanders’ agenda.

“Possibly if Donald Trump was elected, maybe he gets impeached for doing some crazy thing. And maybe not,” Ditlefsen said. “Maybe we just realize after four years that we need to jump into this political revolution.”

Nazanin Mansouri lives in Portland and said she supports Sanders. She was at the Oregon Sanders party with her husband and daughter.

“I hope his movement continues,” Mansouri said of Sanders.

She said if the November election ends up being between Clinton and Trump, she won’t support either candidate.


Mansouri said Clinton doesn’t reflect her values.

“She does not seem sincere and I think until here her success is bought and paid for,” Mansouri said. “She’s not from the people."

Erik Jamison grew up in Seattle and now lives in Portland. He supports Sanders because of his record.

Here's How Oregon Voted In The 2016 Primary

“I recognize the flaws he may have stylistically, but when it comes to his record there’s absolutely no doubt," he said. "It goes back 30 years. You don’t have to wonder about him.”

Without using Clinton’s name, Jamison said he’ll “probably be voting for the likely, eventual Democratic nominee, but she’s still kind of a mystery to a lot of people.”

Jamison said he’ll support Clinton in November, mostly because he said he doesn’t have a choice.

Clinton’s Oregon supporters say they’re disappointed about the loss, but remain focused on Trump and the race in November.

Jillian Schoene, Oregon state director for Clinton’s campaign, said she’s confident Clinton will get the party’s nomination. She said Oregon’s primary was all about laying the ground work for November.

“We are in for the long term game here and it’s all about taking on Donald Trump and winning in November,” Schoene said.

She said that the campaign heard repeatedly from folks who said they were voting for Sanders in the primary but planning to support Clinton in November, should she get the party’s nomination.

“Oregon will unite behind Hilary and against the divisive rhetoric and the things that Donald Trump has been saying just don’t reflect the values of this state,” Schoene said.

Nathan Soltz, vice chair of the Latino caucus of the state’s Democratic Party, said Clinton is the only person he trusts with his future.

“Really, the only thing politically standing between this country and absolute insanity is the Democratic Party,” Soltz said.

Cindy Smith, a U.S. Air Force veteran, said she’s not worried about Clinton’s primary loss in Oregon.

“Just look at the delegate count,” Smith said. “My hope is that people will stand behind her when she’s the nominee.”

Trump supporters gathered in Eugene Tuesday night.

Steven Cook was there and said he supports Trump because he’s a leader.

“Donald Trump is only beholden to the American people,” Cook said.

Cook said he thinks Trump would support the timber industry.

“He knows that there’s a problem there and he wants to do something to fix it,” he said.

Cook said he’s aware that not all Republicans are behind Trump.

“The people have spoken. They say they want Donald Trump as their nominee, at least on the Republican side,” Cook said. “Those who are still supporting Ted Cruz or John Kasich, I think there’s some bitterness and resentment behind that.”

KLCC’s Rachael McDonald contributed to this report.