On the Oregon (Campaign) Trail with Patrick Castles

Mr. Patrick Castles, the Republican candidate for House District No. 38, has kindly provided this essay.  Other Multnomah County Republican candidates who want to supply material for this website should contact James Buchal, MCRP Chair and Webmaster. 

Who am I?

My name is Pat Castles and I am running for the office of state representative in District 38. My district lies on the west side of the Willamette River and includes part of southwest Portland and much of Lake Oswego—a tail of two cities and two counties (Multnomah and Clackamas). I have two degrees in political science and have been involved local in local politics for a number of years.

Why am I writing these words?

Some of my Republican friends and I thought it might be interesting to get an inside look into a campaign. So, here goes. But first, you must understand this is a personal diary and not associated with what other campaigns might be doing or not doing.

In the beginning . . .

I thought some well-known person of importance might step forward and I would help in that campaign. What actually happened was like the Army drill sergeant calling for volunteers, and everyone in the platoon took a step back, and I didn’t move. My wife had encouraged me to volunteer after I ended my regular work life at IBM. I have strong convictions against regressive, high taxes which I’m against, incompetent government which I would like to change, and the lack of transparency in the state’s bureaucracies. And many more issues. So, I looked upon it as an adventure and an opportunity to do my civic duty. I would finally be able to do something about the gross inequalities imposed on my fellow Oregonians by the one-party state Democrats who have never solved a problem of significance. But that is not why I am writing these words. Rather, in the interest of public service, I thought I would give you an inside look into one campaign.

Getting started

There is much more to a campaign than arranging advertising and walking about to different homes and apartments. I found that out right away.

In order to get into the Voter’s Pamphlet, a candidate is required to pay $750 or get 200 signatures from legal voters in the district. It would be nice to be one of those rich Republicans who can simply reach into his wallet and pull out a credit card, slap it down on the counter with decisiveness at the Secretary of State’s office, and affirmatively state in a loud voice, “Do it.” I’m not filthy rich. In fact, many of the well-healed people I know of are Democrats. Well, I wouldn’t be a frugal Republican if I went the money route, anyway. Walking about has a good purpose to it but it isn’t as easy as it sounds.


The first thing you realize is that people on your list won’t be home when you stop by. This was prior to the coronavirus quarantine. People are home at dinner time, but I don’t like to interrupt dinner. It makes a bad impression. It was getting a little harder than I thought. Fortunately, I had some good friends helping me. But I was the one who had to due the bulk of the work. There were times when I would see as many as five friendly Republican names. In one instance, I went to the house three times before I was able to talk to the wife. Husband wasn’t there. The three kids were long out of the nest, and did not vote there anymore. I was in such a state, that though disappointed, I was happy to get the one signature.

In another instance a woman told me to come back, but I was never able to connect with her. I arrived at a home and a friendly man answered the door. He said he would be happy to sign my petition but he was Jewish. Could I come back next Friday before sundown. I said I would. I made a note of it. He was surprised when I showed up just when he said. I got a bonus because his wife was there, and she signed it as well.

If it sounds like I was batting about .500. That would not be a correct interpretation. For example, I went to one short street, maybe ten or fifteen homes on a dead end. A friendly Republican woman answered the door. She signed my petition. Great. She pointed to a house across the street and said they will sign it over there. Everyone else is a Democrat. I had that signature already. I did get a few Democrats to sign, but it was easier to target Republicans who usually signed, if they were home. Democrats are in the majority in my district. Not far away from that experience, I knocked on a door expecting a woman to answer. A man answered. “Oh, she’s been dead for years,” Attempting opportunism in the face of disappointment, I asked the gentleman if he would sign my petition. “No” he said, flat out, he was a Democrat and so was his wife. I did not belabor the point, shook the dust off my feet and soldiered on.

There was another instance where a helpful Republican signed my petition and pointed to a neighbor house and said that the neighbor would sign my petition. It took a while to catch him at home, but I did. I don’t know if this was a set-up or not, but the guy spent at least ten minutes telling me about his experience in Iran and how the United States had caused Iran to become evil because of something that America did in the 1950s. He had a loud aggressive voice, and off in a distant room I could here is wife saying things like, “George, be nice.” And, “George, (not his real name), “Not so loud.” Then he started off on politics in general. “I hate Republicans,” he said. I thought I was wasting my time. But then he said, “I hate Democrats.” I was back in business. Here was a good lesson in patience. In the end he signed my petition. I guess he just needed to vent a little bit.

Dog bites Man

During my campaign, I developed a greater appreciation of my postal carrier. It was still Winter and dogs were not out in force so much. I remember one door I arrived at. Immediately there was a howl from inside and ferocious barking. This happened a number of times. Sometimes there were two dogs, one setting off the other. “Brutus,” we will call him could be seen through a window adjacent to the door. He must have weighed as much as I do, his large mouth and canine teeth could have chewed and eaten a cat whole in one swallow. The homeowner arrived at the door and tried to put Brutus aside with her own body weight while screaming for the violent animal to stop. It looks cowardly to see a future state representative hightailing for the nearest bar, so being a non-drinker, I was forced to stand my ground and take the risk that the homeowner would be able to get Brutus under control. At last she did, but she was not in a mood to sign my petition so that one turned into a bust.

Why we do it

One of my experiences involved a nice couple I met who lived in a comfortable, middle class house. The husband was retired. He said his taxes were a hefty $8000 a year. And, of course, they would go higher. He told me that they were thinking about selling and moving away from Oregon because the taxes were making it impossible to afford the house that he had paid off. I don’t believe it is his fault that taxes in Oregon have gotten out of hand. The public office incumbents in Oregon have intentionally designed a system that punishes virtue rewards the wrong behavior. Our citizens who work hard and save deserve better than to be taxed out of their home.

I was a little cavalier earlier in saying that I was left standing when the troops stepped back. My motivation in running is deeper than just jumping into an empty arena. Oregon faces some daunting problems. Before filing for state office, I heard testimony at the legislature that pushed me forward. It was an unfolding story that said far more about the pain caused by the Democrats in power. It was a story told by a woman about her husband whose life was wrapped up in the family trucking business. To him, she said, it was not just a job, it was his life as well as hers. But the State of Oregon alleged that he had a sleeping disability and his commercial driver’s license was denied. The wife said It wasn’t true, he was fine. Personally, I believe the wife, not the state. But his life and livelihood were at stake and he consented to have an operation in order to satisfy the government. He had the operation. But sadly, ten days later he died of a blood clot in his lungs. The wife was devasted, but she was determined to pass on her husband’s legacy and picked up the family business where he had left off. The hard part is this: She testified against the cap and trade tax bill because the higher gas taxes of the bill would devastate her business—and her life—and her husband’s legacy.

As I was contemplating running, I thought of that woman and her company. I could do something for her and many other productive people living their way of life, but I would have to take personal action. Oregon will have one more chance to save itself from a narrow band of ideologues who will expand the power of government and break these hard-working Oregonians. That is why I am running for office.

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  • Margo Logan
    commented 2020-05-04 14:30:20 -0700
    Captivating first person wonderfully descriptive narration, Patrick, capturing nicely the journey of one running for office. Ha, ha I have some dog stories canvassing with our candidate one year I will always remember.

    You show a concern for we the people…all people in Oregon. You come off like the down-to-earth person that you are. All party affiliations, I think, would give you a second and third look. I think you could draw votes across the spectrum.