Lieber, Burdick win key Dem primaries; GOP picks Stevens, Sloop
Several partisan primaries for seats in the Oregon Legislature are being decided in this May election.
Below is a roundup of legislative races on Portland's Westside and the North Coast, and their unofficial results from the Tuesday, May 19, election.
Senate District 12 (McMinnville, Dallas, Jefferson, Monroe, Yamhill, Carlton, Southwest Hillsboro)
This traditionally Republican district drew an unusually robust pool of Democratic candidates this year.
Ross Swartzendruber, who was Democrats' nominee in 2016, led on Election Night, but he lost the lead by noon Wednesday, May 20, with more ballots added to the count. However, as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Swartzendruber leads again over Bernadette Hansen, 34.2% to 33.8%.
Lisa Pool is in third with 20% and Arianna Blunt trails behind the pack in fourth with 10.7%.
All four Democrats hope to take on Brian Boquist, a three-term Republican senator from Dallas who is running for re-election. Boquist faces no opposition Tuesday in the Republican primary.
Blunt is a Dundee-based artisan. Hansen, who lives outside McMinnville, is former executive director of the Yamhill Watershed Council. Pool is an acupuncturist and McMinnville resident. Swartzendruber is a sheep farmer from rural Polk County, outside Salem.
Boquist's district runs nearly the entire length of the Willamette Valley, from rural Benton County in the south up to Hillsboro High School at its northernmost end. Republicans outnumber Democrats here by voter registration.
Boquist defeated Swartzendruber by 26 percentage points four years ago, and he enters this year's race as a heavy favorite once again.
However, Boquist has been a lightning rod of controversy in the Legislature, at no time more so than last June, when he made threatening comments on camera against both the Senate president and Oregon state troopers when Senate Republicans were preparing to boycott the Capitol. While supporters rallied to Boquist's defense, the remarks also prompted some calls for his resignation. A legislative committee ordered Boquist to provide advance notice before coming back into the building after several staffers and a Democratic senator said they felt threatened by his behavior.
Senate District 14 (Beaverton, Raleigh Hills, Aloha, Southwest Portland)
One of this May's most fascinating matchups pitted political newcomer Kate Lieber of Portland against longtime Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten of Beaverton in this Democratic primary. It's Lieber who is victorious, unofficial results show.
Lieber leads Schouten with 73.7% of the vote in unofficial election results as of 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Lieber and Schouten were the two Democrats to jump into this Senate race after three-term incumbent Mark Hass, who was first appointed in 2007, announced he would instead seek the Democratic nomination for secretary of state.
Lieber will be favored over Harmony Mulkey, an Aloha Republican who is running unopposed for her party's nomination. Democrats have a better than two-to-one edge over Republicans in voter registration in this Senate district, which runs east-west from Raleigh Hills to Aloha, also taking in a sliver of Southwest Portland.
Schouten entered the race with more name recognition than Lieber, a former Multnomah County prosecutor and aide to former Portland Mayor Sam Adams who works as an instructor at Portland Community College. However, the Washington County commissioner was dramatically outpaced in campaign spending and endorsements in the run-up to the primary.
Schouten's wife, Beaverton Democrat Sheri Schouten, represents House District 27, which makes up the eastern half of this Senate district.
Senate District 18 (Downtown Portland, Southwest Portland, South Portland, Tigard, Metzger, Garden Home)
Democratic incumbent Ginny Burdick will keep the Senate seat she's represented for six terms, with unofficial results showing her leading challenger Ben Bowman with 69.7% of the vote.
Burdick, a Portland resident, drew a primary challenge from Bowman, a member of the Tigard-Tualatin School District and former legislative staffer to state Rep. Margaret Doherty, who represents half of Burdick's district in the Oregon House.
Bowman brought endorsements from several community leaders in Washington County, including Tigard Mayor Jason Snider and Washington County Democrats Chair Patrick Maguire, to the race. Burdick is backed by much of the Democratic establishment, including Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Gov. Kate Brown.
Burdick significantly outspent Bowman leading up to Tuesday's vote, according to campaign finance data from the secretary of state's office. Results have her winning all three counties by wide margins.
Republicans did not put forward a candidate on the ballot. Democrats hold a huge advantage in voter registration over Republicans in this Senate district, and Burdick ran in 2016 without opposition.
House District 26 (Wilsonville, Sherwood, King City, West Tigard, South Hillsboro)
Peggy Stevens is leading the contested Republican primary with 56.3% of the vote, according to unofficial results as of 6 p.m. Wednesday. Dan Laschober and Larry McDonald are running in second and third with 28.5% and 14.2% respectively.
This sprawling district runs from the Willamette River in Wilsonville north to Century High School in Hillsboro.
Two years ago, Democrats nominated Ryan Spiker to run against then-Rep. Rich Vial, a Scholls Republican, who in turn fended off a primary challenge from Dan Laschober of Wilsonville. Spiker dropped out after the primary, however, and was replaced on the general election ballot by Courtney Neron, a Wilsonville Democrat.
In one of the biggest upsets of the 2018 election cycle, Neron defeated Vial by about 3 percentage points in November. With Neron running for re-election, this is expected to be one of Republicans' best opportunities to pick up a legislative seat this year — and a top priority for Oregon Democrats to defend.
Neron has no opposition in the Democratic primary.
Stevens lives in Sherwood and is a retired accountant. Laschober, a Wilsonville resident, works as a consultant. McDonald is an exterminator who also lives in Wilsonville.
House District 28 (West Beaverton, Aloha)
Wlnsvey Campos will be the Democratic nominee, unofficial results show.
Campos led widely with 54.8% of the vote by 6 p.m. Wednesday. Primary opponents Alisa Blum, with 27%, and Jacob Bride, with 17.7%, trailed.
This district in Beaverton and Aloha makes up one-half of the Senate district being vacated by Democrat Mark Hass to run for secretary of state. It's currently represented by Jeff Barker, a moderate Democrat from Aloha who chose not to seek a 10th term in the Oregon House.
Campos is a social worker and case manager for Family Promise of Beaverton. Blum also has a background in social work and currently works as a consultant. Bride is in the Oregon Army National Guard. Blum lives on the Beaverton side of the district, while Campos and Bride live in Aloha.
Democrats enjoy a hefty registration edge in the district. Campos enters the general election as a strong favorite over Aloha Republican Daniel Martin.
Martin is unopposed in the Republican primary this year. Four years ago, he finished second to Gary Carlson in the Republican primary. Carlson went on to lose the general election to Barker.
House District 29 (Forest Grove, Cornelius, West Hillsboro)
In the contested Republican primary in this heavily Democratic district, Dale Fishback has soundly defeated David Dowling, according to official results. He holds 78.2% of the vote in the two-way race as of 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Three-term Democrat Susan McLain of Forest Grove is running for re-election in this district, which covers the westernmost end of the Portland Metro area. McLain, a retired schoolteacher and debate coach, does not have a Democratic primary opponent.
In 2018, McLain defeated Republican nominee David Molina by a nearly 20-point margin.
Fishback is a former nursery worker and operations manager for the Tualatin Valley Water District. Dowler is a U.S. Navy veteran who has worked as a financial analyst for the Portland city government. Both reside in Hillsboro.
House District 31 (Columbia County, Sauvie Island, Burlington, North Bethany, Pumpkin Ridge)
Making a second bid for this increasingly Republican-friendly district this year, Brian G. Stout will again be his party's standard-bearer.
Stout was leading William Spencer of Clatskanie with 86% of the Republican primary vote at midnight Wednesday.
Stout, then a Bethany resident, lost two years ago in his attempt to unseat Rep. Brad Witt, a Clatskanie Democrat. Stout has since relocated to Columbia City, closer to this geographically large district's center of population.
After winning in 2018 by 8 percentage points, Witt is running for a ninth term in the Oregon House this year. He is not opposed in the Democratic primary.
After voting twice for Democrat Barack Obama, in 2008 and 2012, Columbia County swung hard toward Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. State Republicans are hoping that political trends continue to work in their favor in this district northwest of Portland, and this could be a top House battleground come fall.
Stout has a small business making signs. Spencer works for Georgia-Pacific's plant at Wauna.
House District 32 (Clatsop County, Tillamook, Rockaway Beach, Banks, Gales Creek, Gaston)
This district that stretches from the mouth of the Columbia River to the wine country of western Washington County is being vacated by freshman Democrat Tiffiny Mitchell, who is moving out of the state.
In the Democratic primary, Debbie Boothe-Schmidt is handily beating George Kiepke with 71.3% of the vote. Kiepke is a former Clatsop County commissioner and past chair of the Clatsop County Democrats. Boothe-Schmidt is an Astoria business owner and Sunset Empire Transportation District board member.
Republican voters nominated Suzanne Weber over Vineeta Lower, 79.9% to 19.6%. An educator, Lower ran unsuccessfully for Mitchell's seat two years ago. Weber is mayor of Tillamook, one of the district's largest population centers.
These are unofficial results as of 6 p.m. on Wednesday, although with the massive margins for Boothe-Schmidt and Weber, subsequent updates shouldn't affect the outcome.
Clatsop County announced before the 8 p.m. deadline that it didn't plan to count as many votes as usual on Tuesday, with only ballots received by 2 p.m. to be tallied on Election Night. Ballots received between 2 and 8 p.m. Tuesday will be counted later in the week.
Mitchell defeated Lower, a Seaside resident, in the general election in 2018. Running to succeed retiring Democrat Deborah Boone, Mitchell topped Lower by 6 percentage points. Third-party candidates together marshaled about 8% of the vote that year.
Although this district is traditionally Democratic, political trends on the Oregon coast have broadly favored Republicans in recent years, and the parts of western Washington County the district takes in are among the county's most conservative.
In 2018, this was one of the most expensive House races in Oregon, and it may again be a top-dollar contest in 2020.
House District 33 (Northwest Portland, South Bethany, Cedar Mill, Oak Hills)
Maxine Dexter is ahead in the crowded Democratic primary in this open-seat race. She holds 39.8% of the vote as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, leading Christina Stephenson, Serin Bussell and Andy Saultz, in that order, with an 12-point edge over Stephenson.
This had been Mitch Greenlick's seat for the past 17 years. A Democrat known for both his healthcare advocacy and his suffer-no-fools manner, Greenlick died Friday, May 15, at age 85, leaving House District 33 without a sitting representative. He had previously announced he would not seek a 10th term in the Oregon House.
This is a heavily Democratic district. Despite rating for years as one of the Oregon Legislature's most liberal lawmakers, Greenlick never faced serious opposition on the ballot. Assuming she is the nominee, Dexter will be strongly favored to win in November.
Dexter is a critical care doctor with Kaiser Permanente. Saultz is a professor at Pacific University. Stephenson is a civil rights attorney. Bussell is a geologist by training and chief of staff to state Sen. Jeff Golden, an Ashland Democrat. All but Saultz, who is a Cedar Mill resident, live in Portland.
Republicans are nominating Dick Courter, who faces no opposition in Tuesday's primary. Courter is a Portland resident and political newcomer.
Although the Legislature isn't scheduled to meet until 2021, under state law, a new representative will have to be named to fill out Greenlick's unexpired term.
County commissioners in Multnomah and Washington counties are expected to appoint someone of Greenlick's party, with local Democrats selecting a short list of candidates for the commissioners to consider. That appointee will serve until the representative-elect, winner of the November election, is sworn in.
House District 35 (Southwest Portland, Tigard, Metzger, Garden Home)
Portland's Dacia Grayber was the favorite to win the Democratic nomination here, and she did. She holds 92.8% of the vote in a two-way race against Keenan Casavant of Tigard as of 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Grayber, a Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue firefighter, marshaled the backing of labor unions and most of the Democratic establishment against Casavant, a consultant who positioned himself as a more conservative Democrat in the race. They are vying to succeed Margaret Doherty, a Tigard Democrat first appointed to the House in 2009. Doherty is not running for a sixth full term.
Democrats have a strong advantage in voter registration over Republicans in this district, which takes in Tigard and parts of unincorporated Washington County along with a small slice of Southwest Portland, including the Portland Community College campus at Sylvania.
Tigard Republican Bob Niemeyer is running again after losing to Doherty two years ago by a 25-point margin. Niemeyer is unopposed in the Republican primary.
House District 36 (Downtown Portland, Southwest Portland, South Portland)
In this inner-Westside district, Lisa Reynolds leads the four Democrats running by a 7.5-point margin over second-place Laurie Wimmer, as of 6 p.m. Wednesday. Rob Fullmer and Adam Meyer are running a distant third and fourth, respectively.
Reynolds has 43.4% of the vote, with Wimmer at 35.9%.
This district, which encompasses most of Portland west of the Willamette River, is currently represented by Democrat Akasha Lawrence-Spence, who was appointed in January to fill out the remaining year in Jennifer Williamson's term. Lawrence-Spence is not running in the election.
Reynolds is a pediatrician with Legacy Health. Fullmer works as an IT specialist at Portland State University. Meyer is a fire protection analyst for the Oregon Department of Forestry. Wimmer is a longtime lobbyist for the Oregon Education Association.
Williamson, who was House majority leader for the 2019 Legislature, announced after last year's tumultuous session that she would run for secretary of state instead of seeking re-election. She resigned from her House seat in late 2019 to focus on the race.
Despite being favored in the Democratic primary for secretary of state, Williamson dropped out in February amid allegations she used campaign money for personal and work-related expenses.
In this House race, the Democratic nominee will enter the general election with a huge advantage over Portland podcaster James A. Ball, who ran unopposed for the Republican nomination. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans nearly seven to one in this district, according to state voter registration data.
House District 37 (Tualatin, West Linn, Stafford, Durham, Rivergrove, Marylhurst)
Between Ron Garcia and Kelly Sloop, Republicans have chosen Sloop as their standard-bearer in this high-profile House race.
As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sloop was leading the two-person primary with 70.4% of the vote.
Republicans are gunning to take back this seat from Rep. Rachel Prusak, a freshman Democrat who turfed out four-term Republican Julie Parrish in a 2018 upset. Prusak is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Garcia is a property manager and real estate agent. Sloop is a pharmacist and PTA president.
This district in Portland's southwestern suburbs has its population base in Tualatin, but Garcia, Sloop and Prusak all live in its second-largest city, West Linn. The district also takes in a couple of smaller cities and most of the unincorporated Stafford area that lies in between Tualatin, West Linn, Lake Oswego and Wilsonville.
While registered Democrats decidedly outnumber registered Republicans in this district, it's considered a swing district. Prusak defeated Parrish two years ago by nearly 6 percentage points, but two years before that, Parrish swept aside Tualatin Democrat Paul Southwick by a 10-point margin.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with unofficial vote counts as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 20.
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