Can a Republican win District 1?
PORTLAND -- Voters elected Democrat Suzanne Bonamici to Oregon's 1st Congressional District to replace Congressman David Wu.
With more than 207,000 votes counted, Bonamici had won 54 percent of the vote and Republican Rob Cornilles had 40 percent. Progressive party candidate Steven Reynolds and Libertarian candidate James Foster each had 3 percent of the vote.
Bonamici will be sworn in on Feb. 7th.
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"The one thing I hope we can all take from this election is our desire to move past party politics," said Bonamici in her acceptance speech Tuesday night. Bonamici thanked her family, her campaign team and their families, and told the crowd. "I am so proud and grateful the tireless hours you gave," she said.
Rob Cornilles addressed his supporters Tuesday night, and offered congratulations to his opponent.
"I congratulate Suzanne Bonamici for becoming our next congresswoman," Cornilles said. "We have a very fine person ... who will represent us and I certainly put my confidence in her and hope you will join us and the entire congressional district to make us proud in Washington D.C."
KGW political analyst Len Bergstein said "ultimately Bonamici ran a better campaign" which won over independent voters, padding a Democratic registration margin of 11 percent in District 1.
The race between Cornilles and Bonamici included an onslaught of negative television ads.
Oregon's 1st Congressional District is the state's economic engine, encompassing downtown Portland and the fast-growing western suburbs that are home to the Silicon Forest high-tech hub and the global headquarters for athletic-wear giants Nike Inc. and Columbia Sportswear Company. It stretches across agricultural communities to the Pacific coast.
Parts of five Oregon counties are included in the district, including Washington, Clatsop, Columbia, Yamhill and Multnomah counties.
Wu was a seven-term Democrat who stepped down last year following a string of bizarre news stories that began with photos of the congressman wearing a tiger costume. He was also involved in a traffic accident. His resignation came after a young woman's accusation that he made an unwanted sexual advance.
“Oregonians have called on Suzanne Bonamici to serve, and it is with great pride that we’ll watch our new congresswoman get to work for the people of this district,” Oregon Democrat spokesperson Meredith Wood said. “ Suzanne’s promise of new leadership resonated with voters who valued her unmatched integrity, passion for the issues and record of fighting for middle-class Oregon families and seniors.”
Cornilles, 47, a sports business consultant, made a second bid for the seat after losing to Wu in 2010. He tried hard to extend to Bonamici, the scandal that brought down Wu. She said the race is about the future, not about Wu.
He centered his pitch on his experience running a sports-marketing firm, hoping to swing an upset with a relentless focus on jobs and a run toward the center.
Bonamici, 57, and groups that support her went after Cornilles for missing tax payments for his business and for inconsistent statements about the number of jobs his company had created.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $1.3 million on her campaign. Her speeches mixed traditional Democratic themes of protecting Social Security and Medicare with a pledge to tackle the national debt by getting Washington's priorities in order.
KGW Straight Talk: Candidates Rob Cornilles and Suzanne Bonamici
Democrats have represented the district since 1975, and its voters overwhelmingly supported President Barack Obama.