In Short

Mike Erickson gains ground in 6th Congressional District race, report says

By: - October 11, 2022 5:37 pm

Democrat Andrea Salinas and Republican Mike Erickson are vying for Oregon’s 6th Congressional seat. (Campaign photos)

The battle to win Oregon’s newly created 6th Congressional District is tightening, according to the Cook Political Report.

The influential Washington D.C.-based political newsletter rated the race as a “toss up” on Tuesday, indicating that Republican businessman Mike Erickson is gaining ground.  It initially predicted that Democrat Andrea Salinas had the edge, rating the race as “lean Democrat.”

Pollsters across the country are largely predicting that Republicans will take control of the U.S. House this year.

The latest rating switch in Oregon’s newly created 6th District stems from recent polls, the publication said.

“Both parties’ surveys continue to show Republican supply-chain consultant Mike Erickson tied or leading Democratic state Rep. Andrea Salinas, an avowed progressive policy wonk who was endorsed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the primary and hasn’t lived in the 6th CD,” the Cook Report said.

It said an early October poll conducted for the Erickson campaign showed him leading 44%-39%. A survey for the Salinas campaign showed her ahead 45%-44%, down from a September poll that predicted her leading 48%-45%, the Cook Report said. 

“What once looked like a Democratic ‘gimme’ has turned into a brutal slog, and both parties are heavily invested,” the analysis said.

It credited Erickson, who ran two previous unsuccessful bids for Congress, with controlling the narrative through a $2.1 million investment, including $1.1 million of his own money, in Portland-area TV ads.

“He’s played up his experience as a logistics expert to tackle supply-chain problems and inflation and highlighted his dad’s three-decade law enforcement career,” the analysis said. “He and the (National Republican Congressional Committee) have also savaged Salinas’ record in Salem, accusing her of voting to cut police funding and restore voting rights for violent ex-felons.”

Salinas, who was first elected to the Oregon Legislature in 2017, has denied that charge and has lobbed one of her own. In TV ads, she points out that in 2016 Erickson was convicted of a drunken driving offense. The ad also says that Erickson “was charged with felony drug possession of illegal oxycodone.” That claim is not true, despite a document filed in the DUI case that indicates he was charged. Erickson’s campaign has demanded a retraction and last week sued Salinas in Clackamas County Circuit Court, demanding $800,000 in damages.

Erickson had a slight edge over Salinas in fundraising at the end of June, raising nearly $1.5 million, according to the Federal Election Commission. That compares with about $1.3 million for Salinas by June 30. The latest quarterly totals are not yet available.

The 6th District, which was created following the 2020 Census, covers Polk and Yamhill counties, along with parts of Marion, Clackamas and Washington counties. 

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Lynne Terry
Lynne Terry

Lynne Terry has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including a recent stint as editor of The Lund Report, a highly regarded health news site. She reported on health and food safety in her 18 years at The Oregonian, was a senior producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Paris correspondent for National Public Radio for nine years. She has won state, regional and national awards, including a National Headliner Award for a long-term care facility story and a top award from the National Association of Health Care Journalists for an investigation into government failures to protect the public from repeated salmonella outbreaks. She loves to cook and entertain, speaks French and is learning Portuguese.