KEIZER, Ore. — Republican incumbent Kim Thatcher has won her re-election bid for Oregon Senate District 13 against Democratic challenger Sarah Grider.
Thatcher, a longtime resident and business owner in Keizer, claimed 56 percent of the vote in returns Tuesday night in a district that stretches from Keizer to Hillsboro and comprises parts of Marion, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Washington counties.
"It was certainly a different political atmosphere all the way around," said Thatcher, comparing the race to four years ago. "Divisive."
Election results: Oregon's big races, the speeches and the numbers
Her focus in her second term will continue to be "working on making Oregon a better place to live, work, raise a family, and go to school.
"I've been in a superminority post before, on the House side. You just try to build coalitions where you can and try to find common ground and move forward."
Thatcher, an Oregon lawmaker since 2005, prides herself on being a taxpayer watchdog and an advocate for accountability. She is a member of the Joint Committee on Student Success and plans to continue to work toward education reform.
"Looking for ways to make education in Oregon more beneficial for students and more meaningful," said Thatcher, who was interrupted Tuesday night while helping her son with his homework. Earlier in the evening, she attended the Marion County Republicans victory party at Keizer Civic Center.
The makeup of District 13 has changed significantly since the last time she was elected, with the number of registered Democrats outpacing registered Republicans 22.5 percent to 7.7 percent. Republicans still hold about a 5 percent edge over Democrats in voter registration. Four years ago, the difference was 19 percent.
Thatcher dominated the race in Marion and Yamhill counties, but it was even in Clackamas and Washington counties.
"We knew that the district was in a state of transition, and it's just not there yet," said Grider, a U.S. Army veteran and special education assistant at Newberg High School. "We energized voters, and they had their voices heard."
Grider campaigned on raising the corporate tax rate to pay for education and infrastructure improvements, diverting the personal income tax kicker toward education and reforming property taxes, and addressing the unfunded liability of the Public Employees Retirement System.
Thatcher would have been challenged by Willamette University law professor Paul Diller if he had not dropped out because of the toll it was taking on his family.
Grider, who lost to Diller in the May primary, was chosen to replace him.
"We came into the race late so we had to hit the ground running," said Grider, who raised just over $35,000 during the campaign compared to nearly $150,000 by Thatcher. "No matter what, I work in a community and I work in a school with a lot of advocates who will be doing good things no matter what the capacity."
clynn@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6710, or follow on Twitter @CapiLynn and Facebook @CapiLynnSJ.