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Both candidates for Oregon Court of Appeals Position 3 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Oregon Court of Appeals Position 3 —incumbent Darleen Ortega and Vance Day — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

The Oregon Court of Appeals, established by statute in 1969, is the intermediate appellate court in Oregon. The court hears all civil and criminal appeals from the circuit courts and also has jurisdiction to review some state administrative agency actions.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?            

Ortega:               

  • “I am experienced and highly competent. I have authored over 800 opinions and have participated in thousands of cases during my time on the Court of Appeals. That experience has not made me complacent nor institutionalized my thinking.”
  • “I am a judicial and community leader, including on issues of access to justice. I am a frequent speaker and discussion leader on addressing the gaps that exist between the goal of justice and the lived experience of people who interact with the legal system. I relentlessly make space for the voices of the unheard and lead by example in a practice of listening to those voices myself.”
  • “I approach my work with integrity and a relentless commitment to the ideal of justice for all.”

Day:               

  • “Equality: It is my firm belief that our laws should be applied to all people in all places at all times equally.”
  • “Freedom: It is my heartfelt conviction that government in a civil society under our Constitutions exists to respect and preserve our freedoms, not to erode or cancel them in favor of short-term administrative convenience or corrupt political gain.”
  • “Rule of Law: Every citizen has the right to expect that our Constitution and the laws that operate within it mean what they say and don’t mean what they don’t say in a concrete way and that these laws enacted by the People’s elected representatives prevail over the arbitrary and occasionally capricious whims of temporary elected officials.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

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Tina Kotek (D), Christine Drazan (R), and Betsy Johnson (I) lead field in Oregon gubernatorial race

Tina Kotek (D), Christine Drazan (R), Betsy Johnson (I), and R. Leon Noble (L) are running in the Oregon gubernatorial election on November 8, 2022. Incumbent Governor Kate Brown (D) is term-limited and cannot run for re-election.

Kotek, Drazan, and Johnson have led the field in fundraising and media coverage. Kotek is the former speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, Drazan is the former Oregon House minority leader, and Johnson is a former Oregon state senator. Johnson served in the state senate as a Democrat.

Kyle Kondik of Sabato’s Crystal Ball wrote, “the state is hosting an unusual 3-way race among a trio of women who are all recent members of the state legislature. […] The race sets up an unusual situation where the winner may not need to crack even 40%.”

Writing about the July 29 gubernatorial debate, Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Dirk VanderHart said the candidates, “attempted to stake out the political lanes they hope to ride to victory in November: Kotek as the accomplished progressive, Johnson as the centrist unifier, and Drazan as the change agent for a state that has […] one-party control.”

In 2018, Brown won re-election against Knute Buehler (R) 50% to 44%. President Joe Biden (D) won the 2020 presidential vote in Oregon with 57% to Donald Trump’s (R) 40%. In 2020, Oregon held three statewide executive elections for secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney general. Democratic candidates won each of these races by at least percentage 7 points.

Oregon has had a Democratic governor since 1987. Oregon’s most recent Republican governor was Victor G. Atiyeh, who served from 1979 to 1987. Since Oregon became a state in 1859, only one third-party or independent candidate has been elected governor: Julius L. Meier (I), who served from 1931 to 1935.

This is one of 36 gubernatorial elections taking place in 2022. The governor serves as a state’s top executive official and is the only executive office that is elected in all 50 states. There are currently 28 Republican governors and 22 Democratic governors.

Oregon has a Democratic trifecta. A state government trifecta refers to a situation where one party controls a state’s governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

As of August 29, 2022, there are 23 Republican trifectas, 14 Democratic trifectas, and 13 divided governments where neither party holds trifecta control.



Oregon voters to decide on a ballot initiative enacting changes to firearm purchases

On July 18, the Oregon secretary of state reported that a ballot initiative proposing changes to firearm purchases and ammunition magazine limits qualified for a place on the November ballot.

Lift Every Voice Oregon, the campaign behind the initiative, filed a total of 160,498 signatures, of which 131,671 were valid. In Oregon, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is 6% of the votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, which equaled 112,020 valid signatures.

The initiative (#17) would enact a law outlining a procedure to apply for a permit to purchase a firearm. Permits would be issued by local law enforcement. Applicants would need to pay a fee, submit a photo ID, be fingerprinted, complete approved safety training, pass a criminal background check, and not be prohibited from possessing firearms. Law enforcement would be able to deny a permit to an applicant believed to be a danger to oneself or others. The initiative would also criminalize the manufacture, importation, possession, use, purchase, sale, or otherwise transferring of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

Existing law requires a seller or transferor to request a background check before firearm purchase.

The campaign has received endorsements from the Oregon Progressive Party, the League of Women Voters of Oregon, and the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety. Rev. Mark Knutson, chief petitioner and pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, said, “I hope it shows how residents in a state can come together from many directions and address the public health crisis of gun violence with common sense and well-put-together legislation. I hope that people are inspired to say: We can do this.”

There are currently no committees registered to oppose the initiative. The National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action issued a statement on the initiative: “IP 17 is yet another anti-gun ballot initiative that seeks to further erode Second Amendment rights in Oregon. It imposes a permit requirement in order to exercise the Second Amendment right to acquire a firearm …The permit application process includes a one-size-fits-all training mandate, a subjective mental health review that is ripe for abuse, submission of fingerprints, and payment of a fee – up to $65 to apply, and up to $50 to renew. Issuing authorities have up to 30 days to issue permits to qualified applicants and they must be renewed every five years. Meanwhile, criminals will continue obtaining their firearms illegally.”

Oregon voters will be deciding on three other ballot measures this fall. The state Legislature voted to refer an amendment that would add “affordable health care as a fundamental right” to the Oregon Constitution and an amendment that would repeal language allowing slavery or involuntary servitude as criminal punishment. The third measure is a ballot initiative that would disqualify state legislators from re-election for unexcused legislative absenteeism, such as for legislative walkouts.

Between 2010 and 2020, an average of 64 ballot initiatives were filed in Oregon each election cycle with an average of five making the ballot. In 2022, a total of 60 citizen initiatives were filed for the ballot with two ultimately qualifying.

Additional reading:

Oregon 2022 ballot measures



Campaign behind an Oregon firearm initiative submits signatures

The ballot initiative signature deadline was July 8 in Oregon. Lift Every Voice Oregon, the campaign behind an initiative related to firearm regulation, filed 159,565 signatures with the secretary of state.

The initiative would enact a law outlining a procedure to apply for a permit to purchase a firearm. Permits would be issued by local law enforcement. Applicants would need to pay a fee, submit a photo ID, be fingerprinted, complete approved safety training, pass a criminal background check, and not be prohibited from possessing firearms. Law enforcement would be able to deny a permit to an applicant believed to be a danger to oneself or others. The initiative would also criminalize the manufacture, importation, possession, use, purchase, sale, or otherwise transferring of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

In Oregon, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is equal to 6% of the votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, which equals 112,020 signatures.

The campaign filed the initiative on April 29, 2021. On November 12, 2021, the initiative was cleared for signature gathering. Rev. Mark Knutson, chief petitioner and pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, said, “I hope it shows how residents in a state can come together from many directions and address the public health crisis of gun violence with common sense and well-put-together legislation. I hope that people are inspired to say: We can do this.” The initiative has received support from the Oregon Progressive Party, League of Women Voters of Oregon, and Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety.

Kevin Starrett, executive director of the Oregon Firearms Federation, said,  “Where do you suppose all the smaller towns who rely on private gun clubs for training are going to go for the live fire portion of the class? How often will they provide it? What costs will be created? How do those increased costs and barriers affect Black folks in inner-city Portland?”

Oregon voters will decide on three other ballot measures in November, including an initiative that qualified for the ballot on July 5. The initiative would disqualify state legislators from re-election for unexcused legislative absenteeism, such as walkouts. The Oregon State Legislature voted to refer an amendment that would add “affordable health care as a fundamental right” to the Oregon Constitution and an amendment that would repeal language allowing slavery or involuntary servitude as criminal punishment.

Between 1985 and 2020,  Oregon voters decided on 275 ballot measures, approving 131 measures and rejecting 144.

Additional reading:

Oregon 2022 ballot measures



Oregon voters will decide on an initiative to disqualify legislators from re-election for legislative absenteeism, including walkouts

In November, Oregon voters will decide on an initiative to disqualify legislators from re-election if they are absent from 10 legislative floor sessions without permission or excuse.

On July 5, the Oregon Secretary of State announced that the initiative had received enough signatures to make the ballot. The proposed constitutional amendment needed 149,360 valid signatures (8% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election). On May 27, 2022, the campaign filed 184,680 signatures for verification. The secretary of state reported that 155,343 signatures were valid.

Currently, the state constitution authorizes legislative chambers to punish disorderly conduct, including legislative absenteeism, with a two-thirds supermajority vote. Punishment may include the expulsion of a member.

One committee, Legislative Accountability 1, is registered in support of the initiative. As of July 5, it had reported over $1.5 million in contributions.

The initiative has received endorsements from Gov. Kate Brown (D), AFSCME Council 75, the Oregon Education Association, and SEIU Local 503. AFSCME Council 75 Associate Director Joe Baessler said, “Oregonians just understand it on its face. You don’t show up for work without a reason and you lose your job like anyone else. That makes it super popular and fair, and so it will pass.”

Several times in recent decades, members of a minority party left the state capitol or the state entirely to prevent the passage of legislation. State legislatures require a specific number of members to be present in order to conduct official business, such as debating or voting on legislation. Ballotpedia tracked five noteworthy legislative walkouts in Oregon, where legislators left the state for at least a week or received significant national media attention. The legislative walkouts occurred in 2001, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Four of the five involved Republicans walking out during Democratic control of the state legislature, and one involved the inverse—Democrats walking out during a Republican-controlled state legislature.

The deadline to file signatures for ballot initiatives in Oregon is July 8. Sixty initiatives were filed targeting the 2022 ballot. The legislative walkout amendment is the first initiative to qualify for the ballot. 

Oregon voters will also be deciding on two legislative referrals. One would add “affordable health care as a fundamental right” to the state constitution, and the other would repeal language allowing slavery or involuntary servitude as criminal punishment.

Additional reading:



Oregon Employment Department announces increased unemployment insurance benefit minimums and maximums

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) announced the minimum and maximum unemployment insurance benefit amounts would increase about 7% for regular claims filed on or after July 3, 2022. The minimum amount will increase from $171 to $183 per week, and the maximum amount will increase from $733 to $783 per week.

Individuals who file for benefits before July 3 will not be eligible for the larger payments.

State law requires the OED to recalculate weekly minimum and maximum benefit amounts annually based on the average weekly wages Oregon residents earn. The minimum benefit amount is set each year at 15% of the average weekly wage. The maximum is set at 64% of the average weekly wage.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

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Jamie McLeod-Skinner defeats incumbent Kurt Schrader in the Democratic primary for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District

Jamie McLeod-Skinner defeated incumbent Kurt Schrader in the Democratic primary for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District on May 17, 2022.

Schrader is the fifth incumbent to lose re-election to the U.S. House this year. Representatives Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.), Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), and David McKinley (R-W.Va.) also lost re-election.

Schrader’s loss is also the first time a congressional incumbent from Oregon has been defeated in a primary since 1980 when 3rd district incumbent Bob Duncan (D) lost to Ron Wyden (D). Wyden was later elected to the U.S. Senate.

Schrader was first elected to represent the 5th district in 2008 and had won re-election every cycle since then, but the district’s boundaries changed this year as a result of redistricting. According to data from Daily Kos, 47% of the population in the new 5th district came from the old 5th district.

McLeod-Skinner criticized Schrader for his legislative record, saying he often voted against Democratic priorities. “He’s fought negotiating lower drug prices, raising the federal minimum wage, and forgiving debt for college loans,” McLeod-Skinner said. “When he does vote with Democrats, it is often after working to water-down the original ideas.”

Schrader said his voting record reflected the partisan composition of the district. “I represent the people in my district and the state of Oregon, which frankly is not a blue state. It’s blue on the surface,” he said. “There are a lot of folks that are Republicans or Independents, and I’d like to think I represent the state very well this way.” Schrader later said, “My record shows I have voted with President Biden 96 percent of the time.” 

At the time of the primary, McLeod-Skinner was an attorney and a board member of the Jefferson County Education Service District. She said, “[D.C. is not] addressing the crises we’re seeing around affordable housing, around health care, around childcare, around environmental issues. And that’s the work I want to do in Congress.” U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the Sierra Club, and the Working Families Party of Oregon endorsed McLeod-Skinner, as did the local Democratic parties in Deschutes, Linn, Clackamas, and Marion counties. The four counties contain over 90% of the voters in the district.

Schrader, a farmer and former veterinarian, previously served in the Oregon House of Representatives and the Oregon Senate. Schrader highlighted his voting record, in particular when it came to bipartisan legislation. He said, “I founded the bipartisan ‘Problem Solvers Caucus,’ which is part of the reason I have been so effective at passing critical Covid-19 relief legislation and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and working on legislation to address important issues including reducing prescription drug costs.” President Joe Biden (D), the American Federation of Government Employees, and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed Schrader.

At the time of the primary, two independent election forecasters considered the general election as Lean Democratic, and one considered it a Toss-up. According to FiveThirtyEight, the district had a D+3 partisan lean.



Initiative campaign submits signatures to disqualify Oregon state legislators from re-election after a legislative walkout 

On May 27, the sponsors of an Oregon ballot initiative to disqualify state legislators from re-election after a legislative walkout submitted 183,942 unverified signatures.

The initiative is a constitutional amendment that would exclude legislators from re-election following the end of their term if they are absent from 10 legislative floor sessions without permission or excuse. In order to qualify for the ballot, sponsors need 149,360 valid signatures, which is equal to 8% of the votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election.

The chief petitioners of the initiative are Oregon Education Association President Reed Scott-Schwalbach and SEIU503 Local Vice President Andrea Kennedy-Smith. The initiative has been endorsed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D), Sen. Rob Wagner (D), and AFSCME Council 75. Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D) said, “We haven’t been able to solve this problem legislatively for obvious reasons – they would likely walk out if we tried to refer something. So I’m following the lead of community advocates who have put this proposal forward.”

State legislatures require a specific number of members to be present in order to conduct official business, such as debating or voting on legislation. The minimum number of members required to conduct official business is a quorum. While a lack of quorum can occur due to unexpected events, such as illness or inclement weather, it can also be used as a political tactic. Several times in recent decades, members of a minority party left the state capitol or the state entirely to prevent the passage of legislation. This is a state legislative walkout. 

Ballotpedia tracked five noteworthy legislative walkouts in Oregon, where legislators left the state for at least a week or received significant national media attention. The legislative walkouts occurred in 2001, 2019, 2020, and 2021. The two legislative walkouts in 2021 concerned Republican opposition to the state’s redistricting plan and state policies regarding COVID-19.

Oregon is one of four states that requires two-thirds of legislators to be present to establish a quorum. Forty-five states require a majority of legislators, and Massachusetts requires two-fifths of state senators or three-eighths of state representatives to be present for a quorum.

The deadline to submit signatures for the 2022 ballot is July 8. Two statewide ballot measures are certified for the November ballot. The legislature voted to refer an amendment that would add “affordable health care as a fundamental right” to the Oregon Constitution and an amendment that would repeal language allowing slavery or involuntary servitude as criminal punishment. Between 1995 and 2020, about 46.43% (78 of 168) of the total number of measures that appeared on statewide ballots during even-numbered years were approved, and about 53.57% (90 of 168) were defeated.

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Drazan defeats 18 other candidates to win the May 17 Republican primary for governor of Oregon

Christine Drazan defeated Bob Tiernan, Stan Pulliam, and 16 other candidates in the May 17 Republican primary for governor of Oregon. Incumbent Kate Brown (D) is term-limited.

Drazan represented District 39 in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2019 until she resigned on Jan. 31, 2022. She was elected House Minority Leader in September 2019 and served in that position until November 30, 2021.

Tiernan, a business consultant and former state legislator, served as the chairman of the Oregon Republican Party from 2009 to 2011.

Pulliam worked as an insurance executive and served as the mayor of Sandy, Oregon. He attracted media attention for his criticism of the measures Gov. Brown put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic and for calling the 2020 presidential election fraudulent.

All three candidates highlighted education as a critical issue for their campaigns. Drazan said she would make the superintendent of public instruction a statewide elected position, and Pulliam said the state should empower parents and local boards. Tiernan said there was a need for more charter schools and private schools, and that politics and social issues should be kept out of classrooms.

On public safety, Drazan said she would increase funding for state troopers, while Pulliam said he would triple the size of the Oregon State Police and temporarily deploy them in Portland. Tiernan said he would increase police patrols in high-crime areas.

Drazan and Tiernan said there was a homelessness crisis in the state. To tackle it, Drazan said that she would address addiction, mental health, and affordability, which she said were the root causes of homelessness. Tiernan said he would implement short-term measures to get the homeless population off the streets, establish temporary shelters, and assemble a task force focused on tackling the issue.

Also running in the primary were Bud Pierce, Raymond Baldwin, Bridget Barton, Court Boice, David Burch, Reed Christensen, Jessica Gomez, Nick Hess, Tim McCloud, Kerry McQuisten, Brandon Merritt, John Presco, Amber Richardson, Bill Sizemore, Stefan Strek, and Marc Thielman.



Salinas wins Democratic primary for Oregon’s 6th Congressional District

Andrea Salinas defeated Teresa Alonso Leon, Carrick Flynn, Loretta Smith, Cody Reynolds, Matt West, and three other candidates in the Democratic primary for Oregon’s 6th Congressional District on May 17, 2022.

The 6th District was one of seven new U.S. House districts created due to apportionment after the 2020 census, as Oregon gained one new Congressional district.

Salinas is a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, representing District 38. She was appointed to the seat in 2017, and elected to her first full term in 2018. Salinas campaigned on strengthening reproductive rights, fighting against climate change, and affordable healthcare. On her campaign website, Salinas said, “I think Washington could learn a thing or two from what we’ve done in Oregon about the power of finding common ground, working hard, and actually delivering on the issues that matter most to families: affordable health care, a fair economy, and an environment that is protected and cherished for generations to come.”

Alonso Leon is a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, representing District 22. She was first elected in 2016. She campaigned on education, universal healthcare, and strengthening Oregon’s economy. On her campaign website, Alonso Leon said: “As one of your congressional leaders, I’ll put small business and working families first, prioritize education and make sure that all our families have access to affordable and accessible healthcare. I will work to ensure that we are investing in public education, making college more affordable and building strong job training programs so that everyone succeeds after high school or earning a high school equivalency certificate such as a GED.”

Flynn has worked as a research associate at the Center for the Governance of AI, a nonprofit organization based in Oxford, England, and as a research faculty with Georgetown University. Flynn said, “I want to get back to the very basics. I would like to get a strong economy, I would like to prevent foreseeable, preventable disasters, and I would like to ensure that every family has an opportunity to thrive by finding high-paying work, good benefits, and the opportunity to get savings.” He campaigned on what he calls a green economy, fixing congress, and preventing pandemics.

Smith served on the Multnomah County Commission from 2011 to 2018. Smith campaigned on creating better paying jobs, expanding access to affordable housing, affordable healthcare, and protecting the environment. Smith said she was running “for Congress in Oregon’s new 6th Congressional District to stand up for equal opportunities for all so that every Oregon family, small business, and community can not just survive, but thrive.”

Reynolds served in the U.S. Army and co-founded a financial services company. He ran on universal healthcare, affordable housing, job training and the economy, and implementing policies to combat climate change. Reynolds said: “I find that too many career politicians are too busy and interested in self-dealing, and posturing for their next re-election to enact meaningful legislation. For these reasons, and with the love and support of my family and friends, I announce my candidacy for the 6th Congressional district.” Reynolds said he self-funded his campaign so he did not have to spend time soliciting donations.

West worked as an engineer with Intel. He campaigned on his experience as a scientist, saying “science is the key to solving some of our biggest challenges – from tackling climate change, providing energy, addressing current and future pandemics, ending food scarcity, and helping to raise people out of poverty — scientific-based solutions will save lives and protect families.” He also campaigned on affordable healthcare, racial justice, and using decentralized finance tools like cryptocurrency to create an equitable financial system.

Ricky Barajas, Greg Goodwin, and Kathleen Harder also ran in the primary.

Salinas will run against Mike Erickson, who won the Republican primary. Three independent race forecasters consider the general election Likely Democratic.