The Most Competitive Race in Oregon Today
HD 20 Election Results — 2010
Although HD 40 is garnering a lot of attention as a swing seat, Republicans have failed to capture it the last two cycles. HD 40 tends to get more attention because it has been one of the most expensive legislative races in the state the last few elections. The past performances of the parties have led me to rate the seat at Lean Democrat for the time being. It's not the most competetive seat in Oregon.
HD 20 Election Results — 2012
A seat that has flown under the radar until recently has been HD 20. It's currently held by Democrat Paul Evans. A few days ago, Laura Morett, a Republican, announced her intention to run for the seat. She's been getting national attention, and was even noticed by the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (RLCC), a national GOP group that weighs in on state legislative races to help Republicans, noted her announcement in a tweet:
HD 20 Election Results — 2014
This suggests she's not just another Republican wanting to run for office, but potentially a candidate hand picked by the RLCC and the Caucus to contend for a swing seat. The data suggests this is the most competitive seat in the state. Both Evans and Morett have equal shots at picking up the seat.
Before Paul Evans, HD 20 was held by a moderate Republican, Vicki Berger. In the previous four elections she protected the seat well, handily winning re-election each time. The disaster of 2014 took a couple of seats thought to be solid Republican, and revealed them to be swingy suburban-rural seats where Democrats can compete under favorable conditions (which right now in Oregon is almost all the time). HD 20 is one of them. You can take a look at the results on the right and what happened the last couple of cycles.
Why is this race more competitive than any other? It's because this seat is actually closer in voter registration then any other seat out there. Evans is the incumbent, but by all accounts he shouldn't hold this seat. A moderate to Conservative Republican can hold this seat with 55-60% of the vote even in bad cycles. In a good year for Oregon Democrats (such as 2014) they would be able to pickup a seat like this, but everything has to go their way. In 2014 it did. However, Paul Evans background isn't stellar. Just because it didn't hurt him in 2014, doesn't mean it won't in 2016 or 2018.
The current turnout models favor Democrats in Oregon by 3-5 points at least in even or near even districts. Favorable turnout, coupled with incumbency are the factors boosting Evans and keeping him in this race. It is for these reasons that HD 20 is currently rated Toss Up and is, without a doubt, the most competitive race in Oregon today.