Elizabeth Steiner winning Democratic primary for Oregon state treasurer

By Bryce Dole (OPB )
May 22, 2024 3:14 a.m. Updated: May 22, 2024 1:41 p.m.

Early returns showed her with a commanding lead over Jeff Gudman.

Elizabeth Steiner (left) and Jeff Gudman are running in the May 21 Oregon primary election for state treasurer.

Elizabeth Steiner (left) and Jeff Gudman are running in the May 21 Oregon primary election for state treasurer.

Photos courtesy of the campaigns

Elizabeth Steiner, a longtime state senator and one of the state’s top budget writers, was winning the race to become the Democratic Party nominee for Oregon treasurer, according to partial returns.


Steiner was beating candidate Jeff Gudman handily in early returns as of Wednesday morning.

Related: Primary election updates: Get the latest news and see who's leading as votes continue to be counted

If the results hold, it would be the third time that Gudman, an investor, has lost the race for treasurer.

Steiner, a family physician and professor at Oregon Health & Science University, was poised to face state Sen. Brian Boquist, a Republican from Dallas, in the November general election. Boquist is one of 10 Republican state senators who took part in the 2023 legislative walkout and is barred from seeking reelection in the Legislature this year. He was the only Republican running for treasurer.


As a lawmaker, Steiner served six years as co-chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee. Her campaign was endorsed by many Oregon Democrats, including U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, as well as some Republican lawmakers and commissioners.

“I think the message that financial security is connected to health is really powerful for people, and I think people really understand that at a very intuitive level,” Steiner said Tuesday night. “And having it articulated is really helpful for folks — and the recognition that if you’re struggling with financial insecurity, it’s not, generally speaking, your fault. We need as a state to do even more to help people gain financial literacy and help take control of their own finances because they just haven’t been given the education we need to help them save for their and their children’s future. And we want people to have hope for a better financial future.”

Oregon’s treasurer helps manage the state’s financial well-being. The treasurer manages the state’s massive $98 billion Public Employees Retirement System, or PERS.

The treasurer also sits on the Oregon Investment Council and the State Land Board and helps manage Oregon Saves, which helps Oregonians save for retirement if their employers don’t have a plan.

The next treasurer will take the reins from Tobias Read, who held a commanding lead in the Democratic primary for Oregon secretary of state.

Steiner and Gudman said they would work to fulfill Read’s plan to divest from fossil fuels and make the state’s investment portfolio carbon neutral by 2050. The treasurer will also be tasked with managing a $28 billion unfunded liability in the state’s PERS fund.

As treasurer, Steiner said, she aims to improve Oregonians’ financial literacy and double the number of youths participating in the Oregon College Savings Plan. She also wants to start a baby bond program, using public money to create a savings account at birth that will grow over time and help youths pay for a car or college.