7 candidates in 6th Congressional District Republican primary

Connor Radnovich
Salem Statesman Journal
Stickers sit on top of a ballot drop box at a drive-thru location near the Marion County Circuit Court on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 in Salem, Oregon.

Oregon voters haven't elected more than one Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives since 1994. The state's new 6th Congressional District and its relatively even voter-registration split could give the Oregon GOP its best chance in November.

Republican voters in the district have seven candidates to choose from, including businessmen, current and former state and local lawmakers, a clean energy executive and veterans of the U.S. military and law enforcement.

Check out:9 candidates face off in Democratic primary in new 6th Congressional District

Jim Bunn

The Statesman Journal was not able to get in contact with Jim Bunn for this story.

Bunn is a former Oregon state senator and U.S. congressman, serving from 1987-1995 in the state Senate and 1995-1997 in the U.S. House of Representatives. Bunn’s one term in office signifies the last time Oregon was represented by two Republicans in the House simultaneously.

According to his campaign website, his top issues include “protecting the unborn,” parental involvement in public education, opposing defunding of police departments and advocating for medical freedom.

He has raised about $12,400 in campaign contributions.

Mike Erickson

According to Mike Erickson, there aren’t enough businessmen in Congress.

“We have too many career politicians making bad decisions for our country,” he said.

Erickson’s career is in supply chain logistics, helping businesses reduce costs so they can be more profitable. He said that ties in directly with what he would want to do if he were elected.

As a businessman, Erickson said, he has seen the real impacts and increased costs associated with the policies introduced at the federal level. Much of the recent impacts are associated with inflation, but he said in Oregon a lot of businesses are also struggling with the impacts of crime.

“People are just holed up in their homes now. It’s a bigger crisis than people realize,” he said.

 While Erickson primarily blamed state policies for this, he said federal elected leaders should try to pressure local and state lawmakers into making changes.

Some of his other top issues include increasing domestic oil production, opposing government overreach and securing the country’s southern border.

Erickson has raised about $171,508 in contributions plus a $100,000 loan he made to his campaign.

Rep. Ron Noble

Ron Noble, R, District 24

Oregon state Rep. Ron Noble describes himself as an “inside outsider” when it comes to politics — he has served in the Oregon Legislature since 2017 but believes he maintains a “fresh perspective” due to his 30-year career as a police officer in Oregon beforehand.

He also describes himself as Republicans’ best chance to win the 6th Congressional District in November.

“I’m not sure everyone running in the Republican primary has the opportunity to win in the general election,” Noble said. “I just think I have the best shot at it.”

During his time in the Oregon House, Noble has represented a district fairly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, not dissimilar from the 6th Congressional District. He doesn’t shy away from the “moderate” moniker, but still bills himself as a conservative who wants government only as large as it needs to be.

Moreover, Noble said representing a purple district allows him to follow that more moderate path and listen to all sides.

“There’s a belief that there isn’t room for a moderate anymore, and I just don’t believe that,” Noble said.

His top priorities include: lower taxes, energy affordability, efficient government and public safety. He also pledged to avoid partisan politics.

“Voters are tired of the way things are,” Noble said. They’re tired of the rhetoric, they’re tired of the vitriol and they’re tired of the interference of government in their lives where it doesn’t belong.”

Noble has raised about $123,000 in campaign contributions.

Angela Plowhead

Angela Plowhead, Republican candidate for the 6th Congressional District

A U.S. Air Force veteran who worked as an intelligence analyst, Angela Plowhead said she decided to run after seeing the government begin to embrace what she described as communist and Marxist ideologies.

That paired with the pandemic-related lockdowns, food insecurities and censorship she saw told her the country was headed in the wrong direction. She said she has seen what happens in countries that have totalitarian or communistic ideologies.

“It was very reminiscent of things I saw in some of these countries,” she said.

Her top issues include defending free speech, prioritizing fundamental academic success in schools, revitalizing the economy with tax breaks and incentivizing entrepreneurship, and combating human trafficking.

Plowhead is a clinical psychologist who has worked with patients at the VA. She says no other candidate in the race has her experience or training when it comes to understanding the country's mental health crisis.

Her work and her time in the military also gave Plowhead experience with how Washington, D.C., functions, which she said would help her as a representative.

She has raised about $37,000 in contributions in addition to nearly $5,000 in loans she made to her campaign.

David Russ

Mayor of Dundee David Russ said that if he were elected to represent Oregon’s Congressional District 6, his job would be to protect the people from the government.

Russ said his breadth of business experience — from landscaping to real estate to computer administration to manufacturing to executive work — makes him the most qualified candidate. No one else has worked in as many fields that interact with government, he said.

Russ doesn’t like much of what is happening at the federal level on either side of the aisle.

He said “progressives” are “unpatriotic people” and that the Republican party does not support the Constitution in the same way he does.

The federal government is doing thousands of things, most of which are supported by Republicans who have been giving in, he said.

“There’s nothing left to give. It’s all been taken away,” he said.

He also accused Democrats of “trying to take over the country with tyranny.”

Russ has raised $5,021 in campaign contributions.

Amy Ryan Courser

Congressional District 6 Republican candidate Amy Ryan Courser.

Former Keizer city councilor Amy Ryan Courser got into politics because she didn’t feel like anyone in government was being held accountable.

Then in 2020 she ran for Congress to replace Rep. Kurt Schrader because as councilor she never received a response from his office about working together on addressing infrastructure issues. She ended up winning the Republican primary but lost in the general election to Schrader by 6.7 percentage points.

This time, Ryan Courser said, she is running for a deeper purpose, to “change the trajectory of our state.”

She said she is concerned national issues have overshadowed the challenges Oregon faces as a state, such as the management of federally-owned forestland.

Ryan Courser said Oregon needs to have a strong voice that both advocates for small businesses and pushes for action on national issues that impact the state.

Among her top issues are funding national security, advocating for fiscal responsibility, cutting taxes, repealing the Affordable Care Act and securing the country’s borders. Ryan Courser also said she has a 40-point plan to secure the country’s elections, including eliminating mail-in ballots, which Oregon has exclusively used since 2000.

Ryan Courser has raised about $91,000 in campaign contributions.

Nate Sandvig

Nathan Sandvig

Clean energy executive Nate Sandvig moved to Oregon in 2009, drawn to the state for its promise of cheap, renewable energy. Now he’s running for Congress advocating for increased funding to this sector.

He acknowledges this is not a typical position for a Republican candidate, but he said such investment is necessary not just because of climate change, but because energy sustainability will improve the country's national security.

His run for Congress started in the midst of the pandemic as he and other parents were banding together to look for in-person options when most schools had moved to online-only.

“It started as a parents movement for me and then it turned into a citizens and taxpayers movement,” Sandvig said.

Sandvig is a West Point graduate and said he favors pragmatism over partisanship, utilizing Dwight D. Eisenhower as his political North Star. It's critical the country gets more citizen politicians who are willing to listen to both sides, he said.

“We can’t afford more of the same,” Sandvig said. “A healthy two-party system isn’t a bad thing. It provides a bit of balance."

Sandvig's top policy positions include fiscal conservatism, ending pandemic-era mandates and opposing efforts to defund police departments.

Sandvig has raised $182,529 in campaign contributions, plus $65,000 he has loaned to his campaign.

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.