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  • NW Policy Advocates

Oregon Election Update

2024 Primaries Tell The Tale

Oregonians voted on key federal, state and local races in the Tuesday, May 21st primary. All 60 House seats and half of the 30 Senate seats are up for election this year.

With many votes left to cast, a few trends appear to have emerged:

#1) Name familiarity makes a difference

#2) Swing districts don't look like swings anymore

#3) Close races are few and far between

For a summary of some of these themes, check out this article: Election Result Lessons

Familiar Names Prevail

Under the category of "I'm better known than you!" is the example of former State Representative and Major GOP Governor Candidate Drazen, handily taking out her replacement, incumbent State Rep. James Hieb in the District 51 (Canby) primary.

Drazen had appeared on the ballot three times before, and polled ahead in the race from the beginning.

Swing Districts Going Out of Style?

Supermajority status of the State Senate and House has appeared to boil down to a handful of "swing" districts (including Bend, Gresham and the South Coast). But just looking at the total # of votes cast by Democrats versus Republicans in these "swing" seats suggests that they may no longer be able to be "swung," or that party registration has already swung to the point that the November race maybe a forgone conclusion.

Close Races Are Tough To Find

At this point (with votes left to count), close races look few and far between.

This is one of the few races where the margin was less than 350 votes between the party primaries.

Here is yet another example of "name ID" potentially playing a role in a primary. Voters who are used to voting for a "Robinson" in State Senate, Congressional and other races for the past 20+ years (Senator Art Robinson), appeared happy to continue to check the "Robinson" box, in this case for his son Noah, who was supported by the more conservative wing of the party.

A final lesson . . . don't be the only party member to vote against a major party position if you want to keep your seat. In this case, the incumbent, Rep. Charlie Conrad (R), voted with the opposing party in support of HB4002, one of the hot-button issues during the 2023 session. The bill (which eventually died in the Senate) would have strengthened "choice/abortion" protections. Conrad's party rose up against him in yesterday's primary, sending him packing by a wide margin.

Names to Remember for 2025:

  • Incumbent David Brock Smith (R) won the Senate District 1 GOP primary over challengers Ashley Hicks, Paul J. Romero Jr. and Todd Vaughn. As you recall from the last edition of this newsletter, Brock Smith had been falsely accused of working on behalf of the Chinese Communist party in billboards throughout the district. Looks like those billboards backfired.

  • Respected Cattleman and former County Commissioner Todd Nash handily won safe R Senate District 29 primary to replace Sen. Bill Hansell (R) who held the seat for over a decade. Nash beat out a local Mayor, David Drotzman, as well as former Commissioner Jim Doherty, and 20-year-old college student Andy Huwe for the seat (as there is no Democrat running in the fall).

  • Sami Al-Abdrabbuh (D) appears likely to lose to Sarah Finger McDonald (D) to run in the fall for the Corvallis Representative seat. Both serve on the Corvallis School Board and work at Oregon State University. McDonald will very likely replace former Speaker of the House Dan Rayfield who is running for Attorney General in this heavily D district.

Link to full election results from the Secretary of State: RESULTS


May Legislative Days

The Legislature's interim committees are meeting from May 29-31.

Agendas are expected to be posted this Friday afternoon, and will be found on the OLIS website.

Most hearings will focus on invited testimony and agency updates.


Use the Interim to Connect with Legislators!

From attending townhalls to showing up for bill signing ceremonies, the interim is the best time to connect with your local state Representatives and Senators (not to mention the Governor). Offer them a tour, invite them to coffee, or attend one of their policy meetings to hear about their priorities and share yours for 2025. You can sign up for their newsletters on the website (go to their bio page to sign up).

Rep. Lisa Reynolds, Rep. Hai Pham and Legislative Staffer Bryn Thomas visit St. Mary's Home for Boys to learn more about essential services for youth in our communities (Pictured with Doug Riggs, and Francis Maher of St. Mary's).

Gov. Tina Kotek, McMinnville Mayor Remy Drabkin and Rep. Lucetta Elmer with local leaders at the signing ceremony for housing bills passed during the 2024 Legislative Session, including HB4134, drafted by NWPA's team and partners, including the City of McMinnville and the City of Madras. All told, 7 NWPA client housing infrastructure projects received funding (over $15 million total) from the Legislature.

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