Organized labor continues to be the dominant force in Oregon Democratic politics, and unions triumphed in May 19's marquee race: the Democratic primary for secretary of state (see page 7). But labor also lost two key Portland House seats—both won by doctors, Lisa Reynolds and Maxine Dexter—and spent heavily on City Council candidate Sam Adams, only to see him lose.
SEIU Local 503 Executive Director Melissa Unger saw "a successful night overall," noting only three of 32 candidates her union endorsed lost.
But public employee unions also failed to unseat two Portland lawmakers, state Rep. Rob Nosse and Sen. Ginny Burdick, who voted for cuts to retirement benefits. Another group, the Democratic Socialists of America's Portland chapter, saw two candidates it had backed fail to make much of a dent: Paige Kreisman (who lost to Nosse) and Albert Lee (who lost to U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer).