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Democrats Make Gains In Oregon Legislature

M.O. Stevens

Democrats in the Oregon legislature fared far better in Tuesday's elections than their counterparts in Congress.

Credit M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia

The latest tally shows Democrats picking up one seat in the Oregon House and at least one seat in the Oregon Senate. One other state Senate seat is still up in the air.

On their own, the results are not earth-shattering. Democrats will hold slightly larger majorities than before in both the Oregon House and Senate next year -- 35-25 in the house and 17-13 in the Senate.

In the Senate the wider margin will give Democrats more breathing room. It previously took just one defection to erase the Democratic majority. But Senate president Peter Courtney isn't ready to make any promises about what his party might pass next year.

"I do think there's a chance that we'll be able to move some things to the floor and get the necessary votes that we couldn't the last time around,” he said. “But I'm not going to tell you what they are because I don't know right now."

The legislative victories for Oregon Democrats went against a national trend. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Democrats are now at their lowest point of legislative control nationwide in nearly a century.

In Olympia, Republicans solidified their control of the Washington state Senate. In Idaho, the GOP retains a firm grip on both legislative chambers.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.