Oregon Republicans Make History
Salem, OR -- A strong sense of jubilation washed over the Salem Convention Center on Election Night, as Oregon Republicans celebrated a string of impressive successes.
Television news vans started parking outside the Convention Center hours in advance of the victory celebration hosted by gubernatorial candidate and Salem oncologist Bud Pierce and former longtime state representative Dennis Richardson. Oregon Republican Party (ORP) Chairman Bill Currier, Executive Director Margie Hughes, Secretary Chris Barreto and Treasurer Jeff Grossman were all in attendance, along with many legislators and local elected officials.
Radio shows broadcast live from the Convention Center as the first round of results poured in from the East Coast. There weren’t many surprises early on, with Trump winning Kentucky and Indiana and starting the night ahead in the Electoral College 19-3. It was a lead he would hold for most of the night on his way to being elected the 45th President of the United States.
Fox News displayed the national results on large screens as television news crews set up their equipment. They soon included the development that Trump carried more states—West Virginia and South Carolina—to bring him up to a 33-3 lead.
Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton were nearly neck and neck as of 5 p.m., but those numbers began to shift again as the Republican nominee won more states.
People began to trickle into the Convention Center as the party’s seven o’clock start time drew near. One hour later, the first results from Oregon were released. The energy and enthusiasm in the room became palpable as Richardson opened up a lead over Democrat and current Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and controversial multi-billion dollar business ballot Measure 97 was shown to be losing in a landslide.
Pierce gave a brief concession speech around nine o’clock, earning a standing ovation from the hundreds in attendance. He invoked the memories of great Oregon Republican leaders like the late former governors Vic Atiyeh and Tom McCall, and said it’s important for the party to “broaden our tent” to welcome minorities.
Richardson then took to the stage as the Man of the Hour.
“We are making history in more ways than one,” Richardson said.
He vowed to never forget his supporters and what they accomplished this election and pledged to use the Secretary of State’s office to make state government “more accountable, transparent and trustworthy for all Oregonians.”
Richardson said that under his administration, the audits division of the Secretary of State’s office will ensure that taxpayer dollars are well-spent. He said that its elections division will recognize third parties and treat all citizen initiatives fairly. The corporate division will “roll out the red carpet” for private businesses instead of trying to audit them, Richardson said.
Government employees will be better able to report what they see within state agencies, Richardson added, as whistleblowers will be protected from retaliation.
Also having a good night was Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn). Aside from winning re-election to her state House seat, Parrish was instrumental in the statewide passage of Measure 96, to provide better services to veterans. Parrish, a military spouse, has worked hard on that issue for many of the past few legislative sessions.
Richardson praised Parrish for recruiting him to run for Secretary of State. Minutes later, the Oregonian newspaper called the race for Richardson, resulting in thunderous applause from attendees. He stood on the stage surrounded by his wife Cathy and their daughters amid a sea of wide grins and glee.
The end of the evening approached rapidly as wait staff scrambled to clear the Convention Center and the live band concluded its set. Trump’s Electoral College lead of 254-218 held and was eventually put over the top when the key swing state of Pennsylvania was called for him.
Downtown Salem was almost eerily quiet as midnight approached and the Convention Center emptied. But it wasn’t too late to hear Trump on the radio making his acceptance speech while driving home from a triumphant election for Republicans in Oregon and throughout the United States.
W. Scott Jorgensen began his career as an award-winning small-town newspaper reporter for various publications throughout Oregon. He was also a news director and talk show host for the Grants Pass Broadcasting Corporation and a field organizer for a successful statewide ballot measure campaign in 2012. Jorgensen has worked in the Oregon House of Representatives and is currently the chief of staff for an Oregon Senate office. He lives in Wilsonville with his wife and children.
The Oregon Republican Party is the state’s arm of the Republican National Committee. It’s Chairman and officers are dedicated to preserving and advancing Republican principles within the state of Oregon and to improving the lives and livelihoods of Oregon’s working families through economic freedom and equal protection under the law.
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