One big question looms for Democrats on this Election Day: Will they take control of the House of Representatives?
Vox politics reporter Tara Golshan and OPB senior political reporter Jeff Mapes joined “Think Out Loud” to discuss the effect on Oregon if that happens. If it does, Golshan said Democrats will need to decide how much energy to put toward policy wins and how much to put toward holding Trump accountable.
Representatives from all five districts in Oregon are up for reelection, and while one is being seriously contested, the incumbents are likely to win. Here’s how the changes in Washington, D.C., could affect the members of Oregon’s delegation if reelected.
1. Peter DeFazio, the longest sitting Oregon representative, could have the most to gain from the Democrats taking control of the house, according to Mapes. He would become the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, a panel that’s had a successful track record for moving projects along with a divided Congress.
2. Earl Blumenauer, the incumbent Democrat representing Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District, will also focus on infrastructure. He is trying to convince House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to create a Ways and Means subcommittee on infrastructure that he would chair.
Blumenauer could also focus on cannabis legalization. A founding member of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, he has already released a detailed memo to the House Democratic leadership on legalizing marijuana at the federal level.
3. Greg Walden, Oregon’s lone Republican representing the sprawling 2nd Congressional District, could lose his seat to Democratic challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner if the blue wave is really strong. But Walden has staying power. He’s served the 2nd District since 1999.
Walden also chairs the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee. While he would no longer be chairman of the committee if Republicans lose the House, he would still be the ranking member. Also, Walden has a good relationship with President Donald Trump.
“He’s one person who has a line into the White House from the state,” Mapes said.
4. The representative for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, Kurt Schrader, is a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate Democrats in the House. Schrader has been vocal about his opposition to Nancy Pelosi and will likely push for new House leadership.
5. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici from Oregon’s 1st District would likely be picked to lead a subcommittee on either the Education and Workforce Committee or the Science, Space and Technology Committee. If Democrats are in the majority, Bonamici would join other legislators to push Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on her regulation of for-profit colleges.
6. Sen. Jeff Merkley has made indications that he will run for president. Merkley is up for reelection in 2020. Oregon’s deadline to file for reelection is late enough that Merkley could run in New Hampshire and Iowa before committing to Senate reelection.
“He’s a long shot,” said Mapes.
OPB Election Coverage 2018
- Live election results for Oregon, Washington and the national race for control of the U.S. House and Senate.
- Oregon Governor Candidates Make Final Plea — Aimed At White Suburban Women
- Poll Shows Brown Holds Slight Lead In Oregon Governor’s Race
- What Phil Knight’s Enormous Donations Mean In Oregon Governor’s Race
- Some Oregon County Ballot Measures Give Sweeping Authority To Sheriffs
Oregon Gubernatorial Candidates
- Profiles: Kate Brown | Knute Buehler | Patrick Starnes
- On The Issues: Climate Change | Death Penalty | Education | Immigration | Health Care | Housing | PERS
Oregon Ballot Measures
- Measure 102: Constitutional Amendment On Affordable Housing
- Measure 103: The Grocery Tax Ban
- Measure 104: The Supermajority Tax Requirement
- Measure 105: The Sanctuary State Measure
- Measure 106: The Abortion Measure
Portland Metro Ballot Measures
Portland City Council Race
- On The Record: Jo Ann Hardesty | Loretta Smith
- Profiles In Leadership: Jo Ann Hardesty | Loretta Smith
- Portland City Council Candidates Issues Q&A
- Sanctuary Cities For Gun Rights? Oregon Militias Try New Political Tactic
- Democrats Step Up To Challenge For Greg Walden’s Seat
- The Twists And Turns In The Race To Replace Bend Rep. Knute Buehler