This was the scene at La Margarita Express a little after 8 p.m. on March 14th, election night. The results of the Special Election for Ward 6 of the Salem City Council had just been posted on the Marion County Elections website. That’s Chris Hoy standing up and looking at the results on his phone. The early results showed he had won the election with 56% of the votes. That’s Councilor Tom Andersen with a V for victory sign. Everyone is elated!
And for good reason. In 2015 when Progressive Salem began our work to transform local politics in Salem we figured it would probably take three election cycles (six years) to reach our goal of a progressive majority on the Salem City Council. Instead it only took one, plus this Special Election. In 2016 we helped elect Sally Cook, Matt Ausec and Cara Kaser to join progressive Tom Andersen on the City Council. Then we got lucky, when Councilor Daniel Benjamin had to resign his seat in disgrace at the end of 2016 for posting a racist video on his Facebook page. We got lucky again when progressive Chris Hoy responded to our search for a progressive candidate to run in Ward 6. Chris not only shared our values and aspirations for Salem, he turned out to be a great fund raiser and campaigner.
We only had a few weeks to pull together a campaign team, but we did it. Our campaign plan utilized our by now familiar “Organized People Beats Organized Money” strategy of extensive targeted canvassing by the candidate and by volunteers, followed by an aggressive “Get Out the Vote” effort, again using volunteer canvassers and phone callers. The results in this election were the same was we saw in 2016 — a very solid victory for Chris, with 56% of the vote in a 4-way race. He nearly doubled the vote total of his next closest competitor.
Congratulations to Chris and thanks to the many volunteers and donors who helped us achieve this great victory.