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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Democratic Party of Oregon
Chairperson Meredith Wood Smith
Senate leader Peter Courtney
House leader Dave Hunt
Founded 1859 (1859)
Headquarters 232 NE 9th Ave, Portland, OR, USA, 97232-2915
Ideology American liberalism, progressivism, center-left
International affiliation Alliance of Democrats[1]
Official colors Blue
Politics of the United States
Political parties

The Democratic Party of Oregon, based in Portland, is the official Oregon affiliate of the US-American Democratic Party. It is recognized by the state of Oregon as a major political party, along with the Oregon Republican Party. The state Central Committee, made up of two delegates elected from each of Oregon's 36 counties and one additional delegate for every 15,000 registered Democrats, is the main authoritative body of the party.[2]


Current number of members



The party's first convention was held in Salem on April 20, 1859. Bitterly divided over the issue of slavery,[4] the convention nominated Lansing Stout, supported by pro-slavery factions led by Joseph Lane,[5] for the United States House of Representatives over incumbent Democrat La Fayette Grover.


As prescribed by Oregon state statutes governing major political parties, the party comprises all registered voters designating their party affiliation as Democrat. In each biennial primary election conducted in even-numbered years, such affiliated voters elect members from each precinct to their respective county's central committee, which in turn elects delegates to a state convention, charged with organizing the party at the state level, and arranging for the day-to-day conduct of the party. These county central committees also send delegates to the standing committees of their respective congressional districts, which support their constituent county central committees and coordinate district-wide party activities and campaigns.



  • Chair: Meredith Wood Smith
  • 1st Vice-Chair: Frank Dixon
  • 2nd Vice-Chair: Jill Thorn
  • Secretary: Becky Gladstone
  • Treasurer: Laura Calvo

Party caucuses

The state party officially recognizes ten party caucuses formed to address specific political issues in their constituent communities:

  • Black Caucus
  • Faith Caucus
  • GLBT Caucus
  • Gun Owners' Caucus
  • Latino Caucus
  • Motorcycle Caucus
  • Rural Caucus
  • Senior Caucus
  • Veterans' Caucus
  • College Democrats' Caucus

Para-party organizations

A variety of organizations of Oregon Democrats have been organized to promote particular issues, causes, or factions within the party, or conversely, to promote Democratic Party initiatives and candidates within particular potential constituency groups. These include neighborhood or local "Democratic Clubs" and Oregon Democrats for Life among others. They have no official standing within the party.

National officeholders

Of the seven delegates Oregon sends to the United States Congress, six of them are Democrats. In the current Congress, Oregon's two senators are Democrats Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and the four Democrats of the five House representatives are Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader, and David Wu. In the November 2008 general elections for the 111th Congress, Merkley, then the speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, defeated incumbent Republican Senator Gordon Smith, and then–state senator Schrader was elected to succeed retiring Democratic Representative Darlene Hooley.

State officeholders

Oregon's governor is Democrat Ted Kulongoski, re-elected in 2006 for his second consecutive term. Each of the other statewide partisan offices are also occupied by Democrats: Secretary of State Kate Brown, State Treasurer Ben Westlund, and Attorney General John Kroger.

2006 elections

Going into the 2006 elections, Democrats occupied all four of the state's partisan executive offices and held a majority in the Oregon State Senate, but were in the minority in the Oregon House of Representatives. Of the statewide office-holders, only Governor Ted Kulongoski was up for re-election. Not only was he successful in that bid, but Democrats were elected to a slim majority in the House. All four of Oregon's Democratic United States House representatives were re-elected.

2008 elections

In the 2008 elections, Democrats gained a three-fifths majority in the state house and maintained the same majority in the senate despite losing a seat to the Republicans. This majority in both chambers of the Oregon Legislative Assembly is needed to pass bills that raise revenue, as required by Article IV §25 of the state constitution. Democrats maintained control of all state partisan executive offices. They held all four of Oregon's five federal congressional seats, including a retiring Democrat's seat, and unseated Oregon's Republican senator, the only one from the West Coast and the only Republican occupying an office representing the whole of Oregon.


  1. ^ As affiliate of national Democratic Party.
  2. ^
  3. ^ retrieved on 11/17/09
  4. ^ Carey, 1922, pp. 630–631.
  5. ^ Carey, 1922, p. 631.


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