Republicans Are Gaining Ground In Oregon’s Newest Congressional District, Making It A Toss-up

Β Oregon’s Newest Congressional District: Democrats have traditionally found Oregon to be a safe sanctuary in the blue. Republicans, though, are promising surprises in elections all around the state this year. As the Republican candidate there gaining support, the Cook Political Report recently downgraded Oregon’s newest congressional district to a toss-up. Claudia Grisales, an NPR congressional journalist, has more.

BYLINE: CLAUDIA GRISALES About two dozen Democratic volunteers crammed into a small office in a Portland, Oregon, suburb on a rainy Saturday.

SALINAS, ANDREA I’m really grateful to you all. Here in Oregon, when we’re all out canvassing and making sure we’re speaking to people, I think of this as the “soggy sock” season.

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GRISALES: That’s Democratic candidate Andrea Salinas speaking to canvassers at her office in Tualatin, Oregon, in the increasingly close 6th Congressional District contest in the state. It travels via Salem, the state capital, and into a huge wine region southwest of Portland. It also has the highest percentage of Latino residents in the state. Voter Yolanda Welch claims that she can relate to Salinas’ history in her native Spanish.

GRISALES: Welch asserts that Salinas, a former long-serving state legislator, can react to inflationary pressures. When speaking in English, Welch claims that as a working babysitter, the GOP has turned her off.

I’m not like the Republicans, said WELCH. They are extremely wealthy. I don’t (laughter).

Mike Erickson, a rich supply chain executive running for office in the area, self-funded a large portion of his campaign. Both candidates have so far raised more than $2 million, with Salinas having support in urban and suburban areas while Erickson is doing better with voters in rural areas. A House Republican Leadership PAC also just spent another $800,000 on advertisements in the district.

Oregon's Newest Congressional District
Oregon’s Newest Congressional District

The people of Oregon, in my opinion, are simply tired of what they have witnessed over the past five years under the Democratic administration. And right now, I believe that everyone is at their wit’s end. Therefore, I believe Oregon is experiencing a significant transformation like never before.

GRISALES: Erickson declined to give an on-air interview to Focushillsboro, but he did tell Fox News that Oregonians are sick of inflation and a lingering homelessness epidemic. Erickson, a Republican who has run for office repeatedly but lost, believes that this is his moment to win a seat in Congress.

GRISALES: Republican Chris Chenoweth claims that timing is finally on Erickson’s side despite these losses in a McMinnville coffee shop.

Chris Chenoweth predicts that Mike will triumph.

Republicans in Oregon‘s sixth congressional district are motivated by national problems, according to Chenoweth, a member of the city council for McMinnville, which is located in a rural area.

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CHENOWETH: When you start thinking about problems that are on your daily kitchen table, the Democrats face challenges in this election.

GRISALES: Salinas, who prevailed in a contentious Democratic primary that was one of the priciest contests in the nation, maintains her confidence as she discusses the economy and other major concerns.

SALINAS: I don’t have to be the Democratic Party’s standard bearer. Since I am aware of the pain that people in the 6th Congressional District are currently experiencing, this is what drives me to do the work. I want to represent them and truly solve their needs.

GRISALES: The 6th District of Oregon will reveal to the country the true extent of the Republican Party’s influence in this election cycle.

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