Oregon Latina releases new ad in contested House race

Five Democratic candidates for a U.S. House of Representatives seat from Oregon’s new 6th congressional district appear before the press in Salem, Ore., on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, to denounce the House Majority PAC’s support for rival Democratic candidate Carrick Flynn. From left: state Rep. Andrea Salinas, former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, cryptocurrency entrepreneur Cody Reynolds; physician Kathleen harder, and Intel development engineer Matt West. Another candidate, state Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon, also was critical of the PAC’s support but was unable to appear at the press conference. Flynn’s campaign manager, Avital Balwit, said the campaign is “grateful for the confidence and support” of the House Majority PAC and others who are backing Flynn. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)

A Democratic Latina competing for Oregon’s newly created House district released a new ad Friday in a tight race that showcases the state’s increasingly competitive politics.

In the ad, state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D) addresses issues where many Democrats have been on the defensive in 2022, including inflation, crime and homelessness.

“My opponent and I are essentially tied right now. But I don’t think it was ever going to be easy. I don’t think anyone ever thought that it was just going to be a sweep by Democrats and it was going to be a cakewalk,” Salinas told The Hill.

“We’ve had some things at the national level and here in the state that have made it challenging, but I think we’re ready to take these last four weeks and come out strong. We’re feeling really good about the race right now,” she added.

Democrats generally dominate Oregon politics, although the state’s less populated eastern half is solidly Republican.

But Republicans are more competitive this year, with a shot at capturing up to three of the state’s congressional districts.

Statewide politics are in flux, with an unpredictable three-way gubernatorial race between Republican Christine Drazan, Democrat Tina Kotek and formerly Democratic independent candidate Betsy Johnson.

Salinas is running in Oregon’s newly created 6th District, which spans from the ritzy southwest suburbs of Portland through the Willamette Valley’s wine country to Salem, the state capital.

In her primary, Salinas received support from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus campaign arm, Bold PAC, to defeat a political newcomer with ample financial support from a cryptocurrency-backed super PAC and Democratic leadership.

Salinas, who’s been in the Oregon legislature since 2017, was heavily outspent in the primary, and is likely to be outspent in the general election as well.

According to the latest Federal Election Commission filings, Salinas was running neck-and-neck in spending with Republican opponent Mike Erickson, a businessman who’s largely self-funded his campaign.

“I think we need to stay up on air so that we’re continuing to communicate. My opponent is a multimillionaire, and he’s been communicating for many weeks. So it’s getting voters to know who I am, what my record is, the work that I’ve done, and the work that I will continue to do for the 6th Congressional District,” said Salinas.

Still, Salinas has become a top recruit for Democrats, particularly the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which has continued to support her campaign in the general election.

In her ad, Salinas makes a pitch to Oregon’s legacy voters, saying she voted to increase police funding while touting her father’s 30-year career in law enforcement.

Salinas has previously released ads on her law-and-order record, including one ad highlighting Erickson’s 2016 DUI arrest and guilty plea.

Erickson on Wednesday sued Salinas over the ad, according to the Oregon Capital Chronicle, saying the attack ad wrongly states that Erickson was charged with felony drug possession.

When Erickson was arrested, police searched his wallet and found an oxycodone pill, which he said belonged to his wife.

Salinas’s lawyer defended the ad’s claim, saying the drug charge was not ultimately filed because Erickson reached a plea deal, “but a charge is a charge, whether or not the DA files it.” 

Tags Andrea Salinas Bold PAC Congressional Hispanic Caucus Federal Election Commission Mike Erickson Oregon Oregon Capital Chronicle
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