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Hoyle wins Democratic nomination in 4th Congressional District

 Val Hoyle watched election returns at a union hall in Eugene Tuesday night.
Karen Richards
Val Hoyle watched election returns at a union hall in Eugene Tuesday night.

Val Hoyle is the choice of 4th District Democrats to replace Peter DeFazio in Congress.

Hoyle took a commanding lead in the 4th District Democratic primary Tuesday, with 66% of the vote in the eight-candidate field as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

She leads Doyle Canning, who had 14% of initial returns. No other candidate was receiving a double-digit percentage of votes.

DeFazio, a Springfield Democrat, announced in December that he would be retiring after his current term. DeFazio has represented the district, which includes Eugene and much of southwest Oregon, since 1987.

Hoyle is currently Oregon’s Labor Commissioner and has also served in the state legislature. She easily outpaced the rest of the field in fundraising, and was endorsed by DeFazio and many other Democratic leaders.

Through late April, Hoyle had raised more money than the rest of the field combined, though three candidates had not reported raising any money at all. Hoyle has also benefited from more than a half-million dollars in spending by super PACs, which are independent groups that cannot legally communicate with or coordinate with a candidate.

“The general (election) is where the fight really starts,” Hoyle told a crowd of supporters at a union hall in Eugene Tuesday night. “It is going to be a tough election, but I know we can do it together.”

For Canning, it marked a disappointing result in her second attempt to win the 4th District nomination. Canning lost to DeFazio in the Democratic primary in 2020. But she told supporters she still thinks her run for office had an impact.

"Across our district and the state of Oregon and the United States, elected officials have been put on notice: Progressives are building power," she said.

Hoyle will face Republican Alek Skarlatos in the general election, who was unopposed for his party’s nomination.

Skarlatos is a former Army National Guard soldier who became widely known after he helped thwart a terrorist attack on a European train in 2015. He later played himself in a movie based on the incident, and competed on the television show, “Dancing with the Stars.”

Skarlatos ran unsuccessfully against DeFazio in 2020. His campaigns have received national attention due to his fame, and he’s made multiple appearances on cable television shows.

“I am thankful to be selected as the Republican nominee for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District,” Skarlatos said in a statement released by his campaign. “It’s clear Washington is broken, Joe Biden’s liberal policies are not working, and we need solutions to reduce inflation, lower gas prices, and lower the cost of healthcare while improving access for rural Oregon.”

In 2020, Skarlatos lost to DeFazio by around 25,000 votes. After last year’s redistricting process, the voter registration edge for Democrats in the 4th is even larger this election cycle, meaning Skarlatos will face longer odds, despite facing a non-incumbent Democrat in the general election.

Copyright 2022 KLCC. To see more, visit KLCC.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”