On November 6, 2012, the U.S. state of Oregon held statewide general elections for four statewide offices (secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, and commissioner of labor), both houses of the Oregon Legislative Assembly, and several state ballot measures.
The primary elections were held on May 15, 2012. Both elections also included national races for President of the United States and five U.S. House Representatives. Numerous local jurisdictions â" cities, counties, and regional government entities â" held elections for various local offices and ballot measures on these days as well.
President of the United States
Democratic incumbent Barack Obama defeated his Republican opponent Mitt Romney in the national presidential election. In Oregon, the voters also chose Obama, giving him all of Oregon's 7 electoral votes.
United States House of Representatives
All five of Oregon's seats in the United States House of Representatives were up for re-election in 2012. All five incumbents ran for and won re-election, including Democrat Suzanne Bonamici who won a special election in District 1 earlier in the year to replace Democrat David Wu.
Incumbent Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, first elected in 2008, announced in October 2011 that he would not seek a second term, citing undisclosed medical issues. In April 2012, he announced would resign his office in June to become president of Reed College. On June 29, Democrat Ellen Rosenblum was sworn in as interim Attorney General. Rosenblum, a former judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals, also defeated former U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton in the Democratic primary and will compete for a full term in November against Republican attorney James Buchal, who had a successful write-in campaign in the Republican primary.
- Dwight Holton, former interim U.S. Attorney for Oregon
- Ellen Rosenblum, former Oregon Court of Appeals judge
No Republican filed to run in the primary, but a few weeks before the primary election, party officials sent postcards to Republicans urging them to write in Portland lawyer James Buchal. Buchal qualified for the general election with more than half the more than 25,000 write-in votes cast.
- James Buchal (Republican), attorney
- Chris Henry (Progressive), truck driver
- James E. Leuenberger (Constitution, Libertarian), attorney
- Ellen Rosenblum (Democrat), interim Attorney General, former Oregon Court of Appeals judge
Secretary of State
Incumbent Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, first elected in 2008, is seeking a second term. She defeated perennial candidate Paul Damian Wells in the Democratic primary and faces Republican orthopedic surgeon Knute Buehler in the general election. Buehler was unopposed in the Republican primary and also won the Independent Party nomination.
- Kate Brown, incumbent
- Paul Damian Wells, machinist
- Knute Buehler, surgeon
Independent Party of Oregon
Oregon allows candidates to be cross-nominated by up to three political parties. The Independent Party of Oregon holds a month-long online primary to select which candidate receives their nomination. The party chose candidates in a number of legislative and local races but only one statewide race, Secretary of State.
- Kate Brown, incumbent
- Knute Buehler, surgeon
- Kate Brown (Democrat, Working Families), incumbent
- Knute Buehler (Republican, Independent), orthopedic surgeon
- Bruce Alexander Knight (Libertarian), store manager
- Robert Wolfe (Progressive), wine salesman
- Seth Woolley (Pacific Green), software engineer
Incumbent Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler was appointed to the position in March 2010 following the death of Ben Westlund. Wheeler subsequently won a November 2010 special election to complete the remainder of Westlund's term. He is seeking re-election to a full term in 2012. Tom Cox, a management consultant who ran for Governor as the Libertarian nominee in 2002, won the Republican nomination as a write-in candidate.
- Ted Wheeler, incumbent
No Republican filed to run in the primary, but a few weeks before the primary election, party officials sent postcards to Republicans urging them to write in Tom Cox, who won 5% of the vote as the Libertarian candidate for Governor in 2002. Cox won the majority of the more than 24,000 write-in votes to advance to the November general election.
- Tom Cox (Republican), management consultant
- John F. Mahler (Libertarian), retired plant engineer
- Michael Paul Marsh (Constitution), retired landscaper, custodian, and paralegal
- Ted Wheeler (Democrat, Working Families), incumbent
- Cameron Whitten (Progressive), student
The Oregon Commissioner of Labor serves as the head of the state Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), and is a nonpartisan position. Brad Avakian, a Democrat who has served as Commissioner since 2008, is running for re-election. Republican state Senator Bruce Starr is challenging Avakian.
- Brad Avakian, incumbent
- Bruce Starr, state senator
The Democrats had a 16â"14 majority in the Oregon State Senate in the previous session. 16 of the 30 senate seats were up for election. In the Oregon House of Representatives, which was evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, all 60 seats were up for election. Democrats retained their 16â"14 majority in the Senate, and took a 34â"26 majority in the House.
Nine measures appeared on the November ballot. Two were legislative referrals, four were initiated constitutional amendments, and three were initiated state statutes.
Referred by the legislature. Amends Constitution: Governor may declare "catastrophic disaster;" requires legislative session; authorizes suspending specified constitutional spending restrictions.
Referred by the legislature. Amends Constitution: Changes constitutional language describing governmental system of separation of powers; makes grammatical and spelling changes.
Initiated constitutional amendment. Amends Constitution: Prohibits real estate transfer taxes, fees, other assessments, except those operative on December 31, 2009.
Initiated statute. Allows personal marijuana, hemp cultivation/use without license; commission to regulate commercial marijuana cultivation/sale.
Initiated statute. Prohibits commercial non-tribal fishing with gillnets in Oregon "inland waters," allows use of seine nets.
Initiated constitutional amendment. Amends Constitution: authorizes establishment of privately owned casinos; mandates percentage of revenues payable to dedicated state fund.
Initiated statute. Authorizes privately owned Wood Village Casino at the closed Multnomah Greyhound Park; mandates percentage of revenues payable to dedicated state fund.
Initiated statute. Phases out existing inheritance taxes on large estates, and all taxes on intra-family property transfers.
Initiated constitutional amendment. Amends Constitution: allocates corporate income/excise tax "kicker" refund to additionally fund Kâ"12 public education.
- Elections in Oregon
- Elections Division at the Oregon Secretary of State
- Oregon at Ballotpedia
- Oregon judicial elections, 2012 at Judgepedia
- Oregon 2012 campaign finance data from Follow the Money
- Oregon Congressional Races in 2012 campaign finance data from OpenSecrets.org
- Outside spending at the Sunlight Foundation