PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s growth has earned it a new congressional district and the race in the sixth district is proving to be competitive.
Nearly every poll shows a tight race between republican businessman Mike Erickson and state lawmaker Andrea Salinas and it could determine control of congress in Oregon.
The new district stretches from the Southern Portland suburbs of Tigard and Tualatin, down to Salem including the coastal range to the west.
Politico and The Cook Report both list this race as a toss-up with Cook shifting their projection from leans Democratic and that’s why this race is so key in D.C.
For all of their differences, the two candidates have some similarities as well.
To start, both candidates live just outside the district in Lake Oswego.
Both also say their fathers were police officers and that’s key because crime and public safety have been a big component of the messaging from the campaigns.
Erickson has attacked defunding the police, accusing Salinas of doing that as a state lawmaker, and says he’s against “soft on crime policies” saying he would use his position to advocate for repealing measure 110.
“I think we really need to hold the DA’s and judges more accountable for prosecuting people, particularly with gun violence and gun crimes where you go out and commit a crime and rob a store with a gun you should be serving your full time.” Mike Erickson said.
Salinas pushes back, saying her record shows investments and more money would be needed to reform policing.
“I have invested in our state police and we actually increased police funding in this past session with an additional 34 million for our state police and I think investments are necessary particularly if we’re talking about changes in training,” Salinas said.
Abortion access is a huge dividing point. Erickson said he wouldn’t vote for nationwide abortion restrictions and pushed back against the notion congress has the power to do that.
“I think the supreme court decided that pretty clearly, that it shouldn’t be a federal issue and I agree with that. I’m a state’s rights advocate,” said Erickson.
Salinas vehemently disagrees and worries congress can attack protections that states like Oregon have.
As inflation has remained steadily climbing as the election nears, Erickson says he would not have voted for the inflation reduction act. He says he’d tap into his experience–running a supply chain consulting firm.
“If you want to get inflation under control, we got to get our supply chain costs down, we have to get the price of oil and gas back to where it was,” Erickson said, “that’s a huge driver, become energy independent, then we have to do everything we can to get the national debt under control.”
Salinas would have voted for the inflation reduction act– but says it didn’t go far enough.
“Continuing to make sure that we open up the oil reserves to make sure we are pushing down on those oil prices and really looking at what role corporations play in these gas price hikes,” Salinas said
In such a close race, it’s a steep hike in the final days on the campaign trail.