Candidates to face off in January race to determine replacement for David Wu
Suzanne Bonamici has won the Democratic primary election for Portland’s 1st Congressional District and will face Republican candidate Rob Cornilles in a special election on Jan. 31 to determine who will replace David Wu as the district’s House representative.
Whomever takes home the win in January’s election will hold the position only temporarily; they will have to emerge victorious in next November’s regular election in order to officially begin their first two-year term as a House representative.
Although yesterday’s Democratic race was thought to be without a clear favorite, Bonamici ran away with the victory, collecting a whopping 66 percent of the vote. The next closest finishers were Brad Avakian (22 percent) and Brad Witt (8 percent). Recent figures indicate that around 37 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the election.
Avakian had once been considered the favorite: Early on in the race, he had been the first to denounce Wu and announce himself as a contender for replacement. However, his candidacy seems to have peaked at that moment. Bonamici was able to receive donations and endorsements from numerous groups throughout the election process, unlike Avakian
Prior to the election, Bonamici stressed in an interview the importance of “working with helping small businesses, especially with getting access to capital, as well as work on economic status issues and consumer protection issues.” Her immediate statement upon election’s end seemed to echo this sentiment: She vowed to “put the needs of Oregon’s middle class families and those who struggle to get ahead above preserving the tax breaks for the wealthiest.”
In January she will be running against Cornilles, who also ran away with his party’s nomination, receiving 73 percent of the vote. Cornilles was considered the clear favorite from the start. He will be facing an uphill challenge opposing Bonamici, though—Portland’s first congressional district has not elected a GOP candidate since 1972. In his previous election, against Wu in 2010, Cornilles lost by 13 percentage points.
However, Cornilles is confident about his candidacy and strong in his belief that he is the right person for the job. Upon the race’s conclusion, he stated that he wished to be an “independent voice” and that he had a “background that Congress does not possess enough of.” ■