Oregon AFL-CIO issues endorsements for May primary


The Oregon AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) issued endorsements for the May 15 primary, though most of the candidates they endorsed don’t have primary opponents.

In races that do, the state labor federation backed the re-election of U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio. The 12-term congressman is being challenged by Oregon State University graduate student Matthew Robinson in the Democratic primary.

Robinson, 24, of Cave Junction, is the son of Republican primary candidate Art Robinson, whom DeFazio handily defeated in 2010. The elder Robinson spent more than $1 million attacking DeFazio. He is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Matthew Robinson told the Eugene Register-Guard earlier this year that his political views are “very similar” to his father’s. DeFazio criticized Art Robinson in 2010 for his denial of global warming and his attacks on the public school system, the newspaper reported.

There are only a few contested races in the Democratic primary for the Oregon House of Representatives. In those races, the AFL-CIO is supporting incumbent Mike Schaufler in District 48 representing Happy Valley; Jennifer Williamson in House District 36 representing Southwest Portland; and Ben Unger in House District 29 representing Hillsboro, Cornelius and Forest Grove.

In District 48, Schaufler is being challenged by retiring school teacher Jeff Reardon.

House District 36 is being vacated by Democrat Mary Nolan, who is running for Portland City Council. Williamson faces Sharon Meieran, an emergency room doctor, and Benjamin Barber, a computer programmer.

Unger is running against Katie Riley in District 29. The winner will face incumbent Republican Katie Eyre in the November general election.

On the Republican side of the aisle, the AFL-CIO endorsed incumbent Bob Jenson in District 58 representing Umatilla and a portion of Union counties. Three Republicans have filed  against Jenson, who resides in Pendleton.

All other endorsements from the AFL-CIO were for incumbents running unopposed in the Democratic primary. They include Ted Wheeler for state treasurer; Kate Brown for secretary of state; Brad Avakian for state labor commissioner; Suzanne Bonamici for U.S. representative, 1st District; and Kurt Schrader for U.S. representative, 5th District.

Republicans fielded no candidates to run for state treasurer or the 1st District U.S. House seat, which means Wheeler and Bonamici are likely shoo-ins for re-election.

In the Oregon Senate, the AFL-CIO endorsed Diane Rosenbaum, Dist. 21; Chip Shields, Dist. 22; Lee Beyer, Dist. 6; Chris Edwards, Dist. 7; and Floyd Prozanski, Dist. 4.

Delegates also endorsed Arnie Roblan, a Democrat who is leaving the House of Representatives to run for an open seat in Senate District 5.

In the Oregon House, the state labor federation backed Jules Bailey, Dist. 42; Jeff Barker, Dist. 28; Phil Barnhart, Dist. 11; Peter Buckley, Dist. 5; Michael Dembrow, Dist. 45; Margaret Doherty, Dist. 35; Chris Garrett, Dist. 38; Paul Holvey, Dist. 8; Val Hoyle, Dist. 14; Tina Kotek, Dist. 44; Greg Matthews, Dist. 50; Nancy Nathanson, Dist. 13; Tobias Read, Dist. 27; Greg Smith, Dist. 57; and Brad Witt, Dist. 31. All but Smith are Democrats.


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