WW’s May 2018 Endorsements for U.S. Congress

Earl Blumenauer has done plenty to merit a return to Capitol Hill.

U.S. House of Representatives, District 1

Suzanne Bonamici

Little has changed since the last time voters in this district—which starts near Astoria and rolls down the Willamette Valley into wine country—returned Suzanne Bonamici to Congress.

Bonamici, 63, a lawyer, struggles to point to any success stories since the 2016 election and she hasn't found a groove on any particular issue as she seeks her fourth term on Capitol Hill.

She has protected small cannabis businesses in her district by fighting federal intrusion. She chastised the U.S. Justice Department when Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked the Cole Memo, which formally obligated the federal government to stay out of state marijuana markets. That shows a newfound backbone, especially because she was on the fence about pot in previous election cycles.

Neither of her opponents is ready to replace her. Ricky Barajas, a student and dental office manager, lacks experience. Michael Stansfield, who works for a security company, is a single-issue candidate—and that issue is Palestine.

Most embarrassing thing Facebook knows about Bonamici: When she first ran for the Oregon Legislature she sent an email to every person she knew emphasizing her "great passion for public education"—but she forgot the l in "public."

U.S. House of Representatives, District 1

George Griffith

Republicans don't stand much chance of unseating Bonamici in November. Democrats outnumber Republicans by 67,000, or about 12 percent of the registered voters in this district. But three Republicans are vying for the chance: John Verbeek, a financial adviser who's run previously for Metro and the Legislature; Preston Miller, an Army veteran completing a degree at Portland State University; and George Griffith, a tech engineer who has worked at NASA, Intel and Apple, where he helped with iWatch batteries. Griffith gets the nod here. He's been active in crafting the party platform at the county and state level. He's a Trump supporter but not a doctrinaire conservative—he opposes capital punishment, for instance. His tech background would be an asset in trade policy; he was most engaged in his discussion of how to compete with China.

Most embarrassing thing Facebook knows about Griffith: "I've avoided Facebook for almost my entire career," Griffith says. "I never trusted it from day one."

U.S. House of Representatives, District 3

Earl Blumenauer

Only in Portland could Washington, D.C.'s leading advocate for transit, bicycles and weed draw a challenger from the left. For 22 years, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has represented this district that covers most of Portland and extends east to Mount Hood.

Stuck deep in the Democratic minority, Blumenauer, 69, has been working on ways to move the country forward in spite of President Donald J. Trump. He's put together a list of 37 ideas on which people frustrated with the president can expend their energy, ranging from single-payer health care to net neutrality. In Washington, Blumenauer has co-sponsored bills with Republican colleagues from California and Maryland to chip away at federal cannabis prohibition.

Running to his left is Ben Lavine, a salesman born 15 years after Blumenauer, 69, first won election to the Oregon House in 1972. Lavine knocked the incumbent for failing to support U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary and for taking contributions from DaVita, a dialysis company. Also running against the incumbent: Charles Barnett, a programmer who wants more urgency in the fight to address climate change.

We think Blumenauer has done plenty to merit a return to Capitol Hill.

Most embarrassing thing Facebook knows about Blumenauer: He looks good in a chicken suit. Blumenauer founded a comedy night for his colleagues many years ago. One year, he says, he dressed as poultry.

U.S. House of Representatives, District 5

Kurt Schrader

Incumbent Kurt Schrader, who built a reputation as a budget expert during his 12 years in the Oregon Legislature, represents Oregon's most balanced congressional district—Democrats have less than a 5 percentage point registration advantage in a district that includes the central coast and Marion, Polk and most of Clackamas counties.

Schrader, 66, has paid attention to this slim Democratic majority, and his moderate politics reflect that. He is a member of the "blue dog" pack of moderates in his caucus and is co-founder of a bipartisan group called the "problem solvers." Because of his centrist views, he's never been a favorite of key Democratic interest groups such as labor unions or trial lawyers. His primary challenger, retired Lake Oswego teacher and stockbroker Peter Wright, was displeased by a Schrader vote against gun control, but is not running a serious campaign.

Most embarrassing thing Facebook knows about Schrader: "I don't have a Facebook page," says Schrader, who, as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, recently grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He says he found Zuckerberg's defensiveness and admission the company retains users' data after they've deleted their pages "very disturbing."

U.S. House of Representatives, District 5

Robert Reynolds

Voters looking for a substitute for Schrader are going to have to hold their noses. The Republican bench is barer than the shelves at a boarded-up Sears.

Rob Reynolds sells commercial security systems, adores President Trump and despises undocumented immigrants arriving in the state. His top priorities are deportations and building a wall along the Mexican border.

That's a vile platform. Yet he is still the most palatable candidate on the GOP ballot in House District 5. Joey Nations is an alt-right agitator who dons a helmet to lead nationalist rallies, trolling for brawls in Salem and on college campuses. Mark Callahan is a climate-change denier desperate for attention each election cycle.

All Reynolds has going for him is that he's upfront about who he is and what he believes. In this primary, that will have to do.

Most embarrassing thing Facebook knows about Reynolds: "There's nothing on there. I don't embarrass easily."

Endorsements: City of Portland

Endorsements: Congress

Endorsements: Statewide

Endorsements: Legislature

Endorsements: County and Metro