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banner Friday, 7 January, 2000, 17:49 GMT
Oregon

Oregon is likely to attract more attention than usual in the presidential vote.

Key facts
Population: 3,203,735 (ranked 29 among states)
Governor: John Kitzhaber (D)
Electoral College votes: 7
It tends to be the most Democratic state in the west, but Bill Clinton's margin of victory fell in 1996 and the two open-seat Senate contests returned a Republican and a Democrat.

The vote is by no means a foregone conclusion but a Democratic candidate would be in trouble if they failed to win the state.

1998 Congress
House of Representatives: 4 Democrats, 1 Republican
Senate: 1 Democrat, 1 Republican
Oregon has a distinctive culture and history of passing innovative and progressive legislation that sets it apart from many other states. Oregon legalised abortion a generation ago and in referendums in 1994 and 1997 it legalised doctor-assisted suicides. In 1998 15 terminally ill people were given lethal injections although there are still judicial and federal challenges to the policy.

Voting record
1996: Clinton: 47%, Dole 39%
1992: Clinton: 42%, Bush 33%, Perot 24%
1988: Dukakis 51%, Bush 47%
The state has the USA's lowest rate of church attendance but one of its largest alternative and New Age followings. Marijuana has been decriminalised. It also likes to go its own way in elections, abolishing ballot box voting in 1998 in favour of postal votes.

Oregon has one of the fastest growing populations in the USA, but the main city Portland has been a leader in reducing urban sprawl.

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Links to more States stories are at the foot of the page.


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