Former VP Mike Pence in Hillsboro Today to Address Washington County Republicans

The annual Reagan Dinner comes after a decade of Democratic gains in the state’s second-largest county.

Like other potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates, former Vice President Mike Pence’s political future depends on the whims of his former boss, ex-President Donald Trump. That isn’t stopping him from stumping across the country—including in Oregon.

Pence travels to Hillsboro today to address the Washington County GOP’s annual Reagan Dinner. The event comes the week after Oregon lawmakers finished work on redistricting, a process that showed how dominant Democrats have become in this state.

A decade ago, the last time lawmakers redistricted, the balance of power looked far different—for instance, the Oregon House was evenly split 30-30 in 2011. Today, Democrats hold a 37-23 supermajority in the House and an 18-12 supermajority in the Senate.

One of the biggest shifts in the past decade came in Hillsboro, where Pence will speak.

In 2011, state Sen. Bruce Starr and state Reps. Katie Eyre and Shawn Lindsay, all Republicans, represented Hillsboro in the Legislature. Today, Democrats hold all three of those seats. That’s part of a shift that has seen Democrats’ voter registration advantage in Washington County go from 8 percentage points in September 2011 to 18 percentage points today—and, according to state figures, has seen the number of registered Republicans in Washington County, the state’s second largest, decline by 7,000 voters even as the number of registered voters in the county increased by 115,000.

Republicans in Oregon have struggled over the past decade to find a message that resonates with urban and suburban voters in Oregon. With murder rates sharply higher here and across the country during the pandemic, Pence will trot out a topic—law and order—that the GOP hopes will help them reverse their losses.

According to event organizers, Pence will speak on “the rise in the murder rate and violent crime in cities across the country, support for law enforcement, enforcing the rule of law, ensuring public safety, and conservative efforts Pence led while governor to make Indiana the best place to live and visit.”

Tickets for the event are sold out, but viewers can watch Pence’s speech online at 7 pm.