A lot of Oregonians woke up this morning feeling traumatized.
For some, Republican Donald Trump's upset victory stung (although Democrat Hillary Clinton won Oregon 50 percent to 39 percent).
For others, the decisive defeat of Measure 97, the $3 billion tax increase Democrats were counting on fill a budget hole, was nearly as shocking. It went from 60 percent support in a Sept. 8 poll to losing 59 percent 40 percent as of mid-day Wednesday.
But at least one Oregonian woke up this morning with a big smile on her face: state Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn).
Parrish defeated Democrat Paul Southwick last night, despite the fact that he raised more money than she did ($290,000 to $262,000) and despite Democrats holding a healthy 3,000 voter-registration advantage in the district.
Parrish was also the chief sponsor of Measure 96, which allocates 1.5 percent of net Oregon Lottery proceeds to veteran's services. She put the measure on the ballot after years of pushing unsuccessfully for increased funding from the Legislature. Measure 96 passed overwhelmingly, 83 percent to 16 percent—and received far more "yes" votes than any other ballot measure.
Finally, a perhaps most consequentially, Parrish ran the campaign for Secretary of State-Elect Dennis Richardson, the former state representative and unsuccessful 2014 candidate for governor who faced long odds in his race against Democrat Brad Avakian.
Avakian boasted several advantages: he's a former longtime Metro-area lawmaker; he's run state-wide twice and for Congress once and so had name recognition and deep ties to interest groups; he out-spent Richardson $2.4 million to $1.6 million. Most of all, Avakian enjoyed the huge registration advantage Democrats hold over Republicans—270,000 voters.
That's why no Republican had won a secretary of state's race since 1980 and why no Republican candidate had won any Oregon office since 2002.
Yet last night, in a night when Oregon Democrats provided Hillary Clinton a rare win and elected a Democratic governor, attorney general and treasurer, Richardson trounced Avakian 47 percent to 43 percent, a difference, as of 1 pm, of 84,000 votes.
For Richardson, Parrish put together a simple campaign: she focused on Avakian's challenges and minimized the potential impact of Richardson's sometimes extreme social views.
Parrish, who got bounced out of House Republican leadership a few years ago for failing to toe the party line—she came out in favor of same-sex marriage, among other things—says last night's results in the races she was involved in show that voters, regardless of party affiliation, will listen to a message that addresses their concerns.
"Oregon is not a blue or a red state….we're Oregonians first and foremost," she says. "I give credit to Oregon voters for being smart and well-informed. When you run on a platform of solutions they respond to those positive messages and they reward people with a plan for how to improve the lives of Oregon families, regardless of which jersey you wear."