Oregon Secretary of State election, 2012

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Oregon secretary of state election took place on November 6, 2012, with incumbent Kate Brown winning re-election over four challengers.[1]

Democratic Party Working Families Party Kate Brown Incumbent (Democratic, Working Families)Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Independent Knute Buehler (Republican, Independent)
Green Party Seth Woolley (Pacific Green Party)
Libertarian Party Bruce Alexander Knight (Libertarian)
Progressive Party Robert Wolfe (Progressive Party)

In the primary on May 15, 2012 incumbent Kate Brown (D) defeated perennial candidate Paul Damian Wells, for the Democratic nomination. Brown advanced to the general election, where she defeated, Knute Buehler (R, Ind), Seth Woolley (Pacific Green Party), Bruce Alexander Knight (Libertarian) and Robert Wolfe (Progressive).[2][3]

Buehler (R) is an orthopedic surgeon and Rhodes scholar from Bend. He was the only candidate to file from his party in the primary. According to race ratings published in Governing in September, the Buehler's candidacy threatened the Democratic Party's almost 20 year run in the office. They rated the secretary of state race as a toss-up, due to Buehler's fundraising prowess (he raised and spent twice as much as Brown) and to his cross nomination by the Independent Party, which has the highest registered membership of any third party in Oregon.[4]


General Election

Oregon Secretary of State General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngKate Brown Incumbent 51.4% 863,656
     Republican Knute Buehler 43.3% 727,607
     Green Seth Woolley 2.6% 44,235
     Libertarian Bruce Alexander Knight 1.4% 24,273
     Progressive Robert Wolfe 1.3% 21,783
Total Votes 1,681,554
Election Results via Oregon Secretary of State.

Primary Results

Oregon Secretary of State Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngKate Brown 91.1% 277,052
Paul Damian Wells 8.4% 25,568
Write-ins 0.5% 1,400
Total Votes 304,020
Election Results via OregonLive 2012 Primary Results.

Oregon Secretary of State Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngKnute Buehler 98.5% 193,043
Write-ins 1.5% 2,973
Total Votes 196,016
State Executive Official Elections

NevadaUtah state executive official elections, 2012ColoradoNew Mexico state executive official elections, 2012Arizona state executive official elections, 2012Montana state executive official elections, 2012CaliforniaOregon state executive official elections, 2012Washington state executive official elections, 2012IdahoOklahoma state executive official elections, 2012KansasNebraska state executive official elections, 2012South Dakota state executive official elections, 2012North Dakota state executive official elections, 2012IowaMissouri state executive official elections, 2012ArkansasLouisiana state executive official elections, 2012Alabama state executive official elections, 2012Georgia state executive official elections, 2012FloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisTennesseeNorth Carolina state executive official elections, 2012Indiana state executive official elections, 2012OhioMaineVirginiaNew JerseyVermont state executive official elections, 2012Vermont state executive official elections, 2012MarylandRhode IslandRhode IslandMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMichiganAlaskaHawaiiWyomingTexas state executive official elections, 2012MississippiMinnesotaWisconsinKentuckyWest Virginia state executive official elections, 2012Pennsylvania state executive official elections, 2012Delaware state executive official elections, 2012Delaware state executive official elections, 2012ConnecticutConnecticutNew YorkNew Hampshire state executive official elections, 2012New Hampshire state executive official elections, 20122012SEO.png

New HampshireNew Mexico
North CarolinaNorth Dakota
PennsylvaniaSouth Dakota
WashingtonWest Virginia
  • Administrative deadlines are at close of business (5 pm) unless otherwise noted.
Deadline Event
Mar. 6 Last day to file candidacy
Apr. 24 Voter registration for primary election
May 15 Primary election
June 14 Certification of election results
Nov. 6 General election


Democratic Party Working Families Party Kate Brown incumbent (Democratic, Working Families)Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Independent Knute Buehler (Republican, Independent)
Green Party Seth Woolley (Pacific Green Party)
Libertarian Party Bruce Alexander Knight (Libertarian)
Progressive Party Robert Wolfe (Progressive Party)


Democratic candidates

Republican candidates

Former candidates

  • Commercial truck driver and former election judge Randy Pollock withdrew from the election on February 7, 2012 citing a lack of campaign contributions.[5]

Public Policy Polling

2012 General election secretary of state candidates
Poll Kate Brown Knute BuehlerUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Poll
June 26, 2012
Oregon Public Broadcasting/Fox-12 Poll
(October 26-28, 2012)
Oregonian Poll
(October 25-28, 2012)
AVERAGES 43% 30.33% 24% +/-2.7 530.33
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.
**Although not shown in table above, Poll#3 also included the option for respondents to indicate support for a minor party candidate in the race. The results show the three minor party candidates are each supported by 1% of voters.**



In July, 2012, Buehler's campaign received a significant boost when the Independent Party voted 55-45% to endorse the Republican candidate over the Democratic incumbent, Brown. Under Oregon’s fusion-voting law, the GOP nominee for secretary of state is also permitted to list the Independent party's cross-nomination on the general election ballot.[6] It was thought that the Independent Party's support could be crucial to Buehler's chances of scoring an upset victory in November. There are roughly 76,000 registered Independent voters in Oregon--the highest number for a third party--and over 420,000 unaffiliated voters, many of whom choose not to be registered with a party as a form of protest against the restriction of freedoms imposed by traditional power structures and will likely be more sympathetic to a candidate with "independent," next to his name. Correspondingly, a large share of unaffiliated voters are reportedly unaware of the distinction between a candidate who is running "independently" of a party and a candidate running in affiliation with the Independent Party.[7]


1 Due dates for reports
2 Candidates

Due dates for reports

The Secretary of State administers campaign finance law and maintains all records online.

As of 2007, there are no longer "scheduled" reporting deadlines. Committees will continuously report campaign finance transactions.

In mid-September, Brown announced that she was placing a $1 million spending cap on her re-election campaign this year. Her opponent, Buehler, who reportedy raised nearly $1 million and spent about $542,000 at that point in the election season, said he would not follow suit, and suggested that Brown's adoption of a spending limit was a reaction to concerns about trailing Buehler in fundraising (Brown has raised $575,000 and spent about $264,000 as of September 19th) and staff shake ups, including the then-recent firing of her campaign finance manager. Brown denied his accusations, saying that she had hired a replacement, and she defended the ethical merits of setting a spending limit: "I've raised more than $1 million in the past.... It's not fun and it's also not right. That's why I think it's time for us to do something about it and I'm the one in this race leading by example."[10]



Kate Brown[11]

Donor Amount
Citizen Action for Political Education $25,000.00
Democratic Association of Secretaries of State $15,000.00
Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians $10,000.00
Oregon AFSCME Council 75 $10,000.00
Oregon Education Association-People for Improvement of Education (142) $10,000.00
Local Electricians PAC (4572) $10,000.00
EMILY's List Federal Fund $5,000.00
Plumbers and Steamfitters PAC (221) $5,000.00
Local Electricians PAC (4572) $5,000.00
Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund $5,000.00


Knute Buehler[12]

Donor Amount
James Young $90,000.00
Phillip H Knight $50,000.00
Patricia Buehler $30,000.00
Karl R Miller $25,000.00
Seneca Jones Timber Company $25,000.00
Howard M Koff $10,000.00
Henry T Swigert $10,000.00
Larry Keith $10,000.00
Murphy $10,000.00
Bizzy B Seven LLC $10,000.00

Former candidates

Paul Damian Wells

Wells reported four in-kind contributions, all from his own campaign commmittee, as of May 4, 2012. The contributions amount to $13,650.[13]

Campaign sites


Kate Brown

Knute Buehler

Robert Wolfe

Former candidates


"Big Reforms"

"Don't let Knute Buehler 'Swiftboat' Oregon"

Additional reading

See also

External links

Suggest a link