The contest to become the next state representative for the House district covering Hood River, The Dalles and an eastern portion of Clackamas County is too close to call, with more results needed to determine if Republican Jeff Helfrich or Democrat Darcy Long will prevail.
In partial returns tallied as of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Long had garnered 51% to Helfrich’s 49%.
The pair are competing for the seat previously held by Rep. Anna Williams, D-Hood River, who resigned in August to take a state policy job. Helfrich, a former police officer, was appointed to serve as state representative for a partial term in 2017 but lost narrowly to Williams for full terms in 2018 and 2020.
Republicans this election cycle pumped unprecedented money into House races in a bid to undermine Democrats’ supermajority, which has allowed that party to set the legislative agenda and pass tax bills without Republican support for the past four years. Largely in response to Republican spending, Democrats funneled significant amounts of money into key candidates’ races to try to hold their ground.
In House District 52, Helfrich faced off with Long, a financial adviser who serves on The Dalles City Council.
The district is about 32% Democrat and 26% Republican, virtually unchanged in last year’s round of redistricting. But Helfrich has raised more than three times as much as his opponent – about $590,000 to Long’s $170,000.
Statewide, campaign strategists predicted ahead of Tuesday’s results that Republicans would ride a wave of public discontent with the direction of the state under Democratic rule. Republicans, who currently hold 23 of the House’s 60 seats, need to gain at least two seats to end Democrats’ supermajority rule.
Whether Republicans have succeeded at that goal will become clear in coming days, as complete results are tallied in tight races.
OREGON ELECTION 2022: Live Results Page | Election page
— Aimee Green; email@example.com; @o_aimee