Thatcher earns third term

Republican Kim Thatcher was elected to her third term as a state senator for District 11 in Tuesday’s election over challenger Democrat Richard Walsh.

Election results from the Secretary of State’s office as of Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, showed Thatcher with 53.17% (15,702 votes) to Walsh’s 46.61% (13,809 votes). There was also a handful of write-ins.

Thatcher, a Keizer resident, served in the state House from 2005 to 2014. She was first elected to the state senate in 2014.

Richard Walsh wrote in an email: “The voters have spoken and have picked Senator Thatcher as the next senator for District 11. I congratulate Senator Thatcher on her victory, and I wish her the very best over the next four years serving in the senate.”

He went on to write that he entered the race because he cared deeply about the community. “I will continue to fight for those issues that residents of District 11 care about the most, including the homelessness and health care crisis and the need for campaign finance reform. I still believe that if we could just find a way to work together, that we can still make a difference.”

The 2022 campaign was the hardest race Thatcher said she has ever waged. She ran as the Republican nominee for Oregon Secretary of State in 2020, amid the COVID pandemic, which limited how and where candidates could campaign. In her senate campaign there were many appearances, debates and door knocking.

In January Thatcher hopes to retain her seats on the Senate Judiciary and Audit committees. She said the judiciary committee is busy and is hard work; the audit committee reviews audit plans and completed audits conducted by the Secretary of State.

The senator wants to revisit the state’s Corporate Activity Tax to see ways to reform it. She also wants to address the state’s homeless crisis in a way that all sides can come together on.

Adjusting Measure 110, that decriminalized personal use of narcotic drugs, is high on her list of legislation to pursue.

Thatcher is hopeful for the new legislative year. If Tina Kotek maintains her lead in the governor’s race and is declared the winner, Thatcher said, “I can work with Tina Kotek, if she continues to work for all Oregonians.” 

She also believes the state can turn the page in the legislature. Regarding incoming lawmakers, Thatcher said, “I think all of them will work for Oregon.”

Close to home Thatcher wants Keizer residents to know she will work on the issues of importance to them: crime, homelessness and lowering the cost of living.

Walsh, an attorney and former Keizer city councilor, was nominated for the office after the initial primary election winner, Eric Swenson, dropped out of the race to continue as Woodburn mayor. Walsh was selected to replace him on the general election ballot by a vote of district precinct committee persons.

Senate District 11’s boundaries were changed with redistricting last year. It now encompasses Keizer, large parts of Salem and Woodburn.