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New Faces in Prominent Positions Highlight Oregon’s Primary Election

Written by Rick Metsger on Apr. 8th, 2024
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This fall, Oregon’s political landscape is set for a transformation as three state offices welcome new leadership, with the most intense competition expected in the Democratic primary for Secretary of State and State Treasurer.

Oregon Treasurer

The race heats up with the May primary election, featuring a contested battle for the Democratic nomination between State Sen. Elizabeth Steiner and Lake Oswego businessman Jeff Gudman. Meanwhile, Sen. Brian Boquist faces no competition in the Republican primary.

Steiner, co-chair of the Joint Ways & Means Committee, plays a crucial role in legislative budget decisions. Gudman, a financial analyst with experience in both large corporations and nonprofits, serves as the treasurer for the Legacy Emanuel Foundation and is a member of the Lake Oswego Budget Committee. A former city councilor, Gudman previously contended for the Treasurer position in 2020, demonstrating significant prowess against Tobias Read.

Gudman is confident his extensive background in finance makes him the ideal candidate for Treasurer, proposing an ambitious plan for the office. He emphasizes the critical role of the State Debt Policy Advisory Commission, which he intends to enhance, focusing on strategic debt financing to maximize state investments.

Conversely, Steiner brings a wealth of experience from her tenure as a family physician at Oregon Health & Science University and her political career, beginning with her senate appointment in 2011. Her agenda includes optimizing the Oregon Saves program, making it more accessible for small businesses to support employee retirement savings.

Both candidates boast noteworthy endorsements, with Steiner securing support from SEIU and Gudman from KC Hanson, a former chair of the Oregon Democratic Party.

Secretary of State

The quest for Oregon’s next Secretary of State ignites a fierce Democratic primary. State Sen. James Manning challenges incumbent State Treasurer Tobias Read, with several candidates also in the fray, though Manning and Read emerge as the frontrunners.

Despite modest campaign fundraising among the Republican candidates — Brent Barker, Sen. Dennis Linthicum, and Tim McCloud — the primary focus remains on the Democratic contest.

Read, eyeing the Secretary of State position after an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid and facing term limits as Treasurer, emphasizes his administrative experience as a significant asset. He highlights his role in the State Land Board, which aligns with the Secretary of State’s responsibilities, arguing his background ensures effective management of state resources.

Manning, a state senator since 2016, vows to restore trust and integrity to the office, marred by controversy under Shemia Fagan. His campaign stresses the importance of leadership grounded in values and pledges to safeguard Oregon’s mail voting system, lauding its effectiveness over the past three decades.

As Oregonians prepare for the May 21 election, with ballots dispatched in early May, the races for these pivotal state positions promise a dynamic electoral season, underscoring the significance of experienced leadership and vision for the future.

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