Mitchell wins HD 32 Democratic primary
Astoria's Tiffiny Mitchell appears to be the winner in the Tuesday, May 15, Democratic primary election for House District 32.
As of Wednesday morning, May 16, returns from the Oregon Elections Division gave Mitchell, who works for the Oregon Department of Human Services, about a 12-point lead over her closest rival, John Orr, an attorney and municipal court judge in Gearhart. Orr was jockeying with Tillamook County Commissioner Tim Josi for second place.
Mitchell received 41.3 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results Wednesday. Orr grabbed 29.4 percent of the vote, with Josi close behind at 28.9 percent.
"I couldn't be happier than I am at this very moment," said Mitchell shortly after 10:10 p.m. Tuesday night. "I thank all of the other candidates that ran. I think that we all did a really great job. And I'm just happy with the way that things ended."
Mitchell is expected to face Independent Brian Halvorson and Republican Vineeta Lower in the open-seat contest in HD 32, which covers Clatsop County, most of Tillamook County and parts of western Washington County. Halvorson and Lower ran unopposed in their party primaries.
The seat is being vacated by state Rep. Deborah Boone, a Hamlet Democrat, who has represented the North Coast since 2004.
Boone endorsed Josi in the race, as did many local industries. Orr and Mitchell, who positioned themselves as liberal alternatives to the more centrist Josi — who also served in the Oregon House of Representatives for eight years — received progressive backing, with Mitchell earning a number of major endorsements from labor groups.
Mitchell said she plans to continue campaigning on the message that the Oregon Legislature needs to better reflect the state, particularly its working class.
SEIU Local 503, which endorsed Mitchell in the contest, hailed the result as a victory for its candidate.
"We are particularly excited to see SEIU 503 member Tiffiny Mitchell win the Democratic nomination for House District 32," said Melissa Unger, the union's executive director, in a statement released just after 10 p.m. "Tiffiny filed to run just minutes before the deadline because she didn't see anyone in the race who represented working families. Throughout the campaign she focused on the struggles of being a working woman, highlighting her own challenges handling a mortgage and paying off student loans on a public employee salary."
Mitchell thanked her voters, supporters and volunteers, saying it was "overwhelming" to receive that kind of support in her campaign.
"I definitely want to thank my volunteers," she said. "because we had a lot of volunteers come in from all over my district to really work and canvass for me."
Editor's note: This story has been updated with unofficial results as of Wednesday, May 16, and quotes from Tiffiny Mitchell and the SEIU 503 executive director.
By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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