Carrick Flynn, a Democratic candidate in Oregon’s new 6th Congressional District, has generated a lot of interest so far, principally because of the huge out-of-state money pouring in to support him.
Records show, however, that the McMinnville resident has rarely voted in the state he hopes to represent in Washington, D.C., despite being registered to vote here since he was a teenager.
As WW has reported, Protect Our Future, a political action committee funded by cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, has already committed nearly $6 million in independent expenditures to supporting Flynn. Yesterday, the House Majority PAC said it would chip in another million.
Those are big numbers in a race in which the candidate who’s drawn most of the in-state support, state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), has raised just $520,000 so far.
Flynn, according to his campaign bio, grew up poor in Vernonia in the Coast Range. His family lost its house in a flood and only through a scholarship was he able to attend the University of Oregon. He did well enough there to get into Yale Law School (he graduated but has never practiced law). Flynn then worked at Oxford and Georgetown universities before coming back to Oregon during the pandemic.
“Carrick is the right representative for our community,” Flynn’s campaign website says. “He is Oregon from the mountains to the valley.”
Unlike another native Oregonian who came home to run for high office, Nicholas Kristof, Flynn maintained his voter registration in Oregon. He first registered, records show, in 2004, when he was 18.
But Flynn’s voter file, which is a public record, shows that he has rarely voted since 2008, the earliest date in his file.
In fact, in the 30 elections in which Flynn could have voted in the past 14 years, he voted just twice: in the general elections of 2008 and 2016. That means he didn’t vote in the 2012 election, when President Barack Obama faced Republican Mitt Romney; or in 2020, when Democrat Joe Biden faced then-President Donald Trump; or in any of the primary, midterm or special elections for local and state candidate races and ballot measures.
Flynn’s campaign spokesperson says he’s been out of Oregon a lot in the past.
“Carrick has voted in Oregon before, most recently a few weeks ago in the Yamhill County recall election,” Avital Balwit says. “Carrick spent many years abroad working on international development, public health, and institution building. He is now running for Congress because Oregon desperately needs another fighter who will be laser focused on creating good jobs and preventing the next pandemic.”
(Kristof, who voted in New York in 2020, failed to meet Oregon’s three-year residency requirement for candidates for governor and so was excluded from this year’s Democratic primary. Congressional candidates only need to reside in the state where they are running at the time of election.)
Former Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins, who, like Flynn, is a Democrat, says a candidate’s having failed to vote often is unfortunate, especially in a state that routinely mails ballots to Oregonians living out of state or the country well in advance of elections.
“Good candidates really should be able to demonstrate that they have made some effort to participate in this country’s democracy,” Atkins says. “Mr. Flynn has no such record, even in the simplest way and living in the state where it is easiest to vote.”
Atkins, who as secretary of state served as Oregon’s top elections official, reviewed Flynn’s voter file at WW’s request.
“This voting record indicates he has not cared about either Oregon or national politics until suddenly deciding to run for Congress,” Atkins says. “If Oregon were a state—like some—that purges voter records more assiduously, he would have been struck [from the rolls] long ago.”