Rep. Suzanne Bonamici has represented Oregon’s first congressional district—which includes Washington County and a slice of southwestern Multnomah County—since 2012. In those eight years, she’s been a reliably low-drama, hardworking politician who shows up for the issues our region cares about, particularly in the areas of science and education. That includes working to combat climate change despite a Republican-dominated federal government, calling out Education Secretary Betsy Devos’ anti-transgender school policies, and making sure people are informed about their student loan payment options during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bonamici faces three challengers in this primary, but none of them have the experience necessary to be effective in the Capitol. Bonamici deserves your vote in this race.
The Mercury has been a faithful supporter of Rep. Earl Blumenauer since he entered Congress in 1996. From his work to support food-insecure families through the Farm Bill in 2008, to his steadfast advocacy for mass transit projects and decriminalizing cannabis, Blumenauer has remained a trusted progressive voice for Oregonians on Capitol Hill. But the former Portland City Council member, known for his bowties and bicycle lapel pins, has gone unchallenged for too long.
We believe that, after 24 years of Blumenauer representing Portland in Congress, it’s time we let a new generation of progressive leaders take the reigns. That’s why we’re endorsing Albert Lee for US Representative.
Lee is a Korean-African American army veteran, and former dean of Portland Community College's Business and Computing division. A Democratic Socialist, Lee’s politics veer to the left of Blumenauer. He supports Medicare for All as well as a national Green New Deal, and is an avid opponent of corporate influence on US politics (something that Lee believes drives Blumenauer’s decision-making). Like Blumenauer, Lee supports legalizing cannabis at the federal level and supports comprehensive immigration reform—but he goes further than the incumbent on climate change policies and campaign finance reform. Lee is the first candidate we’ve seen mount a worthy challenge to Blumenauer’s comfortable progressive values for decades. That’s why we’re endorsing Lee.
Rep. Kurt Schrader has a curious distinction: He’s largely recognized as one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress. Whether he’s voting on environmental policies, easing regulations for corporations, or opposing a federal minimum wage raise, Schrader is at best a reliably moderate member of Congress, and at worst a Republican disguised as a Democrat.
Schrader represents a very purple district that includes much of the Oregon Coast as well as Clackamas County, so some might argue he’s the best fit for the seat. But for Clackamas County voters who don’t feel Schrader is representing their values, we suggest instead voting for Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba in the primary. Gamba hopes to make universal healthcare and a Green New Deal his top priorities if elected, and has a track record of progressive accomplishments in Milwaukie.
And even if he doesn’t win, a strong primary showing for Gamba might send Schrader a message about what Democrats in his district value. If you want to shake up the status quo, vote for Gamba.
For the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, the Mercury is endorsing the general idea that Oregonians should be able to have an actual say in who ends up being our party nominee. We know this is perhaps a controversial sentiment, but it’d be great if we didn’t have to choose between voting for a presumptive nominee with an increasingly credible sexual assault allegation and casting an ultimately pointless protest vote for Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. Just think about how fun and hopeful and potentially outcome-changing it could be if, instead of waiting until May to vote, we were on equal footing with Iowans!
This can be accomplished by holding primaries on one single day (or even just over one week), or by using a ranked-choice voting system that allows more candidates to stay in the race longer. We’ll let the poly-sci nerds hammer out the specifics—just give us a head’s up when our primary vote will actually matter!