Oregon Avoids Outsiders

A loyal reader of mine asked if I would research when the last time a candidate of either major party was elected statewide with no prior government experience. I am not a legal scholar and I haven't had the time to put together an in-depth look at the records officials and fully confirm they had no elected experience. The results are my less than extensive research are below.

Note: I could not find extensive records for Oregon State Treasurer. If you have records that indicate something counter to what I say here, please reach out and let me know.

United States Senator

On the GOP side, Wayne Morse was elected during World War II in 1944 without any prior experience as an elected official. He later became an Independent and then a Democrat but was elected as a Republican.

Democrats have never had a candidate win election to the U.S. Senate without any prior political experience; unless you count James Nesmith in 1861 on two technicalities. Nesmith served as a representative in Oregon's provisional legislature from Polk County and was elected by Oregon's first Legislature in 1860 to be Oregon's first U.S. Senator. His inclusion on this list includes two major asterisks:

  1. he technically had no governmental experience in Oregon State government since Oregon had only been a state for about a year when he was elected by asterisk number two.
  2. The Oregon legislature elected the first few U.S. Senators. The United States did not have direct election of U.S. Senators by voters until approval of the 17th Amendment in 1913 and the use in 1914 by Oregon voters to re-elect incumbent Senator George E. Chamberlain.


The last Oregon Governor with no elected experience was Charles Sprague, a Republican elected in 1939. He wasn't unknown when he ran, but he was a newcomer to elected office. Sprague was a newspaper mogul for a lack of a better term. He was the business manager for the Corvallis Gazette-Times and eventually bought a controlling stake in the Oregon Statesman which is now the Statesman Journal.

On the Democratic side, Oswald West was the last Governor with no prior elected experience. He was appointed to a couple of positions but never elected until 1911 when he became governor. Most of West's experience was as a bureaucrat. He served as Oregon State Land Agent and spent time on the Oregon Railroad Commission as well.

Secretary of State

Henry Clay Myers, Jr. is the last Republican Secretary of State without prior elected experience. Myers was elected in 1967 and went on to be Oregon State Treasurer.

Lucien Heath was the last Democratic Secretary of State with no prior elected experience. Heath was elected in 1859.

Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner

O.P. Hoff was the first BOLI Commissioner and the only one I can find with no prior elected experience.

Although not completely unprecedented, statewide office is not normally bestowed upon candidates with no experience as an elected official in the modern political era.

Business, lawmakers worry about corporate tax 'pyramiding'

Ben Unger, executive director of Our Oregon and the initiative’s chief petitioner, has so far declined to provide the findings of the economic analysis. “I’m not going to tell you what our economic analysis found,” Unger said in January. “I don’t think that is all that relevant.”

I haven't seen the analysis so I can't say for sure what it says. I do know that if it were fantastic news Our Oregon would be sharing it. I also find it interesting that Unger thinks an economic analysis ins't relevant to a measure that will impact the economy.

Donald Trump has tweeted from an iPhone 8 times since he called for an Apple boycott

On February 19th, 2016 Donald Trump called for a boycott of all Apple products. Going so far as to say that he will only “be using Samsung” until Apple gives in to the FBI’s demands.

Boycott all Apple products until such time as Apple gives cellphone info to authorities regarding radical Islamic terrorist couple from Cal  — @realdonaldtrump

I use both iPhone & Samsung. If Apple doesn't give info to authorities on the terrorists I'll only be using Samsung until they give info.  — @realdonaldtrump

Claiming he will only use a Samsung phone and actually exclusively using a Samsung phone are very different things. Trump doesn’t even pretend not to tweet from an iPhone. Since his call for Apple abstinance, has tweeted from an iPhone 8 times. You can see all of this for yourself in the screenshots below which were taken on my iPad in Tweetbot.

Trump cares a lot more about convenience then sticking with his boycott. This isn’t surprising to me since this campaign has made it clear that Trump isn’t a man of principle. He’s a man of well-timed, outrageous, and convenient statements. He will always say one thing, and more often than not will do another.

Accusing Apple of terrorism misses the mark

I was disappointed to see a number of people I respect level attacks on Apple for releasing a letter stating they intend to defend the privacy of technology users everywhere. Before explaining how Apple is making the correct move, I want to clear up a few things.

Apple has been accused of not helping the FBI. This accusation is false. Tim Cook points this out in his letter to customers:

When the FBI has requested data that’s in our possession, we have provided it. Apple complies with valid subpoenas and search warrants, as we have in the San Bernardino case. We have also made Apple engineers available to advise the FBI, and we’ve offered our best ideas on a number of investigative options at their disposal.

Suggesting Apple can create a backdoor that will only allow the FBI into the single iPhone 5c owned by the San Bernardino terrorist is ignorant of reality. If Apple were to create a backdoor it would, without a doubt, be used to break into all iPhones.

Once Apple grants the FBI access to the technology to break into an iPhone, Apple will no longer have control over this exceedingly dangerous tool. Neither the FBI, nor Apple could ever ensure that this tool wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. There’s no such thing as a backdoor only the “good guys” can use. There are secure devices and there are insecure devices. Backdoors make devices insecure.

A digital backdoor is very similar to the back door of your house. Anyone who has the knowledge and ability to break in can do so. The back door in your house doesn’t magically distinguish between good and bad. It lets in anyone, good or bad, who can figure out a way to open it.

Apple isn’t standing up to the FBI because they believe it’s wrong to break into the iPhone of a terrorist. They are standing up because if Apple granted the FBI’s request, they would create a dangerous precedent that weakens the privacy rights and security of all Americans.

If Apple builds a backdoor they will make everyone less safe. Terrorists and criminals will (and do) use other products that are secure. They will buy them in other countries or they will build ones themselves. Apple isn’t shielding terrorists. They are implementing higher security standards to protect their customers from identity theft, and loss of personal information.

I’ve been told I have a right to privacy, but Apple seems to be the only one that believes it should exist in practice.

Apple Defends Your Right to Privacy

Tim Cook in an open letter on Apple.com:

We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.

Apple is openly fighting for everyone's right to privacy. Even non-iPhone owners. I wish I knew where companies who make Android phones were on this issue.