Beyond the suburbs, there’s plenty of open space between Oregon’s liberal enclaves of Portland and Salem — the sort of regions Republicans made their domain in the recent election.
Both cities certainly voted democratically in 2020. But in surrounding counties, Democrat Joe Biden has narrowly achieved victories in the more agrarian landscapes that dominate the western landscape. Residents of Marion County — where Salem is located — voted for Biden just 1.2 points more than Republican Donald Trump. In neighboring Polk and Yamhill counties, Trump narrowly won the popular vote. And in Lynn County, south of Salem, Trump won by double digits.
Now the region is home to one of the most unexpectedly competitive US home races in the nation.
With an opportunity to redraw the electoral maps after the 2020 census, Democrats attempted to shape the newly created 6th congressional district to their party’s advantage by taking the region’s best-performing parts in the Portland and Salem suburbs and combining them into one District consolidated, which, on paper, favored the Democrats by 13 points. But in a surprisingly strong year for Republicans, even that district seems vulnerable in a year when Democrats can hardly afford to lose ground.
On Tuesday, the Cook Political Report changed its rating of the district from a “slender Democratic” seat to a toss-up, citing the strength of Republican Mike Erickson’s campaign and the seemingly stalled efforts of Elizabeth Warren-backed progressive Andrea Salinas Oregon state legislator and former adviser to US Senator Harry Reid from the southwest suburbs of Portland.
In recent weeks, Erickson — a stalwart candidate in the region who lost a congressional race to current Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in 1992 — has spent more than $2 million on television advertising in the region, with the lion’s share of his campaign coming from his own Funding was funded purse.
However, Erickson has also attracted interest from the National Republican Congressional Committee as part of its Young Guns program, with the NRCC announcing the 6th congressional district as a target back in June.
Salinas, meanwhile, has gone on the offensive in the campaign, running TV ads highlighting a 2016 subpoena Erickson received for drinking and driving in nearby Hood River County.
That ad, the Oregon Capital Chronicle reported, has since pulled a cease-and-desist from Erickson’s campaign, in which his attorneys say the ad could potentially force a judge to overturn the election result under an Oregon law that allows elections overturned, if the winner is found to have made a false statement that affected the outcome of the election.
But she’s also leaned on national figures like California Congressman Adam Schiff in recent weeks to help campaign for her, while others — like Biden himself — have announced unexpected visits to a state once considered a reprieve for Democratic candidates in a year in which Republicans have gained unexpected momentum.
Polls in Oregon’s gubernatorial campaign show that Republican Christine Drazan has a narrow lead over Tina Kotek in a hotly contested three-way battle to run a state that has remained largely under Democratic control since the late 1950s.
And while the state’s U.S. Senate is largely favored for incumbent Democrat Ron Wyden, the race for the 6th congressional district has been unusually close, with Salina’s own internal polls showing the race a virtual draw.
news week has reached out to both campaigns for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/republicans-close-flipping-house-seat-oregon-midterm-elections-mike-erickson-1751252 Republicans are about to turn over a seat in the House where Democrats least expect it