Oregon’s Senate District 3 Democratic primary now has three strong candidates vying to face incumbent Republican Senator Alan DeBoer.
In a special election held to fill the seat after the untimely death of well regarded Democratic Senator Alan Bates, Senator DeBoer won the 2016 election by a mere 395 votes out of over 62,000 cast, defeating Democrat Tonia Moro 50.3% to 49.7%.
This is a traditional Democratic District. Voter registration breakdown is: Democratic 36%; i/Independent (NAV+IPO) 34%; Republican 28%.
Filed Democratic candidates are:
Kevin Stine: The first candidate to file. Mr. Stine is a military veteran and was elected to the Medford City Council in 2014. He promises to pursue more progressive policies. He ran against Senator Ron Wyden in the 2016 Democratic Senate primary.
Jeff Golden: His political career includes service as a Jackson County Commissioner, Chief of Staff to the Oregon Senate President Bradbury , and Environmental Policy aide to the City of Portland. He has also hosted and produced Immense Possibilities, and hosted The Jefferson Exchange, a popular daily NPR talk-show on a network of northwest stations. He is a strong environmentalist.
Julian Bell: Dr. Bell ran for the 2016 Democratic nomination for Governor largely because he believed that incumbent Democratic Governor Kate Brown was not sufficiently aggressive in promoting clean energy and addressing climate change.
A win Would give Democrats Super Majority in Senate
With a large Democratic registration edge, whoever wins the Democratic nomination will be the odds on favorite to win in November. The Oregon State Senate is currently 17 Democrats and 13 Republicans. Should the Democratic candidate in SD-3 win in November and no other seat changed party, it would mean the Democrats would then have a 60% super majority and the ability to pass tax increases in the Senate without a single Republican vote.
In the Oregon House of Representatives the Democrats are also one seat shy of a super majority. Flipping one House seat to Democrat, along with the SD-3 seat, would mean that Oregon Democrats could pass and enact a tax bill with no Republican support.
- While this is a D+8 district, Democrats still only make up just 36% of the electorate. Senator DeBoer will still need to attract plenty of i/Independents and some moderate Democrats to win.
- Since October 2016, when Mr. DeBoer squeeked out his victory, SD-3 registration statistics show that Democratic registration has declined by 1,138, Republican registration has declined by 686, IPO registration has gained 21 and non affiliated voters have increased by 4,045.
- Two of the candidates, Mr. Stine and Dr. Bell, have opposed incumbent elected Democrats in primary elections. While Mr. Golden appears to have more Democratic establishment credentials. How the establishment Democrats and their donor base break could be critical to Senator DeBoer’s chances.