By editorial board • 

This year's Oregon primary marked by thoughtful voting

Tuesday night’s election returns were marked by numerous unexpected twists and turns, some of which suggest shifting fortunes may be in the wind for the November general election, and perhaps elections to come.

Here in Yamhill County, where three terms seems the norm, Commissioner Allen Springer was found wanting after just one. 

An abrasive and confrontational personal style seemed to wear out its welcome, particularly in McMinnville, where turnout ran 10 percent higher than Newberg.

The presidential election proved a much bigger draw for Democrats, enabling them to out-poll Republicans in Yamhill County for the first time in at least two decades. And while commission races are non-partisan, Springer has made no secret of his staunch GOP allegiance.

Aided and abetted by two like-minded commissioners, swept in on a Tea Party tide two years ago, he may simply have overplayed his hand. He made no pretense of representing the full range of local constituents, which served to narrow his base.

McMinnville Mayor Rick Olson promised a steadier hand and mellower style, and he ran on a 35-year record of constructive civic contribution. That made him an easy choice for those harboring concerns about Springer’s militancy and stridency.

We endorsed Olson, as did the Newberg Graphic. But we were surprised to see him dispatch Springer with such apparent ease. We were also surprised to see:

n Political newcomer Bud Pierce, whom we also endorsed, sweep past political veteran Allen Alley to seize the GOP gubernatorial nomination. The Salem physician has a highly appealing style and backstory, and is moderate enough to command serious crossover appeal in a state long dominated by Democrats.

n Springer’s Clackamas County counterpart, Commission Chair John Ludlow, finding himself running a distant second to moderate challenger Jim Bernard. That outcome offers yet another signal, perhaps, that voters are tiring of ideological fervor and accompanying bombast.

n Moderate Ted Wheeler bury a crowded field to claim outright victory in the Portland mayor’s race. Kudos to Portland voters for sending Charlie Hales packing after a single failed term and rallying behind what clearly seems the best-qualified successor.

n Democrat Ken Moore ring up significantly more votes than Republican Ron Noble in their unopposed runs in Yamhill County’s House District 24, which has come to balance in registration after many years of Republican domination. Moore has been running almost non-stop for more than four years now, so Noble, former McMinnville police chief, has a lot of catching up to do if the GOP is to hold the seat in November.

n McMinnville and Yamhill-Carlton school bond issues given such commanding votes of approval. Taxpayers are to be congratulated for recognizing a need and stepping up to meet it in convincing fashion.

All in all, Tuesday night’s voting seemed to reflect more moderation, greater acceptance of responsibility and more focus on personal qualities over ideology. And we find that positive on all counts.

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