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Former GOP state legislator with shaky electoral history tries for Congress
Denyc Boles announces Republican bid for CD-6
Oregon Republicans seem poised to make a weird bet on unseating freshman Democrat Andrea Salinas in Oregon Congressional District 6.
It seems the best shot Republicans have so far is…an underperforming semi-career politician with a few years of seat-warming in the Oregon Legislature pot-holed by more races lost than won.
Denyc Boles, who lives and works in Salem, has at various times served in the Oregon State Legislature in multiple seats across the state House and Senate.
Salem-Keizer Proletariat is considering a run for Congress. To be fair, we’re also considering a run around the block. The latter would probably be more worthwhile. In the meantime SKP is entirely reader-powered and to receive new posts & support local journalism, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Boles was appointed THREE times - twice to Oregon’s House of Representatives and once to the Oregon Senate. Her political career has a scattered vibe. She almost ran for Marion County Commissioner once. She was appointed to fill a couple House seats. And a state Senate seat.
Salinas also built her early political career in Oregon on an appointment to the Legislature, but that’s the sole area of overlap between the two. Otherwise, Salinas’ political trajectory is up and to the right. Like a chart, right? Or is that obvious? Anyways….
Boles built her political career on extremist money…not unlike nearly every Republican in Oregon.
Timber industry. Groups opposing reproductive rights. Right-wing money machines inside and outside Oregon. Even Koch Industries.
There’s no hiding that Boles’ political career is built on more than $1.6 million in cash or in-kind support from increasingly sketchy sources.
But she’s also doled out campaign cash to folks like failed Oregon GOP gubernatorial candidate (and proud new owner of some ego-tripped, bullshit PAC) Christine Drazan ($12k); Marion County’s Do-Nothing DA Paige Clarkson ($4k); and increasingly unhinged right-wing Salem-Keizer School Board Director Satya Chandragiri ($1,250).
Over her political career, here’s the top five entities that bought Boles’ attention and influence:
$350,285 - The Leadership Fund
$105,000 - Oregon Realtors Political Action Committee
$73,000 - Oregon Business & Industry Candidate PAC
$64,846 - Oregon Right to Life
$59,551 - Oregon Republican Party
And, despite having won just one electoral contest in a political career anchored in appointments to various vacated Legislature seats - this is apparently the Oregon GOP’s best shot at winning CD-06.
But Boles isn’t the only Republican looking to take on Salinas
Boles appears to have the backing (or at least enthusiasm) of a chunk of the Oregon GOP. But the last guy defeated by Salinas wants another go at it. And he finances his own campaigns from deep pockets.
Mike Erickson, who still hasn’t learned to cope with his 2022 loss to Salinas, has indicated that he would run again for the Republican nomination - making it this wealthy executive’s 4th effort to buy a Congressional seat.
If he ends up running, that would require the Oregon Republican Party apparatus to burn through a lot more campaign cash in a primary cycle than they normally would - resources desperately needed for the general election challenge to Salinas.
In his loss to Salinas in 2022, “Erickson loaned his (own) campaign more than $2.4 million and raised less than $900,000 from other sources,” according to the Salem Reporter.
And Salinas, who likely won’t face a primary challenge, has nearly $500,000 cash on hand (as of mid-August 2023) as a starting point for funding her re-election effort, according to Federal Election Commission records - nearly two-thirds from individual contributions.
Further complicating Boles’ potential path to Congress?
Oregon Congressional District 5 (CD-05) is also on the 2024 ballot. Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer is defending her freshman term with nearly $1 million in cash on hand (mostly from PACs and special interests) - barely 29% from individual contributions.
Like Salinas in CD-06, Chavez-DeRemer is unlikely to face a primary challenge. But there are 5 Democratic candidates indicating interest (filed to run), including a rematch possibility with Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Chavez-DeRemer narrowly defeated McLeod-Skinner by about 7k votes in the 2022 legendary battle of the hyphenated names.
But based on her record and reception here at home, Chavez-DeRemer is going to need that $1 million in special interest cash - and likely a whole lot more.
In her first term, Chavez-DeRemer has rather admirably attempted to be a voice of what passes for reason in the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives. But her efforts at moderation have earned her a “RINO,” or Republican In Name Only,” label from the noisy and influential right-wing extremists dominating her party. It’s not uncommon to find Chavez-DeRemer on lists of Congressional Republicans that “vote with Democrats,” usually alongside calls to primary these folks with more extreme candidates.
From the Democratic side, Chavez-DeRemer also faces re-election in a Congressional District President Joe Biden won last time around, in 2020. Despite her strongly signaling a moderate approach to her district (and donors), Chavez-DeRemer has lent her name and vote to a number of shitty MAGA initiatives taking aim at LGBTQ+ people; limiting bodily autonomy around reproductive rights; and more.
Combine that with her party seemingly poised to nominate a criminal idiot to run against Biden, it’s easy to see a very animated Democratic base turning out against a disheveled, fractured GOP.
And you better believe the Republican Party wants to hold on to Chavez-DeRemer’s seat - in a cycle when the GOP will face a strong threat to the glued-together U.S. House majority they currently hold.
There’s also voter registration trends in both CD05 & CD06, putting any Republican candidate for either seat at an enrollment deficit.
Based on publicly available voter registration data from the state of Oregon, as of early August Democrats have a clear numbers edge in both districts.
Oregon lists voter data using 11 separate registration designations - Republican, Democrat nonaffiliated, and several much smaller parties. Most of these minor parties represent extremely small groups of voters and historically support one of the major parties in general elections. We grouped several of these smaller parties together with the main party they most often support.
With the 2024 election likely one of the most anticipated political contests in world history with respect to the Presidential elections, I don’t think Democrats are going to have a hard time driving voter turnout locally for Congressional races. Oregon Republicans, though, have the same ticking time bomb looming over every Republican candidate in this country, regardless of office…Donald Trump (especially if he isn’t the GOP nominee).
With that context and those considerable obstacles, you can see how it might be difficult for national Republicans to divert resources to a weak candidate like Boles, with a shaky electoral history and facing an incumbent with strong grassroots support in a district with stronger Democratic turnout.
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