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House District 18 incumbent Rick Lewis of Silverton to win with comfortable margin

COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON LEGISLATURE - House District 18's wide swath ranges from Mount Hood National Forest to the east on into the heart of the Willamette Valley on the west.Rep. Rick Lewis of Silverton easily won reelection in Oregon House District 18, outpacing his opponent Jesse S. Smith with just over 68% of the vote to just under 32% for the challenger.

Going into Veterans Day weekend the unofficial tallies showed Lewis with 10,897 votes to Smith's 5,100.

Lewis, a Republican, had previously won the seat by similar margins in a district that has not elected a Democrat in more than two decades. In 2020 Lewis received 25,996 votes to challenger Jamie Morrison's 10,993; in 2018 Lewis earned 18,950 votes to Barry Shapiro's 9,731.

The largely rural HD 18 stretches from the Mount Hood National Forest into the heart of the Willamette Valley, including the cities of Silverton, Molalla, Mount Angel, Scotts Mills, Hubbard, Aurora, Barlow, Butteville, Donald and St. Paul.

Updated totals for the 2022 race are expected to be posted Monday.

Lewis aims to get to work

"I am pleased with the results that have come in so far and honored to continue serving my district and the citizens of Oregon," Lewis said Nov. 9. "Like many, I am anxiously waiting to see if we have been successful in restoring balance in the House and Senate after a decade of one-party control."COURTESY PHOTO: RICK LEWIS - Rick Lewis

Lewis said earlier that one of his main priorities will be to see to fruition an affordable-housing bill he's been working on.

"I will be bringing forth my affordable-housing bill for the fourth time in an effort to get it to the floor for the first time for debate and a vote," Lewis said."The bill has made it through several committees in the past with strong bipartisan support, but each time the bill was killed before it could be sent to the floor.

"With balance, the bill should pass," he continued."I will continue to work to remove barriers for the construction of affordable housing so that everyone may have an opportunity to raise their family here. Increasing those opportunities and creating more housing will help get the homeless off the streets and into a home and promote first time homebuying for all families."

Smith used platform

Smith knew the odds were long against him in a heavily Republican landscape, but he said the opportunity to run was a privilege.

"I tried to use my public platform to advocate on behalf of the concerns I've been hearing from the constituents who I've been talking to throughout this campaign," Smith said. COURTESY PHOTO: LINDSEY LAROCK - Jesse S. Smith

He itemized those as state support for public education; a discrepancy between the minimum wage and the cost of living, especially given rising housing costs and inflation; protecting natural environment and locally owned farmland and exploring water resource management options; addressing the homelessness crisis; and protecting a woman's right to choose.

"Although we don't all agree about all these points, there is a substantial base of public support for most of them, even right here in what we think of as a fairly conservative district," Smith said. "This was the first time I have attempted anything like a political campaign, and it was a rewarding experience. I learned a lot, I met some amazing people, I gained several fresh perspectives and food for thought, and possibly set a foundation for a more effective run in the future."

Smith expressed gratitude for the support he received and his respect for Lewis.

"Although I may disagree with Rick Lewis on policy matters, I appreciate that he has not joined in the election-denying rhetoric that we sometimes hear from other members of his party, and I commend him for that," Smith said. "I would like to thank Rep. Lewis for running a clean campaign by avoiding the sort of name-calling that has too often come to characterize modern American politics.

"I hope this election contest demonstrates to our friends and colleagues here in Oregon and across America that it's possible to disagree about the issues and still have a civil debate."

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- HD 18 candidates discuss priorities

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