Smith wins county commission seat
Multnomah County voters turned out in high numbers and voted overwhelmingly for former Gov. John Kitzhaber in the Nov. 2 election, enough to overcome Republican Chris Dudley’s majority support in many of the less populated parts of the state.
Statewide, the gubernatorial race was so tight that the Oregon Secretary of State‘s office couldn’t call Kitzhaber the winner until late Wednesday, and results have still been counted and updated over the last week.
Kitzhaber, a Democrat, was elected by a plurality, not a majority, of Oregon’s voters. He received 49.31 percent of the ballots cast statewide, while Republican and former NBA player Chris Dudley took 47.77 percent. In Multnomah County, however, Kitzhaber dealt a stunning defeat to Dudley, taking 70.61 percent of returns.
The candidates spent a combined $15 million on the race to replace Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who is leaving office after the two straight terms allowed by Oregon term limits/
Kitzhaber, who was buoyed by a last-minute visit from President Barack Obama, will face a state budget situation that Kulongoski has described as headed for a cliff. Oregon could see a budget gap of $3 billion in its next two-year budget cycle, and Republican gains in the Legislature will take away Democrats’ majority in the House.
Locally, Loretta Smith won the Multnomah County Commissioner for District No. 2 spot, beating out Karol Collymore 62.14 percent to Collymore’s 36.81 percent.
In addition to being a field director for Oregon’s U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, Smith has served as treasurer for the Oregon Assembly for African American Affairs and the chair of the Oregon Black Political Convention.
Multnomah County voters mostly agreed with the Oregon as a whole for most of the state ballot issues.
However, State Ballot Measure No. 73, which requires increased minimum sentences for certain repeated sex crimes, and incarceration for repeated driving under influence, passed with 56.84 percent of the vote statewide, despite Multnomah County’s 53.61 percent no vote.
For one of the more controversial votes, Measure 74, which would have established medical marijuana supply system and assistance and research programs while allowing the limited selling of marijuana, was defeated statewide, with 55.82 percent of Oregonians voting no. Again, Multnomah County disagreed with the state results, with 58.89 percent wanting the measure to pass.
Both Oregon and Multnomah County both against Measure 75, which would have created a casino at the former dog racing track in Wood Village, with only 31.82 percent statewide voting yes.