Support Local Journalism!        

Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



With most votes counted, one state senator beats another, but will face a GOP senator in the fall.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Mark Hass has a slim edge over his Democratic rivals in the bid to be Oregon's next Secretary of State. State Sen. Mark Hass has conceded to state Sen. Shemia Fagan in their bid for the Democratic nomination for Oregon secretary of state.

Though some ballots remained uncounted Friday, Fagan led Hass by 3,212 votes of more than 400,000 cast between them in the May 19 primary.

Hass is a senator from Beaverton who has been in the Legislature 20 years, after having been a television news reporter. Fagan is a senator from Happy Valley in the middle of her first term, after four years in the House, and is a lawyer. The third candidate was Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a lawyer from Terrebonne in Central Oregon and the party's 2018 nominee for the 2nd U.S. District congressional seat.

Hass said via Twitter:

"It was an extremely tight race. In the end, I lost in double overtime.

"I'm at peace. I kept my vow to run a positive campaign, heavy on ideas and substance, light on politics. This was important to me.

"It was a wild ride, with more twists and turns than a Spielberg movie.

"I congratulated Shemia — three days after she congratulated me. I'm fortunate to count her and Jamie McLeod-Skinner as friends."

COURTESY SHEMIA FAGAN -  Shemia Fagan Fagan's margin of 3,212 is greater than the 810 required to trigger an automatic recount under Oregon law.

Fagan, based largely on support from public employee unions, raised more than Hass and McLeod-Skinner combined this year despite getting into the race less than two weeks before the March 10 filing deadline for the primary.

Fagan will face state Sen. Kim Thatcher of Keizer, who easily won the Republican nomination over Dave Stauffer of Portland, who has run for governor as a Democrat and a Republican.

At least two others have announced independent bids for the office. Former Deputy Secretary of State Rich Vial, a former Republican state representative from Scholls, has renounced his party affiliation. Ken Smith, a Willamette University professor, also is running.

Bev Clarno of Redmond, a former Republican legislator and Deschutes County commissioner, was appointed by Gov. Kate Brown in 2019 after Dennis Richardson died of cancer halfway through his term. State law required his successor to be a Republican. Clarno is not seeking a full term.

Richardson was the first Republican elected statewide in Oregon since 2002, when Gordon Smith won a second term in the U.S. Senate. Smith lost to Democrat Jeff Merkley in 2008.

Primary results were still unofficial — they become official 30 days after the election — but McLeod-Skinner carried Democrats in 19 of the 20 counties she had hoped to represent in the 2nd District. The exception was Wheeler County, Oregon's least populous, which went for Hass.

Hass carried most western Oregon counties except two southern counties (Curry and Douglas) and Lane and Benton counties, home to the University of Oregon and Oregon State University.

Hass had been leading in all three Portland-area counties, though his lead over Fagan in Multnomah County shrank to just 585 in a Friday morning tally. Hass had led the statewide tallies until Wednesday night, when Fagan surged ahead.

Though there were some differences among them on some issues, Fagan campaigned largely as the outspoken candidate unafraid to take on the establishment — she unseated Monroe, largely based on his opposition to rent control legislation, and was the lone vote against Salem Democrat Peter Courtney for a ninth term as Senate president.

Hass campaigned as the most experienced candidate. He has sat on House and Senate revenue committees his entire tenure, and leads the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee.

McLeod-Skinner, who had no legislative experience, campaigned as the outsider who could bring rural and urban Oregon together.

Though Fagan got into the race less than two weeks before the March 10 filing deadline, she won the support of public employee unions preparing to support the candidacy of Jennifer Williamson of Portland, a former House majority leader. But Williamson withdrew from the race before the deadline over news disclosures that cast a shadow over her previous campaign spending.

As of Monday before the primary, Fagan had raised $733,000, more than Hass and McLeod-Skinner combined. Almost 90% of Fagan's money came from the political action committees of unions, the largest shares from Local 503 of Service Employees International Union ($184,714), Oregon Education Association ($115,275), and the national organization and Council 75 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ($75,000 each).

Hass had raised about $350,000 this year, plus $200,000 last year. McLeod-Skinner had raised about $200,000, and transferred money from her congressional campaign committee.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!

Go to top