The secret winners and losers of last week’s election in Oregon
The May 17 primary election results contained several unexpected triumphs and some big flops. But not all successes or failures appeared on the ballot. We have identified three winners and three losers from the past week. Read the full list, including Betsy Johnson and campaign finance limits, at wweek.com. Here is a sample:
Winner: Oregon Democratic Establishment
It was supposed to be an election for change. But the candidates who best represent the Democratic establishment have won key races, starting with State Rep. Andrea Salinas’ victory by 20 points over Carrick Flynn, who the super PACs spent $14 million on, in the 6th congressional district. Former House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) won the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination by 25 points. In the nonpartisan primary for Multnomah County Chairwoman Jessica Vega Pederson, backed by labor and other key Democratic groups, did not avoid a runoff in November but won by 20 points. To be sure, those wins create the possibility that disgruntled voters will inflict a greater loss on Democrats on Republicans in November. But for now, the local Democratic establishment can rest easy. Rachel Monahan.
Loser: Betsy Johnson
Seeking to become only the second unaffiliated candidate in Oregon history, Johnson wants maximum contrast with her general election opponents. She got it in the Democratic primary with former House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), the more liberal of the two leading candidates. But Johnson’s hope for a far-right Trump supporter such as Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam emerging from the GOP primary has not materialized. The GOP winner, former House Minority Leader, Rep. Christine Drazan (R-Canby), who will raise money from some of the same business contributors Johnson is targeting. NIGEL JAQUIS.
Winner: Police Reform
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty was elected to City Hall four years ago, largely on the strength of her record for police reform. Hardesty delivered on his promises by going to the polls to reform police oversight and creating Portland Street Response, an alternative to calling the police for citizens in crisis. She received 44% of the vote last week, nearly surpassing the total of her two main challengers, Rene Gonzalez and Vadim Mozyrsky, combined. That still means she lost 56% of the vote, and when she faces a candidate backed by a police union in November, anything is possible. But for now, the cause has won. Rachel Monahan.
Loser: Downtown Owners
Two months before the primary, downtown landlords poured money into “Portland United,” an independent spending campaign to oust Hardesty and bring Vadim Mozyrsky into city hall. Although they spent $200,000 on ads for Mozyrsky, their efforts failed: he was ousted from the November run-off by Rene Gonzalez, who led a more brutal campaign fueled by Portlanders’ rage against tents, garbage and gun violence. Mozyrsky made no secret of his disdain for the freelance money being spent on his behalf when he caved to Gonzalez on Monday, saying the expense “didn’t help” his chances. SOPHIE PEEL.
Winner: Campaign finance advocates.
As downtown promoters poured money into a campaign that offered little help, and some speculated that it may have even hurt their chosen candidate, campaign finance advocates proved their point: that the large sums of money in politics in this town’s elections provide little help, and perhaps even harm . Both Gonzalez and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty outdid Mozyrsky in matching funds with the city’s public funding model, which caps individual donations at $250. Gonzalez topped $200,000 in matching funds with 1,272 donors. Hardesty raised nearly $250,000 with 1,560 donors. Mozyrsky raised $171.00 from 940 donors. SOPHIE PEEL.
Loser: the pollsters
Two weeks before the ballots dropped, state treasurer Tobias Read circulated a poll showing him within five points of Kotek. Read lost by 25 points. An older poll, from January, showed only 18% of Portland voters said they planned to support City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty for re-election. Hardesty got almost 44%. DHM pollster John Horvick said the January poll did not include any specific options for Hardesty and that he polled the entire electorate, rather than likely voters. said Horvick. “Elections are not referenda; they are choices,” says Horvick. “Candidates matter.” NIGEL JAQUIS.