It's the night we've been begging for and dreading: THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS. And the ever-ready Mercury Election Strike Force™ is hitting the city to cover the night's results, attend the election night parties, and eat ALL the canapés!
Tonight's hottest topics: Kate vs. the Goatee, a back door abortion ban attempt, the fate of Oregon's sanctuary law, a tri-county housing bond, and a city council battle royale between Jo Ann Hardesty and Loretta Smith.
In this rolling post, you'll be enjoying on-the-spot reporting and lots of local color from Mercury Strike Force members Alex Zielinski, Blair Stenvick, Suzette Smith, Bri Brey, photog Meg Nanna, and yours truly, Wm. Steven Humphrey. So stand by, buckle up, and let's see how you voters voted! The first wave of results drops at 8 pm. THE LATEST UPDATE IS DIRECTLY BELOW, and older entries follow. May God (or her equivalent) help us all!
Update 9:45 pm:
LET'S WRAP THIS UP FOR THE NIGHT, SHALL WE? But first, before I take a nice relaxing bath in a tumbler of booze, let's recap the big stories of the night:
• It was a great night for progressives of Oregon with Kate Brown handily beating the goatee of Knute Buehler, and measures to get rid of the state's sanctuary law, a back door abortion ban, and an attempt to stop any future grocery taxes were shot down in flames. Locally, Jo Ann Hardesty won an often contentious battle against Loretta Smith, making her the first Black woman to be on Portland's city council.
• Nationally, the news was more mixed. While Democrats have wrested back control of the House (and will undoubtedly launch a series of investigations against Trump ASAP), Republicans will (as expected) hold on to the Senate and continue doing the evil bidding of our despot-in-chief. A few of the Dem's high-profile hopefuls—Beto O'Rourke, Andrew Gillum, and perhaps Stacey Abrams—are losing their fight to beat Republicans in very tough races, but a crazy number of women and POC candidates have entered the House... which means America is finally on the road to being properly represented by our government. THE CHANGE STARTS NOW, AND WITH US.
Thanks for joining us tonight, and raise your glasses to our terrific Mercury Election Night Strike Force—Alex Zielinski, Blair Stenvick, Suzette Smith, Bri Brey, and photog Meg Nanna—for their roles in bringing you tonight's results and murdering a lot of snacks.
Join us tomorrow morning nice and early for the latest election updates in Good Morning, News!
Update 9:30 pm:
You can watch Governor Kate Brown's victory speech here.
From Alex, who seems a little unusually annoyed by Kate Brown's husband, Dan:
Gov. Brown joins the stage backed by a ton of elementary school kids (probably to symbolize how she plans on improving the state's floundering public school system), and jumps up in down with genuine glee.
"I am literally one of two pro-choice women governors serving in the United States," she reminds the crowd. "Good news is with this election cycle, we tripled the number of Democratic women governors."
Most of her promises are drowned out in roaring cheers and applause—but notes she'll lead the statewide fight for campaign finance reform.
"We've never had someone so disrespectful in the White House. We've learned from this election that Oregon isn't immune to these threats. But thanks to you, we're going to keep Oregon a shining beacon of hope."
She's wearing fly ass black dress shoes with pearls on the heels. PEARLS. She thanks her husband, Dan, and the audience chants "Dan! Dan! Dan!" Dan waves. ENOUGH ABOUT DAN. Kate leaves the stage with her victory song blasting ("Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty) and is engulfed in hugs. Her security team looks nervous. One is sternly holding a rainbow flag that she handed him.—ALEX ZIELINSKI
Also of note...
"I'm so fucking proud of you guys!" - Beto O Rourke in his TX concession speech.
— Todd Zwillich (@toddzwillich) November 7, 2018
Update 9:10 pm:
Meanwhile back at the Jo Ann Hardesty celebration, the victor had some words of joy to share with her fans. Our Blair Stenvick is there:
Jo Ann Hardesty won decisively—and the mood at Holocene is reflective of that fact.
“If they’re calling it this early, it must be a landslide,” one young volunteer said. “We knew it was going to be!”
Hardesty addressed the crowd, sharing a stage with the excellent band she’s got playing the event.
“We have big problems in this city, but I am proud to be joining Commissioner Amanda Fritz, and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly,” she said. “I’m even giddy to be joining Mayor—what’s his name—Ted Wheeler, and Commissioner Nick Fish.”
Hardesty thanked her supporters who “were not swayed by innuendo [or] certified smart people.”
Her victory speech touched on some of her campaign’s key talking points, including that “City Hall should come to you,” and “We can do better than jail cells for people who are homeless.”
Hardesty also recognized the historic nature of her victory, which will make her Portland’s first Black woman city commissioner.
“I want to thank the folks for knowing that there is a difference with Black skin,” she said.
“We’re going to work,” she added. “But we’re going to party first.”—BLAIR STENVICK
Update 9 pm:
Quick catch-up for those just joining us: Kate Brown will remain Oregon's governor, and I'm probably still not done with making fun of Knute's goatee.
The Democratic Party of Oregon's election party is LIT. That's probably because the Oregonian just called the gubernatorial election, and Gov. Kate Brown is staying in the governor's office. "Knute Buehler just made his concession speech!" a woman announces—and the crowd goes nuts. Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are pumping up the crowd before Brown takes the stage. The Hilton Ballroom is filled—probably 200 cheering Brown's victory.
Nationally, some good and not-so-good news: Democratic hopefuls Beto O'Rourke (running against human shit pile Ted Cruz) and Florida's Andrew Gillum (running against utterly corrupt Ron DeSantis) lost their bids to save humanity, while things are not looking great for Georgia's Stacey Abrams. And while the Republicans will retain the Senate, Democrats are inching their way to control of the House, and GUYS! THERE ARE SO MANY WOMEN AND POCs LOCKING UP SEATS ACROSS THE COUNTRY! Be hopeful already!
Update 8:45 pm:
Meanwhile our Suzette Smith is still at the celebratory Yes on Measure 102 party, where she's talking natural disasters and being severely tempted by the demon alcohol:
Grabbing a moment with new Metro prez Lynn Peterson, she says she's been doing a lot of waiting: waiting not only to see if 102 and the bond measure would pass, but also waiting to take office. “It’s been a long seven months!” she says.
Someone else needs her attention so I continue the conversation with Sasha, her transitional manager. Sasha explains that in the event of an emergency (like the fearsome earthquake or perhaps even climate-related disasters), Metro was previously only able to oversee waste. Now they’ll be able to help plan for eventualities to get people back to livability. Sounds great! The party is still raging as people look at other election results and celebrate. I think I’ll sign off so I can start drinking!—SUZETTE SMITH
🏡🏠🏘 THE @OREGONMETRO HOUSING BOND PASSES! $652.8M for the Portland Metro Area to invest in affordable housing.
Can’t wait to work with our regional partners to make the most of this public commitment to our low income families. @YesForHousing #Yes26199 #YesOn102
— Juan Carlos González (@JCGonzalezOR) November 7, 2018
Update 8:40 pm:
Here are some more results you may be interested in:
• It looks like Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici will easily retain their Oregon House seats.
• In the Multnomah County Auditor race, Jennifer McGuirk is leading her competitor, Scott Learn, 55 percent to 44 percent.
• And this just in: THE GOATEE HAS CONCEDED.
Update 8:25 pm:
There's also much celebrating at the Jo Ann Hardesty party...
Update 8:05 pm:
And the first results have dropped:
• Jo Ann Hardesty in her bid for a city council seat is taking an early, and very big lead over Loretta Smith, 62 to 33 percent.
• With 70 percent of the votes counted, Kate Brown leads Knute "Goatee" Buehler, 50-44 percent.
• Measure 102 (affordable housing) is in the lead, 57 percent to 43 percent.
• The measure to reverse Oregon's sanctuary state law is getting CLOBBERED, with 64 percent of Oregonians saying "OH HELL NO."
• And Measure 106 (which would ban public funds for abortion) is also getting its ass beat into the ground, with 66 percent of voters giving it the well-deserved finger.
• Things are looking bad for Measure 103, which would prohibit future grocery taxes, as 58 percent are voting no.
Update 7:59 pm:
Our Blair Stenvick is at Loretta Smith's election party, and files this report:
Loretta Smith’s election party is being held at Billy Webb’s Elk Lodge, which was the only place African Americans could socialize when they moved to Portland during WWII. She isn’t expected to make an appearance until after results roll in at 8 pm.
Folks are eating chicken wings and two different types of macaroni and cheese. The WiFi keeps stalling, so Wolf Blitzer’s face is stuck on the CNN stream on the big-screens.
Andrew Hoan, president of the Portland Business Alliance, is here to support Smith. He said he’ll also be keeping an eye on Measure 105, which the alliance opposes.
Also here is former Multnomah County civil rights compliance officer Robert Phillips, decked out in patriotic garb. He says he supports Smith because he worries about opponent Jo Ann Hardesty would be too divisive along both racial and gender lines.
Still, he recognizes that whoever wins this election, it will be historic, as the victor will be Portland’s first Black female city commissioner.
“It means that there will be a different viewpoint in where the city goes,” he said.—BLAIR STENVICK
Robert Phillips said one reasons he’s supporting Smith is because Hardesty is too divisive among racial and gender lines. He dressed up for the occasion. pic.twitter.com/xzHwNxV6gn
— Blair Stenvick (@BlairStenvick) November 7, 2018
Update 7:55 pm:
Our Alex Zielinski is currently at the Goatee's... excuse me... Knute Buehler's election party, and has all the snack news.
The snacks at Knute Buehler's election party are 90% popcorn. Bowls of popcorn with serving spoons stuck awkwardly in them. WHO EATS POPCORN WITH A SPOON. Rumor has it the booze costs money—and the bar is cash only. The only free handouts here are spoonfuls of popcorn.
A trio of eager young Republicans from Salem are standing around a fancy table nervously awaiting election results. Asked why he supports Buehler, Willamette University student Adam Marl tells me: "Oregonians want to be optimistic." His friend Karmann Roche says the state is divided and Buehler is someone who can "reach across the aisle, unlike our current governor."
They aren't too thrilled with the state-level measures. "As a Republican, I should support some of them— but they're ill- conceived and horribly written," says Marl.—ALEX ZIELINSKI
Update 7:50 pm:
I’m headed to the @LorettaSmithPDX and @joannhardesty election parties, and possibly the @PDXCleanEnergy party as well tonight. Follow @portlandmercury, @alex_zee and @suzettesmith for full Portland election coverage.
— Blair Stenvick (@BlairStenvick) November 7, 2018
Update 7:40 pm:
Our Suzette Smith is at the Yes on Measure 102 party, and has filed this report (as well as this picture of a pile of bread donated by PGE).
The party for Yes for Affordable Housing (Yes on Measure 102 and 26-199) is in a minimalist, open floor plan office on the third floor of a building in Old Town. Let's go straight to the snacks: There are trays of vegetables, crackers, and sandwich meats. There’s wine and beer, and thanks to the little sponsorship placards, you know who’s getting you drunk. While I’m photographing the cheese a lady wearing a “Girl Power” beanie slides up to the counter. “Girl Power needs her energy,”she says jovially.
“Oh, by all means,” I reply and scoot out of her way.
Nick Christensen (who handles communications for the Metro Council) picks me out of the crowd and asks me if I need to talk to anyone. I don’t yet. Mayor Wheeler’s Chief of Staff Mike Cox swoops in suddenly with a weird high five for Christensen and it turns into a wrist grope. He instructs Christensen to look at his elbow (ah, the old elbow trick) and they try again. Commissioner Nick Fish arrives! There’s some talking and thanking. Two people impacted by homelessness or housing instability are about to share personal stories about what housing assistance has done for them. SUZETTE SMITH
Update 7:30 pm:
Before Oregon results start dropping at 8 pm, let's take a quick look at where things are standing nationally. For those just joining us: People are VERY INTERESTED in this election, as exhibited by the 39 million people who voted early or by absentee ballot. As it stands now, Democrats need to flip 23 seats to gain control of Congress, and at this hour that prediction is holding steady. Republicans are expected to hold the Senate, even though Dems only need to gain two seats, while holding on to the 26 they already have. But all of these predictions are guesswork, and we all saw where guesswork got us in 2016. (BOO HOO HOO! MAKE THE BAD MEMORIES GO AWAY!)
Good news so far: Florida passes Amendment 4, which restores voting rights to 1.4 million people with past convictions. Remember Kentucky clerk Kim Davis who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay people? She has been voted out of office. HA HA HA. Meanwhile Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilman Omar of Minnesota have become the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, while beloved New Yorker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman to win a House seat. Colorado's Jared Polis is the nation's first openly gay man to become governor. And just as I'm typing this, NBC predicts Democrats will win back the House. BAM! WHAT!
Not so great news: Indiana Democrat Senator Joe Donnely loses his seat to a Republican, and human trash bin Ted Cruz has been predicted as the winner against Beto O'Rourke in Texas, which may sink any chance of the Dems claiming the Senate.
Okay, that's all very interesting, but let's not forget a very important AND ALL TOO OFTEN OVERLOOKED point (especially here in Oregon) made by the awesome Christie Teigen:
I did but I didn’t get a sticker because it was by mail. Needless to say I am not thrilled and am feeling rather left out. Please kamala, I beg you to make sure all future voters get a sticker so no one else has to feel what I’m feeling, right now https://t.co/KE5V8bU7D7
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) November 6, 2018
Stay tuned for much, much more.