From State Director Anthony Smith
The NFIB Oregon PAC endorsed 46 pro-small-business candidates this year. Two-thirds of those candidates appear to be on-track to win their races, and while we’re disappointed that some of them came up short on Election Day, we look forward to welcoming new legislators to Salem next year and giving them the opportunity work with us on the important challenges that Oregon’s small businesses are experiencing right now, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and a devastating fire season.
Every new Legislature, and each individual lawmaker, regardless of party affiliation, can choose to make small businesses a top priority. It’s no secret that hasn’t happened in Oregon in recent years, but our state now finds itself needing small businesses to succeed as never before.
Legislators will be tempted to raise taxes—they shouldn’t. They will hear pleas to impose new regulations on businesses and create new spending programs on things that have nothing to do with coronavirus or wildfire recovery. They should exercise caution and restraint.
When 40% of our members tell us they will have to close their doors permanently in the next 12 months if economic conditions don’t improve, you’d think that our state’s elected leaders would be anxious to listen to our needs in order to get as many Oregonians back to work as possible. Let’s hope that’s true.
Further Election Analysis
- All of Oregon’s statewide races were easily won by Democrats, including the race for secretary of state. The NFIB Oregon PAC endorsed Sen. Kim Thatcher, but she was defeated by her colleague, Sen. Shemia Fagan, in the race for Oregon’s second-highest executive office. The silver lining on this one is that Senator Thatcher is just two years into her four-year term in the Senate, so she’ll be able to continue advocating for Oregon’s small businesses in her current role.
- Regarding the two candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives that the NFIB FedPAC endorsed, former state legislator Cliff Bentz won his race to replace retiring Congressman Greg Walden and Alek Skarlatos lost in his effort to unseat longtime incumbent Congressman Peter DeFazio.
- The State Senate is looking like there will be no change in numbers—both of the undecided races are leaning toward NFIB’s endorsed candidates. In the State House, it looks like Republicans will pick up one seat from the Democrats. If these numbers hold, that would mean a Democratic advantage of 18-12 in the Senate and 37-23 in the House. Democrats would hold on to their supermajority (necessary to pass tax increases) but would not achieve a quorum-proof majority, so Democrats would still need the GOP to show up in order to conduct the business of the Legislature, which will hopefully encourage greater bipartisanship next year.