While Canby — home to Republican state Sen. Alan Olsen, House Republican Leader Christine Drazan and other past politicians that have typically repped the GOP — has a well-earned reputation as a conservative stronghold amid an increasingly urban and progressive region, the demographics reveal a more complicated picture.
Registered Republicans still outnumber Democrats in the city of Canby, but it is by a mere 750 voters — 4,295 to 3,542, according to numbers provided to the Current by the county elections office this week.
The largest bloc in Canby, interestingly, is those who don’t adhere to either party. There are almost as many nonaffiliated voters in Canby as there are Democrats: 3,528.
And, when one adds to the mix registered Independents (616), Libertarians (77), and other third parties (132), the result is (slightly) larger even than the number of registered Republicans: 4,353.
It boils down to a complex battleground for local politicians seeking office.
Although the seats on the Canby City Council — whose candidates met for the first and only time in a virtual forum this week — and Canby School Board are officially nonpartisan, the races this year are taking place in a political climate that has become intensely partisan and divided.
The large group of nonaffiliated voters in Canby presents opportunities for candidates who lean to either side.
The Canby School District — an area that includes Canby city limits but also many square miles of the surrounding rural countryside — is much more solidly red. Republicans outnumber registered Democrats by more than 2,000 voters: 8,934 to 6,701.
Unlike in Canby, the GOP is the district’s largest registered voting bloc, outnumbering not only the Dems but also nonaffiliateds (6,415), Independents (1,170) and third parties (391), which total up to 7,976.
Countywide, however, the pendulum swings the other way. Democrats enjoy a wide 106,321 to 87,185 majority, with another huge bloc of nonaffiliateds, Independents and third parties (114,903), just to make things interesting.
Although the voter registration rolls are not necessarily predictive of what voters will do — especially considering the large numbers of unaffiliated residents — results from the past two general presidential elections have remained remarkably consistent.
Four years ago, Donald Trump won this city by a margin almost exactly equal to the difference in registered Republicans vs. Democrats that we see today, garnering 3,946 votes — 734 more than his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, who had 3,212 ballots cast in her name.
Unlike in 2016, the city of Canby broke with the national results in 2012. While Barack Obama won reelection comfortably in the nationwide runoff, Canby preferred his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, 3,915 to 3,011.
The Canby School District was solidly Trump country in the last election, with both candidates pulling in nonaffiliated voters and Independents to garner more ballots than might be predicted based solely on the registration rolls. President Trump brought home 10,964 votes to Clinton’s 7,906.
The Clinton-Kaine ticket, on the other hand, took Clackamas County, 102,095 to 88,392.