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The Liftoff: The passing of an Oregon icon and major takeaways from the filing deadline
PLUS: Two snubs in the race for Gov.; Dallas Heard resigns; legislator tries to buy newspaper; Mayor Beaty on the podcast; Gelsinger speaks to national Dems.
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1. Filing day highlights—and why they matter
The deadline to file to run for office in the upcoming primary election has come and gone. Here are some developments you should know about:
There are 153 candidates running for the state legislature (see tweet above) and the Capital Chronicle reports about 400 people total running for all offices; all but a small handful have either contested primaries or generals (or both). Political consulting firm Stuart Collective has compiled a handy list of candidates filed. One major takeaway: in general, more candidates mean more expensive campaigns.
Both incumbent Portland City Commissioners (Dan Ryan and Jo Ann Hardesty) will face competition. For more information on the challengers, including cash on hand, see Pamplin’s rundown.
In other Portland election news, here’s a preview of some potentially major structural changes to Portland City government that could be voted on in the November election
The race to be the next Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries will be competitive. The election is nonpartisan, but two major Democrats and one major Republican have filed. Why does this matter? It means there’s a good chance there will be a runoff election between the top two finishers in November. Here are the candidates:
Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla dropped out of the race for governor to run for labor commissioner.
Endorsements include former Gov. Ted Kulongoski, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Rural Engagement Project, and Metro Council President Lynn Peterson
Cash on hand: ~$22,000
Civil rights attorney Christina Stephenson ran for state representative in 2020.
Endorsements include Sen. Jeff Merkley, former Gov. Barbara Roberts, Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle (and four former labor commissioners), Oregon AFL-CIO, and Planned Parenthood
Cash on hand: ~$44,000
Former state representative Cheri Helt jumped in at the last minute; she earned a reputation as a moderate legislator, representing Bend from 2019-2021.
Cash on hand: ~$27,000
2. Where do the gubernatorial candidates stand on vaccine mandates? And other campaign news
When it comes to certain vaccine mandates, Democratic candidates for governor say “yes” and Republican candidates say “no”. Where does Betsy Johnson stand? This time, with the Republicans, calling mandates “unnecessary nanny-state overreach”.
Oregon Right to Life, a powerful force in conservative politics in Oregon, has endorsed at least four candidates for Governor: Christine Drazan, Bridget Barton, Bud Pierce, and Bob Tiernan. Conspicuously missing from the list? Stan Pulliam. WW speculates that it may be tied to Pulliam acknowledging his involvement in a Portland swingers group.
The Papé Group gave $25,000 to Treasurer Tobias Read—on top of similar contributions to Jessica Gomez and Christine Drazan. They also gave $250,000 to Betsy Johnson. WW framed these contributions as support for “opponents to the labor-backed, more left-leaning former House Speaker Tina Kotek”.
Check out this deep dive on the race to represent the new 5th Congressional District from Pamplin.
Lori Chavez-DeRemer has won the endorsement of Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s PAC in the 5th CD. Stefanik is the head of the House GOP Conference and a major figure in national Republican politics.
3. Gerry Frank, legendary Oregonian, has died
Gerry Frank, one of the most influential Oregonians of the last century, has died at 98. He was a man who wore many hats: chief of staff, civic leader, author, business owner, heir, chocolatier and chocolate cake judge, counselor of governors and senators, and more. He leaves behind a significant legacy. Here are some obituaries:
Salem Reporter: Gerry Frank, considered 'Mr. Oregon,' dies at age 98
4. Oregonians in the news
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger spoke to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee about how Democrats should talk about the economy, according to Punchbowl News.
Pat Allen is back at work after recovering from a fall.
Former House Majority Leader Rep. Barbara Smith Warner is retiring from the legislature at the end of her term.
Gov. Kate Brown has already declared a state of emergency in Klamath County because of worsening drought conditions.
Mayoral adviser Sam Adams’ memo on how to address homelessness in Portland has provided a blueprint for Mayor Ted Wheeler’s actions; WW’s reporting is a helpful guide.
5. Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty joins The Bridge and talks lessons from her service in Iraq and ways to solve the housing crisis
Lacey Beaty is the mayor of Beaverton, one of the largest cities in Oregon. In this episode, we talk about her experience as a combat medic in the U.S. Army during the Iraq War and the challenges that veterans face when they return home. We also touch on U.S. foreign policy, the value of compulsory national service, and the sustainability challenges of an all-volunteer military. We talk about what can be done about affordable housing—including an idea she has that’s modeled after an existing home ownership program for veterans.
Finally, we touch on the convening power of mayors and the role of cities in solving complex problems. We end with an explanation of what happened in the Twitter controversy that forced the Executive Director of the League of Oregon Cities out of his job.
6. Dallas Heard Resigns as GOP Chairman
Senator Dallas Heard shocked GOP officials and activists across the state by announcing his resignation as Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party just months into his tenure. Heard’s resignation letter cited “Communist psychological warfare tactics…being used daily within the party”. He continued: "My physical and spiritual health can no longer survive exposure to the toxicity that can be found in this community.”
The Oregon Catalyst has the full letter here.
What’s Next: Two possible replacements have been rumored as candidates who might throw their hat into the ring: OR GOP Vice Chair and former State Senator Herman Baertschiger and Baker City Mayor Kerry McQuisten.
Baertschiger is a well-known entity, having served as the Senate Republican Minority Leader. He is now the acting chair of the party.
McQuisten is a favorite of the conservative grassroots and has gained national attention for her “common sense” COVID-19 policies, making multiple appearances on Fox News and other right-leaning outlets. Asked by The Liftoff if she plans to run McQuisten responded: "Rumors tend to fly during campaign season. Though I'm flattered by the support, I have no plans whatsoever to run for ORP Chair. I'm very focused on my run for governor."
However: McQuisten could have the option to run—if the election for Chair takes place after the Republican primary and she doesn’t come out on top.
Bottom Line: Heard’s resignation will further push the official GOP apparatus into chaos and could make it even harder to organize a coordinated campaign and raise money in the coming months.
7. Oregonians perceive significant waste in state spending
According to a recent survey by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center, on average, Oregonians think 44 centers out of every dollar of state spending is wasted. On the contrary, they think only 28 cents out of every dollar benefit their lives. The extent to which this is a perception problem (vs. a spending problem) is up for debate—but the reality is data like this helps explain why institutional mistrust is soaring across the United States.
8. News Roundup: Legislator tries to buy newspaper (and other stories)
Did not see this coming: Republican State Representative Greg Smith approached Les Zaitz in an attempt to purchase his Malheur Enterprise publication.
Feel Good Story Of The Week: An Oregon man is helping disabled children escape from Ukraine.
Still want to send that “love letter” for your dream home? A federal judge blocked Oregon’s ban on the practice.
It’s Not Just You: “Oregon gas prices soar to all time highs”
This week in #consequences: The Alsea School District will have to pay OSHA $43,000 for willfully violating state mask rules. Marc Thielman, the superintendent in charge at the time of the violation (and GOP candidate for governor), has already resigned.
Uplifting story from OPB: “Linguists and an Oregon family work together to preserve an Indigenous language”
Some projects built under a state law requiring public agencies spend 1.5% of construction costs on solar energy will take over 100 years to pay for themselves; critics are calling for reform.
A bill that was designed to support homeless students died during the short session—and no one has a good answer why.
Oregon’s mask mandate has come to an end (for now) nearly two years into the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Ever wanted to know how much you need to live comfortably in Portland? KOIN has the answer.
Two southern Oregon counties are calling for a halt to hemp farming due to a significant rise in illegal marijuana operations.
Here’s a concerning quote from an article about towns in Idaho being marketed as a relocation destinations to conservatives: “What concerns us is when white nationalists and anti-democracy actors relocate to the region with the aim of organizing, recruiting and seizing control of local institutions.”
Thank you for reading.
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