Ballot counting issues delay OR primary results | Q control policy

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Ballot counting issues in Oregon’s third-largest county could delay a final result by days in a key U.S. House primary where Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader faced a daunting challenge from a progressive candidate.

Schrader trailed Tuesday in the early comebacks of the 5th District race against Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The race was too close to be called due in part to a printing issue with ballots in Clackamas County.

Meanwhile, a political newcomer backed by a cryptocurrency billionaire conceded to a longtime lawmaker in what is now Oregon’s 6th District, which was one of the country’s most expensive Democratic congressional primaries. .

Fuzzy barcodes caused vote-counting machines to reject large numbers of ballots in Clackamas County and election workers were hand-transferring votes to new ballots so they could be counted . Parts of the 5th and 6th Districts are in Clackamas County.

Teams including both Democrats and Republicans are duplicating each ballot so they can be scanned, and extra workers have been brought in to help. In a statement late Tuesday, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan called the problems in Clackamas County “unacceptable” but said she was confident the final results would be accurate.

In the 6th District southwest of Portland, political novice Carrick Flynn tweeted Tuesday night that he was conceding to state Rep. Andrea Salinas, who would be Oregon’s first Hispanic congresswoman if elected in November. Flynn said he would campaign for Salinas, which has been endorsed by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the standard bearer for the party’s progressive wing.

“It is vital that this seat turns blue and that Democrats maintain control of the House,” Flynn wrote.

In the 5th District, seven-term Schrader followed McLeod-Skinner to a radically redesigned district that leans a little less blue.

The district, which once stretched to the Pacific coast, now extends east to include Bend, where Schrader is less well known. President Joe Biden recently endorsed Schrader, a veterinarian and former state legislator, but he alienated progressive members of his party during his last term.

He was one of two House Democrats to vote against a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, in part because he didn’t want the bill to include a minimum wage hike. . He also voted in committee against a Biden-backed plan that would have allowed Medicare to negotiate outpatient drug prices with drug companies.

But some primary voters worry that McLeod-Skinner, a lawyer and former city planner, won’t be as competitive in November, especially since issues like crime and homelessness concern even moderate Democrats.

The money poured into the Democratic race for the newly created 6th District seat that included Flynn, the relatively unknown political newcomer backed by a cryptocurrency kingpin, and Salinas, a three-term state legislator. The race drew a combined total of 16 candidates for the House seat created by the 2020 census redistribution.

The nine Democrats competing in the primary have spent more than $18 million combined and attracted more than $13 million in outside money to date, making the race one of the costliest among Democratic primaries globally. nationwide, according to OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan research group that tracks the money. in politics.

At the top of the list was Flynn, who was backed by cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s political action committee.

In another key race, the current state labor commissioner and a former state legislator, Val Hoyle, won the Democratic nomination in the race to replace Rep. Peter DeFazio in the 4th congressional district of Oregon, which is wide open for the first time in decades as the incumbent retires. after 35 years.

In Oregon, unaffiliated and third-party voters together make up the largest group of voters, and they won’t find the congressional primaries on their ballots. At 8 p.m. Tuesday, 22.5% of voters had returned a ballot. Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and given one week to arrive and be counted.

Elsewhere, Rep. Cliff Bentz won the Republican nomination for the 2nd Congressional District and Joe Yetter won the Democratic nod for the seat in the heavily red district.

Representative Suzanne Bonamici won the Democratic nomination for the 1st Congressional District and Representative Earl Blumenauer won the Democratic nomination for the 3rd District. Christopher Mann won the GOP nomination in the 1st District.

None of the incumbents in these districts faced serious primary challenges.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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