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Sen.-elect Suzanne Weber will represent Betsy Johnson's old district. Republicans also won two local House races.

COURTESY PHOTO: SUZANNE WEBER FOR STATE SENATE - State Rep. Suzanne Weber, R-Tillamook, won a battleground Senate district Tuesday, Nov. 8, that had been long held by Columbia County Democrats.Although they fell short of winning majorities in the Legislature and lost their 11th consecutive gubernatorial election, Oregon Republicans could chalk up two big victories in Columbia County last Tuesday, Nov. 8, as they flipped House and Senate seats long represented by Columbia County Democrats.

Republicans have been making gains in Columbia County for the past several election cycles. St. Helens, once a reliably Democratic town in which labor unions were influential, has flipped solidly Republican. Scappoose, closer within Portland's orbit and home to a growing number of tech jobs, has moved in the other direction, but not strongly enough to counter the broader trends in Columbia County.

Senate

Voters in Senate District 16, which also includes Clatsop County and parts of Tillamook, Washington, Yamhill and Multnomah counties, chose state Rep. Suzanne Weber, R-Tillamook, over Warren home health nurse Melissa Busch.

The freshman lawmaker will receive a promotion from the House to the Senate just two years after flipping a long-Democratic House seat on the North Coast.

Weber described herself as "excited and honored" to be elected to the Senate in a post shared with supporters on Facebook.

Senate District 16 was long held by Betsy Johnson. The conservative Democrat and aviation company owner, who lives in Warren, left the Democratic Party and stepped down from the Legislature late last year to run for governor as a non-affiliated candidate.

Because Johnson was last elected as a Democrat, county commissioners were required to appoint a fellow Democrat to fill the vacancy.

Although Busch applied for the appointment, a majority of commissioners from across Senate District 16 instead chose former legislative aide Rachel Armitage, who promised not to run in the election. A few liberal county commissioners, mainly in Washington and Multnomah counties, voted to appoint Busch instead.

Weber defeated Busch by more than 13 percentage points, winning 56.6% of the vote to 43.3% for Busch.

Weber currently represents House District 32 and was mayor and a city councilor in Tillamook.

House

Republicans were nching closer to flipping House District 31 over the past few elections.

On Tuesday, the third time was the charm for Columbia City's Brian G. Stout.

Stout was the Republican nominee in 2018 and 2020 against Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie. He fell short by just a few hundred votes two years ago.

Witt attempted to run for a House seat in Salem after redistricting last year shifted strongly Democratic Portland suburbs out of House District 31, in exchange for conservative rural western Washington County. Witt lost to Salem City Councilor Tom Andersen in the primary.

Andersen won election in House District 19 last Tuesday by just under 10 points.

Meanwhile, in House District 31, Stout won a resounding victory over Scappoose Democrat Anthony Sorace, 59.5% to 40.3%.

Stout is a graphics and printing production specialist and Republican precinct committee person in Columbia County, and Sorace, software and systems engineer and Columbia County Democratic Party chair.

House District 31 includes a small part of Multnomah County, as well as western Washington County and a sliver of Yamhill County.

Clatskanie moved into neighboring House District 32 with redistricting. With Weber running for Senate instead, Republicans nominated Tillamook dentist Cyrus B. Javadi, who won a close race over Tillamook Democrat Logan Laity, 51.3% to 48.6%. Laity conceded the race Tuesday evening, Nov. 15.

All results are unofficial until certified. Oregon now allows voters to mail their ballot on Election Day and have it be counted, so votes were continuing to be counted into this week.


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