Oregon’s Primary Election Overview

With voter turnout lagging behind previous elections, at around 24%, yesterday’s primary election still had some drama. Oregon has a “closed” primary and only voters registered in a party may vote for that party’s candidates. Voters who are not affiliated, which is a majority of Oregonians, receive a ballot for only nonpartisan races. Here are some highlights from last night’s biggest contests:

CD3: The biggest race last night was the Democratic primary to replace Congressman Earl Blumenauer who served in Congression since 1996. After nearly $6 million was spent in support of Rep. Maxine Dexter and against her closest opponent, Susheela Jayapal, Dexter pulled out the victory with 52% of the vote and will most likely be on her way to Congress in this heavy-leaning Democratic district. Dexter is a current member of the Oregon House of Representatives and a physician.

The Cook Political Report said, “Outside money carried Democratic state Rep. Maxine Dexter to victory in the Democratic primary for Oregon’s 3rd District, a deep blue seat anchored in Portland that’s open for the first time in decades now that Rep. Earl Blumenauer is retiring. Dexter is on track to win the contest by double digits, taking in 51% of the vote, with 63% of the vote counted. Former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, whose sister Rep. Pramila Jayapal chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was the initial frontrunner, but super PACs spent over $5.7 million on the airwaves boosting Dexter and attacking Jayapal for her record on the county commission.”

CD5: The other Congressional race was the Democratic primary in the 5th Congressional District to have the opportunity to run against Congresswoman Lori Chavez-DeRemer. Janelle Bynum pulled out a very strong victory beating the previous challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, 70%-30%. These two ran against each other twice in a state legislative race and Bynum beat Chavez-DeRemer both times. This race was unique as the national Democratic groups put money in this primary in support of Bynum. This is now set up for one of the most competitive seats in the nation!

Statewide Races:  Current Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read, easily gained victory in his primary to be the new Secretary of State with 70% of the Democratic vote. He will run against State Senator Dennis Linthicum in the fall election.  State Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward won her State Treasurer primary with 77% of the vote and she will face Senator Brian Boquist in November. The current Speaker of the House, Dan Rayfield, will take on Will Lathrop for Attorney General. Because of registration numbers in the state, all three of these races will favor the Democratic candidate.

The Association is tracking all of the State House and Senate races and will be compiling an 2024 election document to share at the next GAC meeting. A Few highlights of note:

  • Son of State Senator Art Robinson, Noah Robinson, leads over State Representative Christine Goodwin for Oregon Senate #3.
  • Former State Representative Christine Drazan retakes her House seat from incumbent State Representative James Hieb.
  • Incumbent State Representative Charlie Conrad bounced from seat.  A Republican, Conrad was targeted over his social issues by a more conservative challenger Darin Harbick.  At one point Harbick was leading by nearly 80% of the vote.
  • Diane Linthicum, the wife of State Senator Dennis Linthicum is winning in the race to replace her husband in the 28th .
  • Former State Representative Mike McLane is winning his bid for a State Senate seat in District 30.
  • In a hotly contested race in Eastern Oregon, credit union-supported candidate Todd Nash beat out three other primary challengers.

Some results are not yet final; you can track the results of Oregon races here.

Thank you, Oregon advocates, for your continued engagement. We will be in touch regarding opportunities to meet with candidates this summer.

Posted in Advocacy on the Move, Oregon Advocacy.