For the second straight election, Republican Art Robinson earned more votes in Douglas County than U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio but lost the race when votes in all seven counties that make up the 4th Congressional District were counted Tuesday.
Robinson received 24,756 votes in Douglas County (51 percent) to 22,701 for DeFazio (47 percent), according to unofficial final results from the county elections office. The margin was much closer than in 2010 when Robinson bested DeFazio by 57 percent to 40 percent in Douglas County.
Districtwide, DeFazio, a Springfield Democrat, garnered 59 percent of the vote, five points higher than in 2010. Robinson, who resides in Cave Junction, received 39 percent of the vote, down from 44 percent last time.
DeFazio said he won despite being outspent $400,000 by Robinson.
“I think that’s a pretty strong statement by the voters of the 4th District that money can’t buy an election,” DeFazio said Tuesday evening. “People are beginning to understand who he is.”
Robinson appeared confident during a rally at the Douglas County Fairgrounds a couple of hours before the 8 p.m. voting deadline. He told a crowd of about 100 people that he thought the campaign had gone better than two years ago and he was confident of winning.
“I don’t think there’s any question that we had a better campaign and a better candidate,” Robinson said.
During the campaign, Robinson, a tea party favorite, hammered DeFazio for raising taxes and contributing to the nation’s deficit. DeFazio branded Robinson as a right-wing radical who wanted to shut down public schools and give further tax breaks to the rich.
Late in the campaign, Robinson filed a $1 million lawsuit against his opponent, claiming DeFazio libeled him in a series of campaign billboards. DeFazio shot back that each of the billboards took Robinson to task using his own words.
“The lawsuit is totally frivolous and without merit,” said DeFazio, who plans to file a response to the complaint today in Josephine County District Court.
During his rally, Robinson said if he lost he planned to run again in two years. DeFazio scoffed at that notion.
“I don’t think the Republican Party will give this right-wing nut a bye in the next primary,” he said.
Districtwide, DeFazio received 200,343 votes to 134,527 for Robinson and 5,825 for Libertarian nominee Chuck Hutting, who received 2 percent of the vote in Douglas County and in the district.
• You can reach reporter John Sowell at 541-957-4209 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.