Oregon voters retain Democratic state Rep. Paul Holvey in recall election

Voters in Oregon retained state Rep. Paul Holvey (D) in a recall election on October 3, 2023. According to unofficial results, 90% of voters voted against recalling Holvey.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 initiated the recall effort in May. The union criticized Holvey for multiple reasons in the recall petition, including his lack of support for House Bill 3183. Cannabis employers would have been prohibited from impeding employee unionization efforts if House Bill 3183 had been enacted. The union also listed Holvey’s vote on a 2019 bill that reduced pension benefits for workers and his failure to secure pandemic benefits for grocery workers as additional grounds for the recall. According to state records, Holvey directed more than $250,000 towards his defense in the recall effort, while the union’s expenditure exceeded $300,000.

After Holvey was retained by voters in the recall election, he released the following statement:

“Today we sent a strong message that one deep-pocketed group who doesn’t get their way can’t abuse the recall system to deceive a community and intimidate elected officials. I hope that members of UFCW 555 hold UFCW’s leadership and individuals behind this recall accountable for wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars from their dues, without making a single worker’s life better.”

Holvey was elected to the state House in 2004 and was re-elected in 2022 with 85% of the vote. As of the 2023 legislative session, Holvey served as House speaker pro tempore. He will next be up for re-election in 2024.

UFCW Local 555 said in a statement that it respected the decision of voters to retain Holvey. “The Recall campaign gave Eugene voters an opportunity to evaluate Rep. Holvey’s record without the distraction of up-ticket races, and those voters affirmed that his values are those which should represent District 8 in Salem. While it is not the conclusion we had hoped for, the Recall campaign and UFCW 555 respect that decision.”

As of October 4, 2023, Ballotpedia had identified a total of 239 recall efforts nationwide through the first 277 days of the year against 350 total elected officials. By comparison, Ballotpedia tracked a total of 267 recall efforts in 2022 against a total of 450 elected officials.