Contributions Show Sen. Rod Monroe Intends to Fight For His Seat

Embattled incumbent will face significant primary challenge but is flexing fundraising muscles.

Sen. Rod Monroe

State Sen. Rod Monroe (D-East Portland) will face a stiff primary challenge next year after angering affordable housing advocates during the past legislative session.

Nobody could blame Monroe, who soon turns 75, for calling it a day.

He first entered the Legislature in the 1977 session as a member of the House and has served in various elected offices, including the Metro council and the Mt. Hood Community College board.

Former state Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-Clackamas) and Kayse Jama, the executive director of Unite Oregon, have already announced plans to challenge him in next May's Democratic primary for a seat representing much of the city and Multnomah County east of 82nd Avenue.

But organizations that can write big checks are sticking with the incumbent. In recent days, filings with the secretary of state's elections division show, the Oregon Rental Housing Key PAC and the Oregon Beverage PAC have each made $5,000 contributions to Monroe. Those checks come on the heels of an earlier $5,000 check from the Equitable Housing PAC.

Real estate interests, including the Housing PAC, have come the defense of Monroe, who owns an apartment complex. The Beverage PAC, which represents beer and wine distributors, is one of Salem's biggest and most powerful business lobby groups, and is likely to fare better with moderates such as Monroe in the Senate.

Neither Fagan nor Jama has reported any contributions yet.

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