Democratic voters in Oregon’s brand new 6th Congressional District have chosen State Representative Andrea Salinas to carry the party’s standard in the coming general election, early election results indicate.
As of press time, Salinas was in first place with 37.59% of the vote. Carrick Flynn was in second with 18.86% of the vote. Cody Reynolds was in third with 11.55%. Several other candidates were further back with less than 10% of the vote.
The recently created 6th District, which stretches from Tigard in the Portland metro area to south of Monmouth and Dallas, is a western Willamette Valley district abutting the Coast Range that encompasses the state capital of Salem and its suburbs, as well as communities like McMinnville and Newberg.
Oregon gained the district following the reapportionment conducted in the wake of the 2020 census thanks to its population growth.
The 6th was drawn by the Democratic-controlled Oregon Legislature to be a district favorable to Democrats. The 6th voted for Joe Biden and Jeff Merkley in 2020, along with other Democratic candidates running that year like Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
The 6th is not as Democratic as its northern neighbors the 1st and 3rd, which are considered safe Democratic, but it is more Democratic than its eastern neighbor, the new 5th District, which meets the criteria for a swing district. The 6th’s southern neighbor, the 4th, has a relatively similar Democratic lean.
Large fields of candidates declared on both sides for the 6th.
The Democratic field consisted of nine contenders, with Salinas and rival Carrick Flynn drawing much of the money and endorsements. House Democratic leadership decided to get involved in the contest on Flynn’s behalf, a move that was not well received in Oregon by Democratic activists or voters.
Salinas countered with a robust network of local support as well as national support of her own from Senator Elizabeth Warren and Washington State’s own Representative Pramila Jayapal, the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, two widely respected leaders within the progressive movement.
Though Flynn was backed with a huge torrent of crypto-aligned independent spending, voters opted for Salinas, who has state + federal political experience and strong progressive positions on a range of issues.
“Andrea’s experience is what sets her apart in a crowded primary field,” her website explains. “She doesn’t just hold progressive values – she has delivered progressive victories. She’s worked as a United States congressional aide and policy advisor to three Members of Congress including Senator Harry Reid, Congressman Pete Stark, and Congresswoman Darlene Hooley.”
Salinas was endorsed by Governor Kate Brown, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and Representative Suzanne Bonamici, along with The Oregonian, Willamette Week, and The (Yamhill County) News-Register.
“Thank you to every single person who made this victory possible tonight! I am ready to win this seat in November & work to expand access to abortion care, tackle the climate crisis, & lower the cost of prescription drugs,” Salinas tweeted after observers and media outlets called the race in her favor.
“Thank you to my supporters,” Flynn tweeted. “Obviously, these are not the results we were hoping to see tonight. I congratulate State Representative Andrea Salinas on her victory and offer my full support. I will be out there knocking on doors and calling voters as a volunteer for her campaign.”
“It is vital that this seat turn blue and Democrats retain control of the House,” Flynn added in a classy follow-up tweet. “I believe she’ll win this fall and become a strong voice for the voters of this district in Congress.”
If elected, Salinas would be the first Latina to represent Oregon in Congress.
Salinas will likely face Republican Mike Erickson in the general election. Erickson is the current top vote getter in a field of Republicans that is about as crowded as the field Salinas was a part of in this groundbreaking primary.