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Stories about Oregon

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.



Val Hoyle wins Oregon’s 4th Congressional District Democratic primary

Val Hoyle defeated Doyle Canning, Andrew Kalloch, John Selker, and four other candidates in the Democratic Party primary for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District on May 17, 2022. Incumbent Peter DeFazio (D), who represented the district since 1987, did not run for re-election. 

Hoyle was elected Oregon Commissioner of Labor and Industries in 2018. Hoyle was a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, representing District 14 from 2009 to 2017. Hoyle ran for Oregon Secretary of State in 2016 and lost in the Democratic primary, receiving 34% of the vote. Hoyle emphasized her experience in office, with her campaign manager saying, “Val is the only candidate in this race with a record of passing climate legislation. In the Oregon Legislature, she supported the bill to eliminate coal energy in Oregon and led the fight to pass Oregon’s clean fuels program.”

Canning ran in the 2020 Democratic primary for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District and lost DeFazio, receiving 15% of the vote. Canning worked as a community organizer and attorney and was vice chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon Environmental Caucus. “Oregon voters are hungry for a climate champion for Congress in 2022. I have been in this fight for 20 years, working on some of the most important climate battles of our time, including the successful defeat of the Jordan Cove project in 2021,” Canning said.

Kalloch worked as an attorney for the ACLU of New York, a policy advisor for the NYC Comptroller, and in global public policy for Airbnb. He has been affiliated with the City Clubs of Eugene and Portland, the Technology Association of Oregon, the Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing, and the PDX Chapter of Braver Angels. “From my time as a civil rights attorney at the ACLU to my experience as a top policy adviser in city government and my work in Global Public Policy with Airbnb, I have used every institution of power to deliver results for American families,” Kalloch said.

Selker’s career experience includes working as a university professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University. Selker also served as co-director of the Center for Transformative Environmental Monitoring Programs and the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory at the university. “We must provide a society where people can thrive, and pass on an environment where future generations can be as inspired and sustained as we are by the splendor of nature,” Selker said.

Sami Al-Abdrabbuh, Steve Laible, Jake Matthews, and G. Tommy Smith also ran in the Democratic primary.

The Cook Political Report rated the general election as Likely Democratic. In the 2020 general election, DeFazio defeated Alek Skarlatos (R) with 52% of the vote to Skarlatos’ 46%.



Kotek wins Oregon Democratic primary for governor

ina Kotek defeated Tobias Read and 13 other candidates in the May 17 Democratic primary for governor of Oregon. Incumbent Kate Brown (D) was term-limited and could not run for re-election.

The Associated Press’ Sarah Cline wrote: “Oregon hasn’t seen a GOP governor in 35 years. But political experts say Republicans have an opening for victory amid widespread discontent in the state and a possible split in votes among the majority parties as the unaffiliated Johnson makes a gubernatorial run in the fall.”

Kotek served as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives from 2007 to 2022, when she resigned to focus on her gubernatorial campaign. She also served as the State House Speaker from 2013 to 2022. Kotek ran on reforming zoning laws to make housing more affordable, increasing the minimum wage, and funding schools. She said, “Oregonians are living through a devastating pandemic, the intensifying impacts of climate change, and the economic disruptions that leave too many behind. We must get past the politics of division and focus on making real, meaningful progress for families across our state.” Kotek said her time in the legislature shows that she knows how government works: “With new legislative leadership in 2023, it will be helpful to have a governor who has been in the Legislature and has been in their positions. There is going to be change, but I hope there is continuity provided by a governor who understands what it means to be a legislative leader.” The Oregon Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, and EMILY’s List endorsed Kotek.

Read is the Oregon Treasurer, a position to which he was first elected in 2016. He ran on enacting policies to curb gun violence, investing in K-12 schools, and lowering childcare costs. Read said, “We need to stop lurching from one crisis to the next and lay out a vision for where to take Oregon. Not just for next year, but for the next generation. My approach is simple: I’ll measure Oregon’s progress by how well our kids are doing.” Read also said that homelessness and affordable housing were the state’s two biggest issues: “Oregon is facing a housing and homeless crisis. This didn’t occur overnight, but is a result of years of shortsighted policy and budget decisions. Covid19 and resulting economic challenges made the crisis more acute, but we would be facing this challenge without it.” AFT-Oregon, a state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, and former Gov. Barbara Roberts, who served from 1991 to 1995, endorsed Read.

David Beem, Julian Bell, Wilson Bright, George Carrillo, Michael Cross, Ifeanyichukwu Diru, Peter Hall, Keisha Merchant, Patrick Starnes, Dave Stauffer, John Sweeney, Michael Trimble, Genevieve Wilson also ran in the Democratic primary.

In the general election, Kotek will face former state Sen. Betsy Johnson, who is running as an unaffiliated candidate, and the Republican nominee. The Republican primary was uncalled at the time of this writing.



Oregon fire district board member recalled with 51.1% of the vote

In Washington County, Oregon, Banks Fire District #13 board members Mark Schmidlin and Ed Ewing faced a recall election on April 12, 2022. Schmidlin was recalled with 51.1% of votes cast in favor of the recall. Ewing retained his seat with 52.4% of votes cast against the recall. Schmidlin’s seat will be filled via a vote by the remaining board members. 

The recall effort was led by Jacoba Kemper. The recall petition stated that the two board members failed to properly investigate harassment accusations against Chief Rodney Linz. Recall supporters gathered 513 signatures in support of recalling Ewing and 537 signatures in support of recalling Schmidlin. The threshold to send the recall to a vote was 449 signatures.

There have been four recall efforts against six special district board members in 2022. Of those, one recall was approved, one was defeated, three did not go to a vote, and one is underway. 

Between January and June of 2021, 10 special district members were targets of recall efforts. 

Additional reading:



Eight candidates running in Oregon’s 4th Congressional District Democratic primary election

Eight candidates are running in the Democratic Party primary for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District on May 17, 2022. Incumbent Peter DeFazio (D), who has represented the district since 1987, announced he would not seek re-election in 2022 on Dec. 1, 2021.

Doyle Canning, Val Hoyle, Andrew Kalloch, and John Selker lead in fundraising and media attention. Sami Al-Abdrabbuh, Steve Laible, Jake Matthews, and G. Tommy Smith are also running in the Democratic primary.

Canning ran in the district’s 2020 Democratic primary and lost to DeFazio, 15%-84%. Canning worked as a community organizer and attorney and was vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon Environmental Caucus. “Oregon voters are hungry for a climate champion for Congress in 2022. I have been in this fight for 20 years, working on some of the most important climate battles of our time, including the successful defeat of the Jordan Cove project in 2021,” Canning said.

Hoyle was elected Oregon Commissioner of Labor and Industries on May 15, 2018, and was a Democratic member of the Oregon House of Representatives, representing District 14 from 2009 to 2017. Hoyle ran for Oregon Secretary of State in 2016 and lost in the Democratic primary to Brad Avakian 34%-39%. Hoyle has emphasized her experience in office, with her campaign manager saying, “Val is the only candidate in this race with a record of passing climate legislation. In the Oregon Legislature, she supported the bill to eliminate coal energy in Oregon and led the fight to pass Oregon’s clean fuels program.”

Kalloch worked as an attorney for the ACLU of New York, a policy advisor for the NYC Comptroller, and in global public policy for Airbnb. He has been affiliated with the City Clubs of Eugene and Portland, the Technology Association of Oregon, the Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing, and the PDX Chapter of Braver Angels. “From my time as a civil rights attorney at the ACLU to my experience as a top policy adviser in city government and my work in Global Public Policy with Airbnb, I have used every institution of power to deliver results for American families,” Kalloch said.

Selker’s career experience includes working as a university professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University. Selker also served as co-director of the Center for Transformative Environmental Monitoring Programs and the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory at the university. “We must provide a society where people can thrive, and pass on an environment where future generations can be as inspired and sustained as we are by the splendor of nature,” Selker said.

The Cook Political Report has rated the general election as Likely Democratic. In the 2020 general election, DeFazio defeated Alek Skarlatos (R) with 52% of the vote to Skarlatos’ 46%.



Oregon state legislative elections set to have the most contested primaries since at least 2014

Voters in Oregon will have more decisions to make in their upcoming state legislative primaries elections than at any point since at least 2014. Of the 150 possible primaries, 38—or 25.4%—are being contested by more than one candidate. 

This is also the first time since 2014 with more contested Republican primaries than Democratic primaries. Similarly, for the first time since at least 2014, more Republicans filed to run for state legislative office than Democrats: 190 major party candidates filed, 90 Democrats (47%) and 100 Republicans (53%).

Here are some other key takeaways from Oregon’s primary filing deadline:

  • Twenty-four districts were left open, meaning no incumbents filed to run. That’s the largest number of open districts since at least 2014. With 75 districts up for election, that also means 32% of districts are guaranteed to be won by newcomers.
  • Nine incumbents are facing primary challengers, or 18% of those who filed for re-election. That’s the largest percentage since at least 2014.
  • Overall, 190 major party candidates filed, equaling 2.5 candidates per district, the same as in 2020 but higher than all previous cycles back to at least 2014.

The filing deadline for candidates running for state or federal office in Oregon this year was March 8. Candidates filed to run for all 100 state House districts and 15 of the state’s 30 Senate districts.

Oregon is a Democratic trifecta, with Democrats controlling the governorship and holding majorities in both chambers of the legislature: 18-11-1 in the Senate and 37-23 in the House.

Oregon’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for May 17, making them the sixth in the nation this election cycle.

Additional reading:



Oregon expands unemployment insurance eligibility

The Oregon Employment Department issued an order effective March 13, 2022, loosening unemployment insurance eligibility requirements. The order expanded the definition of the phrase available to work to include workers who are available to work at least 40 hours per week during times when, according to the state, an employer would typically offer work. Previously, workers could only claim unemployment insurance benefits if they were available to work any hours offered to them.

Workers can now claim benefits if their available hours are limited due to child care schedules, the care schedules of elderly parents, college class schedules, and public transportation schedules.

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.

Additional reading:



Number of open U.S. House seats in Oregon reaches decade high

The filing deadline for candidates running for state or federal office in Oregon was March 8, 2022. This year, 46 candidates are running in Oregon’s six U.S. House districts, including 26 Democrats, 19 Republicans, and one independent. That’s 7.7 candidates per district, down from 9.2 candidates per district in 2020 and 8.4 in 2018.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. Oregon was apportioned six seats following the 2020 census, up one from the five the state was apportioned after the 2010 census.
  • Two of Oregon’s six U.S. House seats are open this year; the new seat in the 6th District and the seat in the 4th District. 4th District incumbent Peter DeFazio (D) is retiring from politics.
  • Oregon’s two open seats this year is the most since at least 2012. The only other election year since 2012 with an open seat was 2020. That year, one seat was open.
  • All four incumbents running for re-election will face at least one primary challenger this year.
  • At least one Democrat and one Republican filed in all six districts, meaning there are no districts where one major party is all but guaranteed to win because no candidates from the other party filed.
  • Sixteen candidates filed to run in the new 6th District, more than any other. This number includes nine Democrats and seven Republicans.

Oregon’s U.S. House primaries will take place on May 17.

Additional reading:



Nine candidates running in the May 17 Democratic primary for Oregon’s 6th Congressional District

Teresa Alonso Leon, Andrea Salinas, Loretta Smith, Cody Reynolds, and Matt West have led in fundraising, media attention, and endorsements.

Alonso Leon is a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, representing District 22. She was first elected in 2016. She has 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.”

Salinas is a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, representing District 38. She was first appointed to the chamber in 2017. Salinas has campaigned on what she calls 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.”

Smith served on the Multnomah County Commission from 2011 to 2018. Smith has campaigned on creating better paying jobs, expanding access to affordable housing, affordable healthcare, and protecting the environment. Smith said she is 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 is a businessman and West Point graduate who served in the U.S. Army. He has run 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.”

West works as an engineer with Intel. He has 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 has also campaigned on affordable healthcare, racial justice, and using decentralized finance tools like cryptocurrency to create an equitable financial system.

Ricky Barajas, Carrick Flynn, Greg Goodwin, and Kathleen Harder are also running in the primary.



Nineteen candidates are running in the Republican primary on May 17 for governor of Oregon

Nineteen candidates are running in the Republican primary for governor of Oregon on May 17, 2022. Incumbent Kate Brown (D) is term-limited and cannot run for re-election.

Christine Drazan, Bud Pierce, and Stan Pulliam have led in fundraising and media coverage.

All three candidates have highlighted education and public safety as critical issues for their campaigns. On education, Pierce said he would set up a non-political oversight board to look after education in the state, and Drazan said she would make the superintendent of public instruction a statewide position that she argues would be accountable to voters. Pulliam said the state should empower parents and local boards. 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. Pierce said he would work with federal, state, and local authorities to better public safety.

Drazan and Pierce have said there is a homelessness crisis in the state. To tackle it, Drazan said that she would address addiction, mental health, and affordability, which she said are the root causes of homelessness. Pierce said he would address those same issues by building more affordable housing and public shelters with services to tackle addiction and mental health.

On the campaign trail, Pulliam has also focused on economic growth, saying, “we’ve got to stand up for our local small business owners and ignite the economic sector in this state.”

Pierce is an oncologist who ran as the Republican nominee in the 2016 special election to finish the term of former Gov. John Kitzhaber (D). Governor Brown, who replaced Kitzhaber after he resigned in February 2015, defeated Pierce and three other candidates in that election.

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 Nov. 30, 2021, when she stepped down.

Pulliam is an insurance executive who has served as the mayor of Sandy, Oregon, since 2019.

Oregon’s last five governors have been Democrats, and as of March 2022, three independent election forecasters considered the general election as Likely or Lean Democratic. The last Republican to win the governorship in Oregon was Victor Atiyeh, who served from 1979 to 1987.

Also running in the primary are 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, Marc Thielman, Bob Tiernan.