Two Republican Senators Try For Statewide Office and Other Oregon Filing Day Surprises

Two Republican state senators who are disqualified from running for reelection will try to jump to statewide office, amid other last-minute surprises on the deadline to file for Oregon office.

Sens. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, and Dennis Linthicum, R-Beatty, are among 10 Republican state senators who can’t run for reelection because they participated in a six-week walkout in the 2023 legislative session. On Tuesday, with hours to go before the filing deadline, they jumped into the races for treasurer and secretary of state, respectively.

Neither was among the dozens of candidates, elected officials and lobbyists who swarmed onto the House floor to watch filings appear in real time on three large projector screens and take photos of their names. But Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp, a Bend Republican who is also barred from running for reelection, was there to observe and said it was “great” that his colleagues were looking for higher office. Knopp is sitting this election out, though he plans to continue leading Republican Senate campaigns.

Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Myers teased the observers as she prepared to bang her gavel at 5 p.m., marking the end of the filing period and the official beginning of the primary election.

“Are there any surprises out there? I’ve seen a few,” Myers said.

Among other late-breaking surprises: A former employee of the Bureau of Labor and Industries who recently won a $425,000 settlement with the agency in a race discrimination lawsuit is challenging outgoing House Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, in the Democratic primary for attorney general.

In all, 326 candidates had filed for office by 5 p.m. Tuesday, though Myers said the Secretary of State’s Office might still be processing some paper filings. Candidates with cold feet have until Friday to withdraw from their races. The Capital Chronicle will have a more in-depth look at legislative races early next week, but here’s where statewide and congressional races stand for the May 21 primary election.

Secretary of state

LaVonne Griffin-Valade, Gov. Tina Kotek’s pick to finish the term of disgraced former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, isn’t running for election. That leaves an open race for the secretary of state, who runs elections and state audits, registers businesses and steps in as governor if the elected governor dies or leaves office.

Outgoing Treasurer Tobias Read and Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, are the top Democratic contenders. The Democratic primary will also include Paul Damian Wells, a retired machinist who ran unsuccessfully for the office in 2012 and 2016; Jim Crary, a retired attorney from Ashland who lost races for the 2nd Congressional District in 2016 and 2018; and Dave Stauffer, a retired attorney and self-described inventor from Portland who has run unsuccessfully for governor or secretary of state every election since 2016.

Linthicum, the southern Oregon state senator running for the Republican nomination, has championed false claims of election fraud. He signed on to a letter in 2021 calling for an Arizona-style audit of the 2020 election and was a plaintiff in a lawsuit tossed by a federal judge last year that made unsubstantiated claims about election fraud based on a debunked documentary from a right-wing commentator.

The Republican field also includes two unsuccessful 2022 candidates. Brent Barker, a real estate broker from Aloha, came in fourth in the 2022 race for the Bureau of Labor and Industries, while market analyst Tim McCloud placed 10th in the crowded 2022 Republican primary for governor.


Boquist’s surprise entry caused renewable energy executive Nate Sandvig to drop out of the race, leaving Boquist alone in the Republican primary.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner, D-Portland, hopes to make history as the state’s first female treasurer. She’s a physician who has spent the past six years crafting the state’s budget as co-chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee.

And Jeff Gudman, a former Lake Oswego City Councilor, is counting on a party switch to push him over the edge. Gudman was the Republican nominee for treasurer in 2016 and 2020, losing to Read both times, before registering as a Democrat last year.

Attorney general

Rayfield, D-Corvallis, appeared to have sewn up the Democratic nomination for attorney general until late Tuesday. Rayfield, who took over as speaker in 2022, is an attorney and is likely to campaign on the Legislature’s success in crafting a bipartisan agreement to recriminalize drug possession while providing more money for treatment.

But Shaina Pomerantz, a former civil rights investigator for the Bureau of Labor and Industries, filed minutes before the deadline. The labor bureau recently settled a lawsuit with Pomerantz over alleged racial hostility at the bureau tied to her probation being extended.

Attorney Will Lathrop of  Newberg and Michael Cross, who describes himself as a CEO, are vying for the Republican nomination.

Congressional races

Five of Oregon’s six U.S. representatives are running for reelection, though all will face challenges in the primary, general election or both.

The most competitive race is the 5th Congressional District, which stretches from Bend to Portland. Freshman Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer is the only Republican running, while Democrats will choose between state Rep. Janelle Bynum and 2022 nominee Jamie McLeod-Skinner. A Democratic Bend-based tech executive, Matt Davie, who said he would run didn’t file for office in time. Chavez-DeRemer beat McLeod-Skinner by 2.1 percentage points in 2022, and the district is one of Democrats’ top national targets.

In the Willamette Valley-based 6th Congressional District, first-term Democratic Rep. Andrea Salinas will face a primary challenge from Cody Reynolds, an entrepreneur who has run unsuccessfully for federal office five times since 2012. Salinas’ 2022 Republican opponent, businessman Mike Erickson, will face Dundee Mayor David Russ and unemployed Salem resident David Burch, who received 406 votes in the 2022 Republican gubernatorial primary, in the Republican primary. Salinas beat Erickson by 2.4 percentage points in 2022.

First-term Democrat Val Hoyle is unopposed in the Democratic primary in the 4th Congressional District, which includes Eugene and southwest Oregon. Attorney Monique DeSpain of Eugene, former Senate staffer Jeff Kubler of Adair Village and former Keizer City Councilor Amy Ryan Courser will square off in the Republican primary. Candidates for Congress don’t have to live in the congressional district, though they must reside in the state.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s decision to retire after 28 years in the U.S. House opened a cutthroat primary in the safely Democratic Portland-based 3rd Congressional District. The frontrunners are former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales and state Rep. Maxine Dexter, though health care worker Ricardo Barajas, college student Nolan Bylenga, attorney Michael Jonas and software engineer Rachel Rand are also running in the Democratic primary. Nurse Teresa Orwig, attorney Joanna Harbour and engineer Gary Dye are competing in the Republican primary.

Democrat Suzanne Bonamici in the 1st District and Republican Cliff Bentz in the 2nd District are all but certain to win their primary and general elections. Bonamici faces token challenges from Intel engineer Jamil Ahmad and beauty company CEO Courtney Casgraux in the Democratic primary and a Republican challenger in maintenance worker Bob Todd. Technical instructor Jason Beebe will challenge Bentz in the Republican primary, while children’s author Steve Laible and nonprofit director Dan Ruby are running as Democrats in the conservative eastern Oregon district.

by Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle

Do you have a story for The Advocate? Email