U.S. Rep Suzanne Bonamici appears headed toward an easy re-election to the state’s 1st Congressional District.
The three-term incumbent Democrat faces two political newcomers in the May primary — Ricky Barajas, a student and dental office manager, and Michael Stansfield, a quality control engineer and author who works for a security company.
Running in the Republican primary are George Griffith, a mechanical design engineer; John Verbeek, a financial adviser who has previously run for the state Legislature and Metro regional government in Portland; and Preston Miller, an Army veteran studying at Portland State University.
Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans and have dominated the district, which covers Clatsop, Columbia, Washington and Yamhill counties and a northwestern portion of Multnomah County. Bonamici, an attorney, was first elected in 2012, after serving four years in the state Legislature.
“My ability to get things done, to work hard on behalf of my constituents and to get in there knowing the legislative process and how to get things over the finish line really makes a difference,” Bonamici said. “And I also am now very connected with the whole district after doing many town hall meetings and visits.”
Bonamici is the only candidate in the race to have filings with the Federal Election Commission. She has collected nearly $620,000 in contributions since last year from a wide swath of business and labor groups. Eric Paulson, owner of electric tug manufacturer Lektro Inc., and Shawn Teevin, owner of Teevin Bros. Land & Timber Inc., each gave Bonamici’s campaign committee $2,700, the limit for individual contributions to a House campaign.
Barajas, who counted volunteering for the Boys and Girls Club, American Red Cross and a high school track team as part of his experience, said threats to social service programs in Congress led him to run for his first elected office.
“I cannot stand on the sideline and witness everyday Americans work hard and sacrifice for their family to be taxed to pay for the rich,” he said. “Oregon deserves new leadership that will deliver results for the people, not the big corporations or the wealthiest of all.”
Stansfield, a member of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement opposing Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, has largely focused on Muslim rights in Palestine.
“We talk about freedom in America, but I don’t know what that really means anymore,” he said. “I want to give the dream back to its rightful heir — the people — and watch them fly.”
Griffith, who previously worked for Apple, Intel Corp. and a NASA contractor, has touted his work in the technology field and taken aim at Bonamici and how campaigns are funded, while describing his campaign as crowdsourced.
“I will not take money from special-interest groups,” he said. “Politicians tell us who they serve by the money they accept. I am tired of our leaders choosing to serve ‘Big Money’ rather than the people who elected them.”
Verbeek previously ran in 2016 for state House District 33 in Portland. His campaign has focused largely on constitutional rights.
“The Constitution is our nation’s only sanctuary of political freedom with liberty and justice for all,” he said.
Miller, who served in the Army during a peacetime tour in South Korea and a combat tour in Afghanistan, has said he is tired of America’s direction.
“I didn’t spend a year in Afghanistan dodging bullets and bombs to see it torn apart by petty, partisan politics, and from the progressives who like to blame the entire world’s problems on America,” Miller said at a recent candidate forum.