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Senate District 11 election results indicate the displaced Republican will prevail

COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON LEGISLATURE - Redistricting of Senate District 11 includes Keizer, North Salem, Woodburn and points in between.State Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, who ran for reelection in a different district than the one she has traditionally served, will be serving her next term for residents of Senate District 11.COURTESY PHOTO - State Sen. Kim Thatcher

Marion County Elections Clerk's Office election results posted going into Veterans Day weekend showed Thatcher maintaining a roughly 52.45% to 47.3% lead over Democrat Richard Walsh, a Salem attorney and former Keizer city councilor. Going into the weekend, Thatcher had 19,592 votes to Walsh's 17,662 with a total of 37,352 votes counted. Updated totals are anticipated to be posted Monday.

"Yes, votes are still coming in, but I am looking forward to working for the people of Senate District 11," Thatcher said Wednesday afternoon.

Walsh didn't anticipate any significant changes in the vote tally percentages.

"The voters have spoken and have picked Sen. Thatcher as the next senator for District 11. I congratulate Sen. Thatcher on her victory, and I wish her the very best over the next four years serving in the Senate," Walsh said.COURTESY PHOTO: WALSH CAMPAIGN - Former Keizer City Councilor Richard Walsh

The seat currently is served by longtime Democratic leader Peter Courtney who decided not seek reelection earlier this year. Thatcher ran for the seat after being redistricted out of her current Senate District 13.

Courtney has served in the Senate District 11 seat since 1999 and has been the Senate president since 2003. In 2018 he was reelected with 22,772 votes to challenger Greg Warnock's 14,760.

Thatcher was reelected to her District 13 seat in 2018 with 34,888 votes to Sara Grider's 27,415. That district includes parts of four counties — Clackamas, Marion, Washington and Yamhill — and the senator won in each, including a 10,653 to 6,543 advantage in Marion County within which the current District 11 borders are drawn.

The district's complexion seemingly favored Democrats, but the largest block of voters are non-ffiliated. Data provided by the Marion County Election Clerk's Office shows that SD 11 voter registration among two major parties favors the Democrats: there are 23,106 registered Democrats and 18,654 registered Republicans. Those numbers indicate that more that 48% of registered Republicans voted in the primary, while just over 37% of Democrats cast a vote for one of the three Democrats on the primary ballot.

County data further shows that there are 81,037 total registered voters in SD 11, including 3,507 Independents and 34,157 non-affiliated voters. The remainder belong to various smaller parties.

While Thatcher's win flips SD 11 to the Republicans, the district of her incumbency which she was zoned out of, District 13, appears to be flipping as well. Oregon Secretary of State elections numbers on Friday showed Democrat Aaron Woods defeating Republican John D. Velez by a 58% to 42% margin.

Earlier in the campaign Thatcher told Pamplin Media Group that her priorities going forward are education, fighting inflation and stopping crime, homelessness and mental health issues, which she said are sweeping the state, making it lawless and less safe.

She further said that by serving as the SD 11 representative, she would balance Oregon's lopsided legislative power structure.

Walsh expressed gratitude to his supporters and said he plans to remain politically active.

"While I had hoped for a different outcome, I am very proud of all the supporters who have helped me throughout this entire campaign," Walsh said, specifically citing his campaign team, supporters, volunteers, donors, canvassers, friends, family and the county's precinct committee representatives. "I would also like to thank all the voters who took the time to vote. Finally, I would like to thank Allison, my fiance, who supported my decision to file and encouraged me every step of the way.

"I threw my hat in the ring because I cared deeply about the community and because of my family value of doing the best I can, with what I have, while I have it. This election loss is not going to change any of that," he added.

"I will continue to fight for those issues that residents of District 11 care about the most, including the homelessness and health care crisis and the need for campaign finance reform. I still believe that if we could just find a way to work together, that we can still make a difference."

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- Thatcher, Walsh vie in state senate race

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