Oregon Democratic congressional candidates slam PAC for backing rival Carrick Flynn

Connor Radnovich
Salem Statesman Journal
Voters drop off their ballots on election day at a drive-thru location outside the Marion County Courthouse.

Six Democratic candidates for Oregon's new Congressional District 6 denounced House Majority PAC Monday for purchasing $1 million in television advertising timeslots in support of Carrick Flynn, one of their rivals in the highly competitive primary.

In a rare joint news release, the candidates called the ad buy "inappropriate" and "unprecedented."

"This effort by the political arm of the Democratic establishment to buy this race for one candidate is a slap in the face to every Democratic voter and volunteer in Oregon," the statement read.

They expressed further concern that the money spent in their primary would then not be available to protect the current Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, a majority political analysts consider tenuous at best this election cycle.

House Majority PAC was launched in 2011 with the goal of winning back Democratic control of the U.S. House and to counter conservative super PAC spending. Top Democratic operatives steer the political action committee and wealthy left-leaning donors are known to contribute to the fund.

In a statement, House Majority PAC communications director CJ Warnke said supporting Flynn is in line with the political action committee's goals of maintaining Democratic control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“House Majority PAC is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to secure a Democratic House majority in 2022, and we believe supporting Carrick Flynn is a step towards accomplishing that goal," Warnke said. "Flynn is a strong, forward-looking son of Oregon who is dedicated to delivering for families in the 6th District.”

Flynn grew up in Vernonia, and graduated from the University of Oregon in 2008. He then attended Yale law school and spent several years at the Centre for the Governance of Artificial Intelligence at Oxford University before returning to Oregon.

House Majority PAC spent approximately $140 million during the 2020 election cycle. In Oregon, it paid for three different advertisements against Republican congressional candidate Alek Skarlatos during his campaign against Democrat Rep. Peter DeFazio.

The support of other independent committees throwing money and support behind Flynn has already raised eyebrows with election day still five weeks away.

Protect Our Future PAC, led by cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried and based in Arizona, has spent nearly $5 million so far. Justice Unites Us PAC, newly formed in March, spent nearly $850,000 on canvassing for Flynn's campaign.

The candidates who released the statement Monday will also be appearing in a joint news conference Tuesday morning. They are:

  • Rep. Andrea Salinas
  • Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon
  • Kathleen Harder
  • Loretta Smith
  • Cody Reynolds
  • Matt West

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Reporter Connor Radnovich covers the Oregon Legislature and state government. Contact him at cradnovich@statesmanjournal.com or 503-508-6131, or follow him on Twitter at @CDRadnovich.