SALEM — U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz easily won a second term to represent Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District.
As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, Bentz had 66% of the votes, easily defeating challenger Joe Yetter, who had just 33%.
Bentz, a Republican from Ontario, is currently Oregon’s only Republican representative at the federal level.
Yetter, who retired as a colonel in the U.S. Army after serving 36 years, faced an uphill battle to unseat the incumbent. Only two Democrats have held the office in its history — Walter M. Pierce from 1933 to 1943 and Al Ullman from 1957 to 1981.
Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District includes all or part of 20 counties across Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Oregon.
Levy wins reelection to Oregon House
The race for House District 58 proved to be no contest at all.
Incumbent Bobby Levy, R-Echo, easily defeated challenger Jesse Bonifer, a Libertarian from Athena, garnering 82% of the vote. Bonifer managed just 16%.
Levy, a farmer and the president of the Eastern Oregon Women’s Coalition, is wrapping up her first term in office after defeating Nolan Bylenga, of Pendleton, two years ago.
House District 58 includes all of Union and Wallowa counties and a portion of Umatilla County.
Wyden will continue to be Oregon’s senior U.S. senator
Oregon’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Ron Wyden, won reelection easily Tuesday, Nov. 8, defeating Jo Rae Perkins from Albany, a Republican opponent who has never held elected office.
Wyden, who was first elected to the Senate in 1996, chairs the powerful U.S. Senate Finance Committee and also sits on the Energy and Natural Resources, Budget and Intelligence Committees.
As legislative accomplishments, he points to his work on clean energy tax credits — including a key role in the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act — prescription drug price reduction measures, tax reform and boosting the semiconductor manufacturing industry.
Wyden, 73, is known for holding town halls in each of Oregon’s 36 counties, with thousands of those gatherings taking place over the years.
Stephenson easily wins Oregon labor commissioner
Labor attorney Christina Stephenson handily won the race to be Oregon’s next labor commissioner Tuesday, Nov. 8, with early returns showing her securing 60% of the vote. Rival Cheri Helt was far behind in the two-person race, with 39%, and fewer than 1% of the votes going to write-in candidates.
“Oregon should be the best place to live and work in this country, and I’m going to do everything within my power at the Bureau of Labor & Industries to make that a reality,” Stephenson said in a statement.
Measure 114 remains too close to call
SALEM — Oregon Measure 114, which would regulate firearms, remained too close on Nov. 9, with 50.3% of voters approving the measure and 49.6% voting “no” according to preliminary unofficial results.
Measure 114 qualified for the ballot through a petition drive by a coalition of religious and other organizations. It would require people to complete firearms training before they can obtain permits to purchase guns, and limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds each.
It is the first gun regulation initiative on the ballot in 22 years, although the Legislature has passed several measures of its own over the past seven years.
Measure 114 drew the most attention of the four that qualified for the ballot, two by legislative referral, and two others by initiative petition.
Measure 112 passes, removing slavery language from Oregon Constitution
Oregon voters passed a measure that strips language from the state’s constitution allowing for slavery and involuntary servitude when used as a punishment for a crime. Notwithstanding more than 637,000 people voting to keep the language, unofficial returns indicated that the measure was passing by a clear margin.
As of 10 a.m. Nov. 9, the measure had received more than 759,000 votes and held a nine-point lead, 54%-45%.
“Talking with some voters, there was confusion about the measure and whether that language was needed for there to be accountability for people who had committed crimes,” said Sandy Chung, executive director of ACLU of Oregon, which supported Measure 112.
Health care measure trails
Measure 111, which would guarantee access to health care as a right in the Oregon Constitution, remains too close to call after early-morning returns on Nov. 9.
As of 10 a.m. the measure was failing with 703,479 — 50.4% — opposed and 690,313 or 49.5% in favor.
If it passes, Measure 111 would make Oregon the first state in the nation with a constitutional obligation to provide access to affordable health care to all its residents, similar to the constitutional guarantee of a public K-12 education.
The language of the measure states: “It is the obligation of the state to ensure that every resident of Oregon has access to cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care as a fundamental right.”
But Measure 111 does not spell out what the state would have to do to meet its new constitutional obligation, were the measure to pass, or define what access to affordable health care means. Were the measure to pass, it would be up to the Legislature to shape what health care access for all looks like and how to pay for it. The Legislature will be back in session starting in January.
Measure 113, passes punishing lawmakers who walk out
Oregon voters appear to have impaired the ability of state lawmakers in the minority party to block contentious bills by fleeing the Capitol, a maneuver Republicans employed in 2019 and 2020.
Measure 113, pushed by public employee unions and supported by top Democrats, was headed for passage by a wide margin after early returns.
Voters backed the concept 67%-32% in partial returns tallied as of 10 a.m. Nov. 9.
The measure adds language to the Oregon Constitution preventing any lawmaker from running for reelection if they have 10 or more unexcused absences in a single legislative session. It also prevents such lawmakers from winning office in the other legislative chamber.
Measure 113 was conceived as a way to get around Oregon’s constitutional quorum requirement, which requires two-thirds of lawmakers in a chamber to be present in order to conduct business. That’s a higher bar than exists in many states, which often require a mere majority of lawmakers present to achieve a quorum.