The results of Oregon's primary election night have illuminated the priorities of Oregon voters while paving a mostly-clear path toward what will undoubtedly be a momentous November general election.
Despite a new state law allowing mailed ballots postmarked on election day to be counted long after polls close, early results Tuesday evening had some candidates declaring victory by 9 pm. Other races won't be decided until all of the ballots are tallied—especially since the elections office for the populous Clackamas County failed to report any election results until early Wednesday morning due to a ballot printing error. Here's where the results stand as of Wednesday, May 18:
City of Portland
City Commissioner Dan Ryan's race to retain his Position 2 seat on council was the first to be called Tuesday night. Ryan, who was elected to council in August to finish out the term of Commissioner Nick Fish after Fish's death, ran on a promise to continue his office's work around homelessness and "breaking down silos" between insular city and county departments. Multnomah County Elections reports Ryan earning 57 percent of votes as of 7 am Wednesday. His top opponent, nonprofit leader and activist AJ McCreary, has collected just under 25 percent.
The results of the second council race are far less decisive. While one thing is certain—with 41 percent of the votes, incumbent City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty will be facing a runoff election in November—it's not yet clear who she'll share the ballot with. Her two closest competitors remain neck-and-neck Wednesday morning, with Vadim Mozyrsky gripping to 23 percent of all counted ballots and Rene González with 24 percent of the votes. Hardesty, who first entered City Hall in 2019, has built a name for herself by demanding more layers of accountability in policing, creating the Portland Street Response (an unarmed first response team that serves as an alternative to police), and encouraging programs that slow climate change.
Mozyrsky and González represent the demands of voters who have soured to Hardesty's leadership. Mozyrsky has called for more police, more homeless shelters, and expanded trash cleanup services, while being financially buoyed by Portland's monied businesses leaders. González has pitched a slightly harsher response to the city's crises, both through an expanded police force and by arresting homeless people who refuse to enter shelter. The election results show that more Portlanders voted against Hardesty than for her, setting the stage for what's bound to be a heated November election. We won't know who Hardesty will face in the general election until more ballots are counted.
The first contested City Auditor's race in decades went to Simone Rede (pronounced "ready") Tuesday, with Rede winning 80 percent of the vote. Rede, who currently works as an auditor for Metro, beat out accountant Brian Setzler, who collected just under 20 percent of voters' support.
Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal held onto her District 2 position Tuesday with a whopping 78 percent of the vote, with competitor Derry Jackson trailing behind with 13 percent.
Much less clear is the outcome of the race for County Chair, which included three sitting commissioners. District 3 Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson leads the race at 40 percent as of Wednesday morning, with District 1 Commissioner Sharon Meieran trailing at 19 percent, followed by employment rights lawyer Sharia Mayfield at 14 percent. While it appears like Meieran will be the one facing Vega Pederson in November, the decision won't be final until all ballots are tallied. Vega Pederson, a former state representative, has pitched herself as a leader on equity issues, affordable housing support, and education access, while Meieran has centered her race on expanding short-term shelters for homeless people and boosting behavioral health services.
History was made in the Multnomah County Sheriff's race Tuesday, with Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell claiming victory to become the first woman to serve as sheriff in the county's history. Morrisey O’Donnell, who currently works as undersheriff to current Sheriff Mike Reese, beat out her colleague, Capitan Derrick Peterson, with 62 percent of the counted votes. Peterson, who would have been the county's second Black sheriff, captured just under 33 percent of voter support.
All incumbents on Metro Council appeared to keep their positions Tuesday. Ashton Simpson, director of Oregon Walks, won an uncontested race for District 1, which includes the Metro region's eastern reaches. District 2 Councilor Christine Lewis held onto her office—which oversees areas including Milwaukie, Oregon City, and Lake Oswego—with 72 percent of the ballots, beating out local business owner Mei Wong. District 6 Council Duncan Hwang, who had been appointed to the office in January after it was vacated mid-term by former Councilor Bob Stacey, gathered 67 percent of voters' support, with his competitor conservationist Terri Preeg Riggsby trailing behind with 31 percent. District 6 includes most of Southwest Portland and the city's inner southeast neighborhoods.
Finally, current Metro Council President Lynn Peterson held onto her position with 57 percent of the vote, squeaking by her competition, urban planner Alisa Pyszka, who gathered 31 percent.
Tina Kotek, former Oregon House Speaker representing North Portland, is the Democratic nominee for Oregon's gubernatorial race. She declared victory shortly after 9 pm after receiving a call from her close competitor, State Treasurer Tobias Read, conceding the race. Kotek gathered 55 percent of all votes county as of Tuesday morning, compared to Read's 32 percent. It's not immediately clear who Kotek will face in the November governor's race. In the lead is Republican Christian Drazan, the former Minority Leader of the Oregon House representing Clackamas County, with 23 percent of tallied votes, who is followed by Bob Tiernan, a former state representative representing Lake Oswego, with 18 percent. The decided victor in the GOP race will face Kotek and Independent candidate Betsy Johnson, a former Democratic Senator representing the region spanning St. Helens to Astoria. This is the first time a third party candidate may have a real shot at influencing the gubernatorial race in Oregon, as Johnson has elicited a mountain of campaign donations from deep-pocketed donors. Some fear Johnson's race may act as a spoiler by drawing Democrat Oregonian's votes away from Kotek, paving an easy path to victory for the Republican nominee.
Most Democrats in the Oregon Legislature running for re-election in Portland metro region districts held onto their (largely uncontested) seats Tuesday, steering them toward a November face-off with their GOP opponents. The Democrat races without an incumbent provided clear results Tuesday: Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba collected 72 percent of the votes for 41st House District, and optometrist and community advocate Thuy Tran ended the night with 72 percent of ballots for the 45th House District.
After early results gave Christina Stephensen an early lead in the Labor Commissioner race, Wednesday morning numbers suggest Stephensen, an employment lawyer, will be headed to a runoff in November. As of Wednesday morning, Stephenson had 46 percent of statewide votes, with former Bend Republican state representative Cheri Helt trailing her at 19 percent. Candidates must nab more than 50 percent of primary election votes to avoid a runoff.
There were three Oregon Democratic congressional races pundits followed closely Tuesday night, including the race for the state's brand-new 6th District. The Democratic nominee for Southwest Oregon's District 4, vacated by outgoing Representative Peter DeFazio, went to outgoing Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle, bypassing her opponents with 64 percent of the votes. In District 5, which had its district boundaries re-drawn to include Bend following the 2020 Census results, has tipped in the favor of Jamie McLeod-Skinner with 60 percent of the votes for Democratic nominee as of Wednesday morning. District 5 incumbent, longtime Representative Kurt Schrader, has garnered 38 percent of the state's votes. Yet, because of the number of uncounted votes in Clackamas County, the final victor in this race remains up in the air.
Finally, the Democratic nomination for the new District 6, which includes Salem, along with Yamhill and Polk counties, has fallen to Southwest Portland State Representative Andrea Salinas, with 37 percent of votes.
Congressional District 1 race fell handily to incumbent Suzanne Bonamici, as did District 3's Earl Blumenauer. In District 2, which has been long-held by Republicans, Democrat farmer Joe Yetter collected 69 percent of Democrat votes, while incumbent Cliff Bentz retained the GOP vote.
Incumbent Senator Ron Wyden remains the Democratic nominee in the November general election, where he'll likely face Republican candidate (and QAnon fan) Jo Rae Perkins.