PORTLAND, Ore. — The voters in Oregon’s primary election are likely to choose some winners this week, long before November’s election.  That includes a replacement for Oregon’s most veteran member of Congress.

Earl Blumenauer decided not to seek another term in District 3 after serving since 1996. “I’m out of Congress in seven and a half months. I’m going to be a civilian.”

He says this strategy helped him stay in office and get things he wanted done, even with those he did not agree with. “Everything I introduce, I try and have to be bipartisan. I look for issues that bring people together rather than divide them. Bike partisanship.”

His district, most of Portland east of the Willamette River, is Democrat-dominated.  So primary voters are almost certainly choosing his successor.

According to the Secretary of State’s unofficial results, Oregon voters are following familiar trends for a primary election.  More than 14% already cast their ballots. They include more than 181,000 Democrats, 151,000 Republicans, and 65,000 unaffiliated voters. That’s on track with previous primary elections, when the total reaches about 40% turnout, and most wait to cast ballots on or near election day.

If you’re still making your choices, “I would say for voters, look at the experience, look at what these people have done.  Because it’s really tempting to elect people on what they promise to do.  And the promises can be very sincere, but no candidate ever is as powerful as the candidate implies in running for office.”

That’s political historian and author H. W. Brands, who is a Portland native. You can still return your ballot through the mail at your county clerk’s office, or at any of the secure official drop boxes available throughout the state. In Oregon, the postmark law means the state counts any ballot a voter mails on or before Election Day, even if they receive it up to seven days later.

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