Tag Archives: Rep. Peter DeFazio

Rep. Peter DeFazio to Retire

By Jim Ellis

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield)

Dec. 3, 2021 — Saying that he “…need[s] a little more time for myself, for my health and well-being, for my wife, my family, and the things I love in Oregon,” veteran Beaver State Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield), chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, announced Tuesday that he will retire after completing his 18th term next year. He ranks sixth in House seniority.

Rep. DeFazio becomes the 19th Democrat, and third full committee chair, to not seek re-election in this cycle. The other retiring chairs are Reps. John Yarmuth (Budget) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (Science, Space, and Technology).

Through his 18 congressional elections, DeFazio averaged 64.4 percent of the vote, but his victory margins dropped precipitously since 2010. His 2020 performance, scoring just 51.5 percent of the vote, was the lowest of his long career. Since the 2010 election, inclusive, he failed to reach the 60 percent threshold and averaged 55.9 percent in a district that was becoming more Republican as the population grew substantially.

In all but the 2020 election during this 12-year period, Rep. DeFazio faced the same Republican opponent, college professor Art Robinson. Though Robinson ran five consecutive times from 2010 through 2018, he would make a maximum effort in only three of the campaigns.

In the most recent contest, a battle that DeFazio won 51-46 percent against Afghan War veteran and anti-terrorist hero Alex Skarlatos, the Republicans did target the contest. Skarlatos’ campaign committee spent almost $5.2 million, not counting the substantial independent expenditures that came into the district.

The 4th District of Oregon hugs most of the state’s beautiful Pacific Ocean coastline, and encompasses the Eugene-Springfield metro area as its population anchor. At the time of the 2020 election, 595,443 people were registered to vote in this congressional district, the second-highest total in the state. Of that number, 32.6 percent were registered Democrats, and 31.2 percent registered as non-affiliated, while 28.8 percent chose the Republican Party.

Despite the high number of registered voters, the 4th District’s population shed figure was 117,399 individuals, very large for most states, but actually the lowest total among Oregon’s five CDs. Such is the principal reason the state gained a sixth district in reapportionment.

When the new map was drawn, the state legislative leadership had a goal of creating a 5D-1R map. In order to achieve this ratio, at least one of the Democratic seats would be weak from a partisan perspective.

Continue reading

New Redistricting Numbers

Oregon 2022 Congressional Districts (Go to Daily Kos story on Oregon’s new House map)

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 12, 2021 — The Daily Kos Elections website’s statistical team has already published presidential election numbers for some of the states that have completed their redistricting process. Therefore, we have a bit more information about the new districts in Oregon and Maine, which allows us to better analyze the political landscape.

In Oregon, the Daily Kos team has published the Biden-Trump 2020 numbers for the new six Beaver State congressional districts, which makes comparing with previous data possible.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici’s (D-Washington County) 1st District actually makes her previously safe northwestern Oregon seat even stronger. This new district gives her all of downtown Portland. President Biden posted a 68-29 percent margin in the new 1st, a net 10-point increase from his spread in the current district (63-34 percent).

The state’s lone Republican district, OR-2, also sees its percentages increasing for the incumbent’s benefit, who is freshman Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario/East Oregon). Instead of finding a 56-42 percent margin in former President Donald Trump’s favor, the new 2nd expands to 61-37 percent, a similar net 10-point improvement for the GOP as the Democrats saw in District 1.

Making the 2nd District so overwhelmingly Republican is reflective of the Democratic legislature’s plan to pack as many GOP voters as possible into the 2nd to facilitate achieving their goal of drawing a 5D-1R statewide map.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Portland) 3rd District, previously the Democrats’ safest Oregon seat, remains so, but with a slightly smaller margin. Under the newly adopted district lines, President Biden would have recorded a 73-25 percent victory as opposed to his 74-23 percent spread under the current map.

Perhaps the biggest change on the Oregon map, other than adding a new district, was making the Eugene-anchored 4th District safer for veteran representative and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield).

The Biden margin in the previous 4th was 51-47 percent, and the congressman only recorded 51.5 percent in his 2020 re-election victory, one of the smallest of his 18 electoral triumphs. In the new 4th, President Biden’s victory spread would have been 55-42 percent, a net Democratic gain of nine percentage points.

Continue reading

Oregon Completes Redistricting

Oregon’s new congressional map features six seats for the first time.

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 30, 2021 — Tuesday night, the state of Oregon became the first in the country to complete the redistricting process.

After Republicans decided not to break the quorum in the current legislative session because redistricting power in Oregon solely reverts to the Democratic Secretary of State if the legislature deadlocks, the Democratic House and Senate passed the new congressional, state Senate, and state House maps and sent them to Gov. Kate Brown (D). She immediately signed all three into law, thus the culmination of redistricting 2021 in the Beaver State.

The new congressional map features six seats for the first time, as Oregon was awarded a new district in reapportionment. The Democratic strategy was one of pushing the partisan envelope to the max, but the end result may force them to witness more competitive campaigns than they desire.

The final map looks to have two solid Democratic districts (1 & 3) and one safe Republican seat (2). The remaining three districts (4, 5 & 6) all lean Democratic to varying degrees. The Democrats’ idea is to create a 5D-1R map, but it’s possible in a good Republican year that the GOP gains two, and in a wave election could conceivably even add a third to their partisan column.

The 1st and 3rd Districts share the city of Portland, with CDs 5 and 6 coming into the metro area to annex some of the outer suburbs. The Portland area region is what gives those districts the Democrats the need to tip them further left.

The member in the most difficult situation is Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby). He won his 2020 re-election with only a 52-45 percent margin against a Republican opponent who spent just $221,000 on her campaign effort. More than half of Schrader’s current constituency is now in new District 6, and the partisan numbers in District 5 are slightly worse than they were in the previous version. Therefore, it is a virtual certainty that Rep. Schrader will draw significant Republican opposition in his new district.

An Oregon incumbent who needed an influx of Democrats is House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield). He defeated Republican Alek Skarlatos, 51-46 percent, after the GOP challenger raised and spent over $5.4 million. Of the three new potentially swing districts, the DeFazio 4th is now the strongest Democratic seat but still could play competitively in a wave Republican year.

Data research conducted by the staff at Dave’s Redistricting website and augmented through the Daily Kos Elections statistical analysis provides us with some early partisan details. The model races they use are from 2016 and 2018.

Below are the key population and partisan numbers for the new seats:

Continue reading