William S. U’Ren,the father of Oregon’s initiative system, had many causes. In this 1920 photo, U’Ren, at center, is defending members of the Portland Communist Labor Party against charges they violated the state’s “criminal syndicalism” law. (Oregon Historical Society)
Merry Christmas! Welcome back to our weeklong Oregon political trivia festival.
Tuesday’s question was:
What did “taking the pledge” mean to early 20th century political candidates in Oregon?
“Taking the pledge” didn’t have anything to do with going on the wagon. In 1906, a legislative candidate who took the pledge agreed to support the voters’ choice for U.S. Senate.
At the time, senators were chosen by state legislators and the process was frequently corrupt, including in Oregon. William S. U’Ren, the father of the initiative system, pressed legislative candidates to sign “Statement No. 1,” agreeing to accept the candidate chosen by voters in an advisory election.
Jonathan Bourne Jr., a wealthy industrialist who spent thousands of dollars wooing voters, wound up in the Senate thanks to Statement No. 1. Skeptics said it was no big deal that a Republican would be chosen by an overwhelmingly Republican Legislature.
But just two years later, the staunchly GOP Legislature acceded to the voters’ wishes and appointed Democrat George Chamberlain to the U.S. Senate.
We had several incorrect answers to this one, particularly since it was a time in U.S. history when prohibition was a major force. NortheastOregonNow got it right, shortly after the question was posted. Cheers to our winner from a beautiful part of Oregon!
And now to today’s trivia question:
What Oregon politician appeared on stage at a Democratic fundraiser with a donkey while wearing a swimsuit?
Go to the comments section and tell me who it was. I’ll give a shout-out Thursday to the first person to answer correctly.
— Jeff Mapes