Elections

Oregon primary results: Voters set matchups for downballot state executive offices

Ore­gon’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can vot­ers are deliv­er­ing a deci­sive set of wins to can­di­dates seek­ing statewide office in this year’s piv­otal pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cycle, pri­ma­ry elec­tion night results show. Though turnout is just 24.03%, with only 723,760 of 3,011,323 vot­ers hav­ing returned bal­lot thus far, the out­comes in key statewide races are evi­dent. Let’s take a look at the matchups in this year’s statewide races.

Attorney General

Long­time AG Ellen Rosen­blum is retir­ing, cre­at­ing an open seat. Two Democ­rats filed to seek the nom­i­na­tion to suc­ceed her: Dan Ray­field and Shaina Max­ey Pomerantz. 

Ray­field is an attor­ney serv­ing as the Speak­er of the Ore­gon House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. He rep­re­sents House Dis­trict 16, which includes Cor­val­lis and Philo­math. He has a strong back­ground in pub­lic ser­vice, hav­ing been first elect­ed to the Ore­gon House in 2014. Through­out his tenure, he has focused on an array of issues, rang­ing from cam­paign finance reform to envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and access to health­care. He was con­sid­ered the favorite in the race by many polit­i­cal observers. 

Max­ey Pomer­antz is the exec­u­tive direc­tor of Race Talks. She describes her­self as “a bi-racial­ly Black Jew­ish Cal­i­for­nia native with deep famil­ial roots in Port­land.” With a deep-root­ed pas­sion for social jus­tice and equi­ty, Pomer­antz has ded­i­cat­ed her career to address­ing edu­ca­tion­al dis­par­i­ties and advo­cat­ing for under­rep­re­sent­ed com­mu­ni­ties. She has focused on pro­vid­ing men­tor­ship, resources, and oppor­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents to thrive aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly and personally. 

Ray­field cur­rent­ly has 76.39% of the vote and Max­ey Pomer­antz has 22.97%.

On the Repub­li­can side, the can­di­dates were Michael Cross and Will Lathrop.

Cross is an ultra MAGA extrem­ist who brags on his web­site about hav­ing head­ed up an unsuc­cess­ful recall cam­paign against for­mer Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov­er­nor Kate Brown (“Flush Down Kate Brown”) and also argues, with­out offer­ing a scin­til­la of evi­dence, that vot­er fraud in Ore­gon is wide­spread. A page on his web­site, which appears dat­ed, declares: “As many of you know, I spent 90 days in 2020 inves­ti­gat­ing vote fraud in Ore­gon. What I dis­cov­ered is shock­ing.  Very soon, I will announce a Spe­cial Pro­gram to facil­i­tate and pro­tect Whis­tle Blow­ers that want to come for­ward to help clean up Vote Fraud.” 

Will Lath­rop describes him­self as an “an expe­ri­enced attor­ney and proven pub­lic ser­vant com­mit­ted to restor­ing our jus­tice sys­tem and rebuild­ing trust in our gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tions.” His web­site lacks the ultra MAGA screeds that Cross’ has, but Lath­rop does indi­rect­ly crit­i­cize Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nance by say­ing: “It’s been painful for me to watch the state that I love suf­fer. Ore­gon is a wound­ed beau­ty — a beau­ti­ful state marred by crime and addic­tion. I rep­re­sent a dawn of new lead­er­ship that will bring last­ing change and ensure a safer, health­i­er future for Oregonians.” 

Lath­rop has 64.27% of the vote, while Cross has 35.13%.

It’ll be Ray­field ver­sus Lath­rop this autumn.

Treasurer

Incum­bent Trea­sur­er Tobias Read is run­ning for a dif­fer­ent statewide office this year — Sec­re­tary of State — so the posi­tion is open. Two Democ­rats com­pet­ed for the nom­i­na­tion: Jeff Gud­man and Eliz­a­beth Steiner. 

Gud­man is a sea­soned finan­cial expert and for­mer city coun­cilmem­ber. With a back­ground in busi­ness and finance, Gud­man has built a career cen­tered on fis­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty and strate­gic finan­cial man­age­ment. His expe­ri­ence includes serv­ing on the Lake Oswego City Coun­cil, where he was known for his prag­mat­ic approach to bud­get­ing and his efforts to ensure effi­cient use of pub­lic funds. Gud­man’s cam­paign for Trea­sur­er has empha­sized trans­paren­cy, account­abil­i­ty, and lever­ag­ing his finan­cial exper­tise to safe­guard Oregon’s eco­nom­ic health. He advo­cates for poli­cies that pro­mote sus­tain­able finan­cial prac­tices, aim­ing to enhance the state’s fis­cal sta­bil­i­ty and invest­ment returns.

Stein­er is an expe­ri­enced leg­is­la­tor and health­care pro­fes­sion­al who has served in the Ore­gon State Sen­ate, where she has been a strong advo­cate for fis­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty and eco­nom­ic equi­ty. Her pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence as a physi­cian also informs her approach to pol­i­cy, empha­siz­ing the impor­tance of sus­tain­able and eth­i­cal finan­cial prac­tices. Steiner’s cam­paign has high­light­ed her com­mit­ment to ensur­ing that the state’s finan­cial resources are man­aged wise­ly and used to sup­port vital pub­lic ser­vices. Her vision for the Treasurer’s office includes pri­or­i­tiz­ing trans­paren­cy and pro­mot­ing invest­ments that ben­e­fit all Oregonians.

Stein­er is win­ning in a rout, with 77.44% of the vote to Gud­man’s 21.98%.

Stein­er will face Repub­li­can Bri­an Boquist, who was unop­posed for his par­ty’s nomination.

Boquist is one of the Repub­li­can state sen­a­tors who was barred from seek­ing reelec­tion due to hav­ing walked off of the job to par­a­lyze the Ore­gon State Sen­ate. Born and raised on a dairy farm in Tillam­ook, Ore­gon, he has a mil­i­tary back­ground, with decades of ser­vice in the U.S. Army and Nation­al Guard. He ran unsuc­cess­ful­ly for Con­gress in the ear­ly 2000s, los­ing to Demo­c­rat Dar­lene Hoo­ley, Kurt Schrader’s predecessor.

Secretary of State

In 2020, Ore­go­ni­ans elect­ed State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shemia Fagan to serve as Sec­re­tary of State, return­ing the office to Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol. Fagan did­n’t make it through her first term, owing to eth­i­cal­ly ques­tion­able side work with a cannabis con­sult­ing firm while her office was audit­ing the cannabis indus­try, which prompt­ed con­cerns about con­flicts of inter­est. She ini­tial­ly defend­ed her­self and denied wrong­do­ing, but chose to step down last year after com­ing under strong pres­sure to do so.

Ore­gon Gov­er­nor Tina Kotek replaced Fagan with LaVonne Grif­fin-Valade, the for­mer Port­land City Audi­tor and audi­tor for Mult­nom­ah Coun­ty, Ore­gon. Grif­fin-Valade is serv­ing in a care­tak­er capac­i­ty and not seek­ing a full term in the office.

Five Democ­rats and three Repub­li­cans filed for the office.

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates are:

  • James Jim Crary, a peren­ni­al can­di­date known for his focus on cam­paign finance reform and gov­ern­ment accountability. 
  • Paul Dami­an Wells, an attor­ney and polit­i­cal activist with a pas­sion for social jus­tice and com­mu­ni­ty advocacy. 
  • Tobias Read, the cur­rent Ore­gon State Trea­sur­er, known for his exper­tise in finan­cial man­age­ment and investment. 
  • Dave W. Stauf­fer, an envi­ron­men­tal engi­neer and anoth­er peren­ni­al candidate.
  • James Man­ning, Jr., a sea­soned leg­is­la­tor and retired mil­i­tary offi­cer cur­rent­ly serv­ing in the Ore­gon State Senate. 

The Repub­li­can can­di­dates are:

  • Brent Bark­er, a busi­ness­man and com­mu­ni­ty leader with a focus on eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment and local governance.
  • Den­nis Linthicum, anoth­er Repub­li­can state sen­a­tor who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the effort to par­a­lyze the Ore­gon State Sen­ate and is barred from seek­ing reelection. 
  • Tim McCloud, an entre­pre­neur and polit­i­cal new­com­er who argues that he brings a fresh per­spec­tive to the polit­i­cal landscape. 

Read and Linthicum will be their par­ty’s nom­i­nees for the autumn gen­er­al elec­tion. Each has an enor­mous, insur­mount­able lead over their rivals. Read has 70.83% of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic vote and Linthicum has 65.30% of the Repub­li­can vote. 

General election dynamics favor Democrats

Ore­gon has a strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic lean and 2024 is a pres­i­den­tial year, so Lath­rop, Boquist, and Linthicum will be at a seri­ous dis­ad­van­tage. What’s more, Read has run and won statewide before, while Ray­field and Stein­er are well known leg­is­la­tors who aren’t like­ly to lack for resources either. Democ­rats ought to be able to keep of these offices. But pol­i­tics can be unpre­dictable. We’ll take anoth­er look at how these races are unfold­ing in the weeks between now and the gen­er­al election. 

Andrew Villeneuve

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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