Oregon Dems could lose state house and senate ‘supermajority’ in key races

SOUTHERN OREGON, Ore. – There is a lot riding on tonight’s results for both Republicans and Democrats.

With one race in Southern Oregon, that potentially, could end a “supermajority” for Democrats in the state senate.

For the last four years, Democrats have controlled Oregon’s house and senate with a ‘supermajority‘.

But in this election, races across the state could change that.

“Prognosticators, pollsters, whatever you want to call it, are anticipating a quote on quote red wave,” Lobbyist and former Medford state representative John Watt said. “Now how that affects the down ballot things in state legislator, county commissions, we won’t know until probably sometime on Thursday.”

In Oregon, the state house or senate must get three-fifths of members to vote ‘yes’ to pass a tax bill.

Meaning, if one party has 60% majority in either legislative branch, they have a supermajority and can force a bill through, without bipartisan support.

Currently, Democrats hold 37 seats in the house, Republicans have 23.

In the senate, Democrats have 18 seats, while Republicans hold 10 seats.

Oregon lobbyist Patrick Sieng believes we could see a shift for Democrats in the senate. 

“I would say just the numbers we’ve seen, folks we’re talking to, the momentum on the senate side, they’re bound to lose the supermajority there,” he said.

Losing either two house seats or one seat in the senate will spell the end of the Democrats supermajority for the next two years.

One of the key races to watch in the senate is right here in Southern Oregon.

Incumbent Democrat Jeff Golden is running against Republican Medford Mayor Randy Sparacino in District 3.

A key seat, Watt said, Republicans are hoping to flip.

“That senate race that is really going to turn the tide and have statewide implications,” he said. “If Democrats hold all the other seats and this one flips, to Republican, then their supermajority is gone.”

In the house, Watt said he would be surprised if Democrat representative Pam Marsh lost her race to Republican Sandra Abercrombie.

However, 26 out of the 90 members of the legislature previously elected decided not to run again this year.

Which could make for some unexpected results.

“Virtually one third of the entire legislature is going to be up for grabs,” Watt said. “So that’s kind of hard to predict.”

We’ll have coverage of the District 3 state senate race and every key Oregon races on KOBI’s website.

NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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