2018 Oregon Primary Election Results: Liberal Democrats' Primary Wins Push Oregon Legislature Further to the Left

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Editor's Note:  The 2018 Oregon Primary Election on last Tuesday was brutal for Oregon community owners and landlords and business owners.   It was a dismal election night for some of Oregon's strongest opponents of rent control.  In some cases the primary election winners - staunch rent control advocates - will face NO opposition in the November General Election.  The loss of Senator Rod Monroe (Senate District 24) will have a profound impact in the 2019 Oregon Legislative Session.  Senator Monroe was the one vote stopping rent control in the Senate in the 2017 Oregon Legislative Session.  MHCO will be monitoring and engaged in the upcoming General Election  - but with Tuesday's election results the 2019 Oregon Legislative Session may consist of super majority Democrats in both chambers and a definite leftward tilt that will make rent control and other anti-landlord and anti-business all that more challenging to defeat.  The following article from "The Oregonian" sums up the key legislative races in Oregon.  

The following article is from "Oregonian", "OregonLive" - Posted May 15, 2018 at 09:59 PM | Updated May 16, 2018 at 12:04 PM

Oregon’s liberal Democrats notched key wins Tuesday in legislative primaries that focused on such hot-button issues as housing affordability and the state’s public pension crisis.


With the Legislature likely to consider proposals on tax increases, public pension reform and greenhouse gas emissions next year, the constituencies that support and oppose those plans – businesses, public employee unions and environmentalists – poured money into certain primary contests.


The vote also set the stage in a couple of swing districts that are likely to be intensely contested in November’s general election, as Democrats attempt to win a supermajority and Republicans do their best to block them. Democrats need to pick up just one seat in the House and Senate to achieve the three-fifths supermajority necessary to pass bills raising revenue without Republican support.


Tuesday’s primaries included 16 seats up for grabs in the Senate, with five Democrats running unopposed. All 60 seats were up in the House, with seven Republicans and 24 Democrats running unopposed.




This East Portland district was one of the most closely watched and high-spending races in the May primary, with civil rights attorney Shemia Fagan handing a decisive defeat to five-term Democratic incumbent Rod Monroe. Fagan won 62 percent to Monroe’s 25 percent. Kayse Jama, a 43-year-old Somali immigrant and community organizer collected 13 percent of the vote.


Monroe, 75, a five-term senator, was vulnerable because the race centered on housing. The owner of a 51-unit apartment complex in East Portland, Monroe alienated tenant advocates and fellow Democrats last year when he opposed a bill that would have restricted evictions and allowed some rent controls.


Monroe spent heavily to defend his seat, raising nearly $385,000 -- much of it from the real estate industry -- and spent most of it. A group largely funded by the real estate industry also raised more than $360,000 and spent much of it on polling in support of Monroe and advertising against Fagan


That wasn’t enough to fend off Fagan, who moved into Monroe's Senate district last year. The Happy Valley resident has raised $310,000, with big contributions from the state's public employee unions and the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association. The recently formed political action committee A Progressive Voice for Oregon also paid for advertising against Monroe, although the committee funded mostly by trial lawyers and public employee unions did not disclose the purpose of most of its $66,000 in reported spending.  

Fagan made affordable housing her top priority and said she would put an end to no-cause evictions and allow cities to enact rent controls.




Senate President Peter Courtney, a Salem Democrat, faced his first primary challenger in 20 years. Though Courtney handily beat Joyce Judy -- 65 percent to 35 percent -- the race put the state’s longest-serving current lawmaker and most-tenured Senate president in the position of defending his record against attacks by Judy and other more liberal Democrats.




This is poised to be a pivotal race in the general election, potentially giving Democrats the additional position needed to achieve a supermajority in the Senate. It opened up after Republican Sen. Alan DeBoer decided not to seek reelection.


Democrats had four candidates: community services nonprofit employee Kevin Stine, television producer Jeff Golden, behavioral health administrator Athena Goldberg and physician Julian Bell. Golden had a decisive lead Tuesday evening, with 52 percent of the vote. Athena Goldberg trailed with 36 percent.


On the Republican side, technology company founder and CEO Jessica Gomez claimed victory with 54 percent of the vote, over certified public accountant Curt Ankerberg’s 46 percent. Gomez also worked as one of DeBoer’s legislative aides.




This Democratic primary was likely the most-watched House race among political insiders. It pitted Tim Josi, a full-time Tillamook County Commissioner backed by outgoing Rep. Deborah Boone, against two rivals running to the left of Josi. Child welfare worker Tiffiny Mitchell, who moved to Oregon from Utah about three years ago, led with 39 percent Tuesday night and Josi had 31 percent. John Orr, who splits his time between part-time jobs as a municipal court judge and biomass energy contractor, followed with 30 percent.


A central issue in the race was whether public employees should begin contributing to the public pension fund. Orr and Mitchell said the state should not require public employees to contribute. Josi said the state should consider requiring employees to put money into the fund, but said he remains undecided on the issue.




Selma Pierce, a retired dentist from Salem, was recruited by House leadership to challenge the potentially vulnerable Democratic incumbent, Paul Evans. She easily bested her opponent in the Republican primary, garnering 61 percent of ballots versus Kevin Chambers’ 39 percent.


Pierce, the wife of former gubernatorial candidate Bud Pierce, is a longtime volunteer in the Salem area and says she’ll prioritize improving graduation rates and vocational education; providing more robust services to those suffering mental health issuesand private sector affordable housing solutions.


This is a swing district some consider to be the closest in the state. Democrats have only a 3.6 percentage point registration margin and Evans, an Air Force veteran and Western Oregon University professor, eked out a victory by less than 2,000 votes in 2016.




Democrats have long set their sights on this district, and the departure of former Rep. Mark Johnson last year to take a short-lived job leading a business group put the seat in play.


On the Republican side, Rep. Jeffrey Helfrich -- who was selected by county commissioners to serve the remainder of Johnson’s term -- was the clear winner with 98 percent of the vote.


Democrats fielded educator and environmental activist Aurora del Valwho fought the Nestle water bottling proposal, and academic adviser Anna Williams. Del Val withdrew from the race earlier this year but was still on the ballot. Williams held a large lead with 77 percent over del Val's 22 percent.




Gun control was a central issue in this Republican primary. Incumbent Rich Vial garnered 70 percent of the vote, easily beating challenger Daniel Laschober. Laschober entered the race after Vial and two other House Republicans joined Democrats to pass a lawbroadening an existing ban on people owning guns because of domestic violence or stalking convictions. Vial is a lawyer and Laschober is a software and finance consultant.



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