Your Weekend Reader for Nov. 12-13

by | Nov 12, 2022 | 2022 Elections, Weekend Reader | 1 comment

Not too long ago, I figured that the midterm elections were shaping up as a disaster for Democrats — that the party’s candidates across the country would get swamped by inflation worries and President Joe Biden’s underwater approval ratings. As we now know, I was wrong — even though Republicans seem likely to win control of the House of Representatives (but be careful, Kevin McCarthy, about what you wish for), Democrats fared much better than expected. The New York Times, as The New York Times does, interviewed more than 70 people to come up with this account of what happened in the 2022 midterms. (The story is exclusive to Times subscribers, but if you want to read it, leave me a comment below and I’ll send you one of my “gift” links.)

With all that said, Seth Meyers isn’t too far off the mark with this “Closer Look” segment from the Thursday edition of “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” The Meyers piece also features more laughs than the Times story.

But be careful about reading too much about the GOP establishment suddenly turning on former President Donald Trump, David Graham warns in this new piece from The Atlantic: It’s happened before, and GOP leaders always have crawled back to Trump. The piece is available only to Atlantic subscribers. Trump, by the way, is expected to announce his 2024 presidential candidacy on Tuesday.

Speaking of elections, I was fascinated to see how ranked choice voting would play out in the Corvallis elections, but I have to confess: I completely misjudged the three-way mayoral election. I thought former Ward 2 Councilor Roen Hogg had a shot at winning 50% on the first ballot, which would have ended the election right there. Instead, Hogg finished third, with about 27% of the first-choice votes. Former Ward 2 Councilor Charles Maughan finished with about 38% of the first-choice votes, and former Ward 9 Councilor Andrew Struthers was second, with about 34%.

Here’s what happens now: Hogg, as the third-place candidate, is eliminated from the race. Then the second-choice selections on ballots that listed Hogg as their first choice are added to the tallies for Maughan and Struthers.

It isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Here’s how it works: Hogg earned 5,406 first-choice votes, according to the most recent numbers posted on the Secretary of State’s website. Presumably, most of those ballots also listed a second choice. Second-choice ballots for Maughan are added to Maughan’s total. Second-choice ballots for Struthers are added to Struthers’ total. When that happens — and elections officials in the county are wisely waiting for all the ballots to finally arrive — we’ll have a winner.

If the second-choice ballots more or less split down the middle, Maughan, who currently has a lead of about 700 votes, wins. Struthers needs about 57% of Hogg’s second-choice ballots to overtake Maughan, if my math is right. That seems like a challenging hurdle, but it’s not insurmountable. I’ll probably have more to say about ranked choice voting — which I like very much, for a number of reasons — early next week on the blog.

On another election note, I was surprised at the narrow victory for Measure 114, the gun-control initiative. Despite the electoral win, considerable doubt surrounds about how the measure will be implemented — and there’s a possibility that it may never go into effect. Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian/OregonLive explains why. And if you’re looking for more evidence of Oregon’s urban-rural divide, consider this: The measure passed in seven of Oregon’s most urban counties — and was rejected in the state’s remaining 29 counties.

Did you vote this election? If so, you may be a solid citizen — at least according to this survey from the Pew Research Center, which found that about seven in 10 Americans believe it’s important to vote to be a good member of society. As it turns out, that’s about the same percentage of Benton County residents who voted in the midterms — Benton County turnout was 73.25%. That’s the third-best turnout in Oregon, behind a pair of conservative counties: Wheeler County boasted a 78.1% turnout, and Grant County had 74.3% turnout, so the inescapable conclusion is that solid citizens live there as well. The overall statewide turnout, 58.2%, is troubling.

Finally this week — and the week’s only nonelection item — here’s Tish Harrison Warren in The New York Times, writing about the case for hibernation during winter — a case I felt the need for strongly last Sunday, when Corvallis was hit with that snowstorm and the sun, thanks to the first day of standard time, set before 5 p.m. (The piece is exclusive to Times subscribers, but I would be happy to “gift” you a link to the piece — it’s one of the perks of my Times subscription — if you leave me your email address in the comments below.)

That’s it for this weekend. We’ll convene again next weekend.

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