Sal Peralta notes at Oregon Independent that 33 out of Oregon's 75 legislative races will not be contested in November 2008. In other words, only one candidate filed in each of those districts--either one Democrat or one Republican. This includes 8 out of 15 Oregon Senate races and 25 out of 60 races in the Oregon House. I assume that all of the uncontested races involve incumbents.
Why are 44% of the legislative races uncontested? Because Oregon's lack of any limits on political contributions (a feature shared with only 2 other states) makes campaigns here so expensive that otherwise promising candidates can see from the outset that they cannot compete with the incumbents, who are raking in millions of dollars in campaign contributions from corporations (mainly) and unions (secondarily). The average contested Senate race in 2006 cost the winner over $500,000. The average contested House race in 2006 cost the winner over $300,000.
The other reason is gerrymandering of legislative districts, so that most of them are either lopsided in Democratic registration or in Republican registration.
For these 44% of legislative races in Oregon with only one major party candidate, the only competition will come from minor party candidates, like those that will be nominated by the Independent Party of Oregon. The party can nominate candidates as early as June 6 and as late as August 26, 2008.
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