Recap: 2022 General Election

This election cycle brought some of the closest races for Governor and Congressional seats that the state has seen in recent history with the three-way race for Governor, three open seats in Congress, and the status of the majorities of the State House and Senate up for grabs.

Nationally, while the ‘red wave’ did not materialize, the 118th Congress will see changes to leadership and agenda-setting. The US House is expected to be controlled by the Republicans but with narrower margins than anticipated. The US Senate remains too close to call with control unlikely to be known until run-offs take place in key states as late as December 6th when Georgia’s run-off is settled. The Oregon congressional delegation expands to eight members with the addition of a sixth seat and a probable balance of six Democrats and two Republicans.

State Voter Turnout: 50.44% percent of registered voters turned in their ballots as of 5 pm on November 9. Oregon recently reported a new milestone with three million registered voters.

Governor: As of late afternoon Wednesday, November 9, the Oregonian and other news outlets declared UO graduate and former Speaker of the House Tina Kotek the winner over Former Republican Minority Leader Christine Drazan for the Governor’s seat, with the Independent candidate, and former State Senator Betsy Johnson, conceding after having received less than 10% of the vote.

The Governor plays a key role in setting priorities for the state and setting the initial recommended budget. She will also appoint positions important to the University of Oregon such as the members of the Higher Education Coordination Commission and our Universities Board of Trustees, which are all confirmed by the Oregon Senate.

Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner: In another statewide race, employment attorney and UO Law graduate Christina Stephenson was elected as the state’s next Labor Commissioner.

Congressional Seats: Oregon’s incumbents easily won re-election including the two Ducks in the delegation, Democratic US Senator Ron Wyden and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR). Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) was the top vote-getter, winning in Oregon’s Third Congressional District with over 70% of the vote. Congressman Cliff Bentz (R-OR-2) easily won election to a second term.

OR-4: The congressional seat where i UO’s main campus is located, held by long-time UO advocate and graduate Peter DeFazio, will now be represented by Val Hoyle. A Democrat and first woman to hold the seat, Congresswoman-elect Hoyle is from the Eugene-Springfield area and represented west Eugene in the Oregon Legislature before becoming Labor Commissioner. For the first time ever, the 4th Congressional District now includes all of Lincoln County, meaning that Congresswoman-elect  Hoyle will represent both the University of Oregon and Oregon State’s main campuses and their coastal presence in Charleston and Newport.

OR-5: Among the most competitive and closely watched races in the nation, UO law graduate Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the Democrats’ nominee who upset incumbent Kurt Schrader, is trailing former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer. If elected, Chavez-DeRemer is Oregon’s first Latina member of Congress.

OR-6: State Rep. Andrea Salinas, a Democrat, is edging Republican nominee Mike Erickson in the newly created 6th Congressional District located in the central Willamette Valley with Marion County at its heart but reaching up into parts of Washington and Clackamas counties. If she maintains her lead, Salinas will likely follow Chavez-DeRemer and join her as Oregon’s first Latina members of Congress.

State Legislature: All 60 State House districts were up for election for two-year terms and 16 of the 30 State Senate districts were up for four-year terms. Before the election, Democrats held supermajorities in both the Oregon House of Representatives with 37 of 60 seats and the State Senate with 18 of 30 Oregon Senate seats.

From initial results, an overwhelming Republican showing that was expected did not materialize in the State races. Democrats are extremely likely to hold majorities in both state chambers.

For reference, Republicans have not controlled the Oregon Senate since 2002 and the last time they fully controlled the House was in 2006.

Key leaders in the Oregon Legislature include Rep. Dan Rayfield (Corvallis), currently the Speaker of the House; Rep. Julie Fahey (Eugene), House Majority Leader;  and Sen Rob Wagner (Lake Oswego) Senate Majority Leader.

Eugene UO campus representation: Due to recent redistricting, the UO campus in Eugene is now completely in state House District 8. Sitting legislator Rep. Holvey easily won reelection with over 80% of the vote.  The main campus is also in a new senate district – District 4, which is currently represented by Senator Floyd Prozanski. He ran unopposed from a major party candidate and is returning to his seat.

Portland White Stag Building and Ballmer Institute Campus representation: Incumbents will continue to represent the areas in which UO campuses are located in Portland.  Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1),  State Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (SD 17), and State rep. Maxine Dexter (HD 33) will continue to represent the area of downtown Portland in which the White Stag Building is located. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), State Sen. Lew Frederick SD 22), and State Rep. Tawna Sanchez (HD 43) will continue to serve the jurisdictions where the UO Portland Campus is located in NE Portland.

Lane County and Portland Metro races

Eugene City Council:  Voters re-elected Greg Evans and UO alums Mike Clark, Jennifer Yeh and Alan Zelenka.

Springfield Mayor: UO alum Sean VanGordon was re-elected to a four-year term.

Lane County Board of Commissioners: Two new commissioners, Ryan Ceniga representing West Lane County and David Loveall representing Springfield, will join the Board. East Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch won re-election in an uncontested race, having gained more than 50% in the primary.

Multnomah County Chair: Jessica Vega Pederson won the race to replace Chair Deborah Kafoury, who has served in the role since 2014 and was prevented by term limits from running again.

Portland City Commission: Portland businessman and political newcomer Rene Gonzalez defeated incumbent Joann Hardesty.