By contrast to the Presidential race, which ended pretty much as Nate Silver had forecast, the statewide races offered a few modest surprises. No one was caught off balance by all five House members being re-elected, nor by Democratic Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum defeating Republican attorney James Buchal by a wide margin. Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown surprised most of the state's newspapers, and possibly even herself (I haven't asked) by overcoming the series of well-publicized missteps of her office and holding off a strong challenge from Republican Knute Buehler, winning by four points. Bruce Starr's razor-thin lead over appointee Brad Avakian in the BOLI Commissioner race shows the difference that having party names on the ballot makes. Though everyone knows that Mr. Starr is the Republican and Mr. Avakian is the Democrat, the race is nonpartisan and their affiliations did not appear on the ballot. As a result, Mr. Starr's modest lead in name familiarity translated to a narrow edge in the voting. Had their party affiliations appeared on the ballot, likely Mr. Avakian would have won this race by five or six points.
The real action today was in Clackamas County, where voters chose between two slates of candidates for the county commission with different views on how the county should do business with its neighbors, Metro, and TriMet. The voters delivered a mixed message, choosing John Ludlow (anti-Metro) over Charlotte Lehan for the chair of the commission, but giving appointed commissioner Jamie Damon (generally aligned with Ms. Lehan) a full term over former representative Tootie Smith (generally aligned with Mr. Ludlow). Following hard on the County's anti-light-rail and anti-urban-renewal votes, the results suggest that Portland-area voters are sorting themselves out geographically on political lines, and are likely to lead to reducing Metro's influence on the region's growth and development. Compare the Clackamas County results to those in Lake Oswego, where the voters are more financially conservative but less socially conservative than the county average, where voters rejected two of the three anti-Metro candidates for the city council.
I'll have some more analysis of the election after the polls close and the actual results are released, and quite possibly a lot of strikethroughs to insert in these posts.