Down the Ballot

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ebay Find #7 Oregon "Reagan Country"

1980 2.25" Oregon Reagan Country Pin
It seems fitting that in the year of Ronald Reagan's 100th Birthday I share the most recent Reagan pin I found on ebay.  Ronald Reagan had many campaigns for public office between 1968 and 1984. Four presidential campaigns in '68, '76, '80 and '84 plus two campaigns for governor of California in 1966 and 1970. This pin is from his 1980 campaign for president in Oregon.

Reagan performed rather well in Oregon and in 1984 he was the last Republican presidential nominee to win the state's electoral votes. In 1980 he won 48% of the vote and in 1984 won 55% of the vote. During the last hours of the 1980 campaign all three major presidential candidates President Jimmy Carter,  former Governor Reagan, and Congressman John Anderson made quick stops for airport campaign rallies. Carter held his rally at the airport to 2,000 supporters and Governor Reagan held his rally to about 500 supporters at the Holiday Inn. Both emphasized the importance of Oregon in the election and reached out for votes. According an article from the Eugene Register Guard, Reagan used the faults of Jimmy Carter as his main draw to Oregonians at the rally stating," He gave us government as good as Jimmy Carter and that isn't good enough".  Which played off Carter's words four years earlier of "...a government as good as it's people...".

Governor Reagan was able to convince voters he was right. He carried the state and  489 electoral votes nationwide. As important as all the campaigns thought Oregon was, it didn't seem like six electoral votes would change the outcome. Carter's concession speech even came before lots of people had voted on the west coast. Reports from many western states including Oregon claim that voters left polling places before they cast votes. How this affected the outcomes no one is certain; though some Democrats who lost blamed Carter's early concession speech for costing them their races. Aides to Democratic Congressman Al Ullman were quick to point the finger at Carter for his narrow defeat to challenger Denny Smith in Oregon's 2nd congressional district.

The pin above played off the common "Reagan Country" theme, which leads me to suspect that this is from 1980. For the person new to the political button hobby don't fear, there are lots of Reagan pins out there. You even probably know someone in your family with a few common cellos or litho pins in their attic or closet.

If you want to find out more about the hobby of political button collecting, visit the American Political Item Collectors official website.
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