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Reardon unseats incumbent Schaufler in testy House Democratic primary

Winner expected to prevail in November

Challenger Jeff Reardon handily defeated 10-year incumbent state Rep. Mike Schaufler, D-Happy Valley, in Tuesday's Democratic primary for House District 48 by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.

Reardon was leading Schaufler, who often bucks his own party on key House votes, by 1,993 to 1,010, after a large share of the votes were tallied. Schaufler called Reardon to concede around 8:30 p.m.

'It's a tough thing to take on a 10-year incumbent,' Reardon said Tuesday night when the results were clear. 'I think it came down to values.'

House District 48 is a heavily Democratic district that straddles Happy Valley and East Multnomah County, so Tuesday's winner was expected to go on to an easy victory in November.

The House District 48 primary was one of the most hotly contested races in Clackamas County and hottest House races statewide. Usually legislators stay out of primary politics but at least a dozen of Schaufler's colleagues in Salem supported his opponent.

Reardon also was buoyed by the support of activists from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, the Oregon Working Families Party and Move On.

Schaufler, a five-term incumbent, had the support of several important labor and other interest groups. But he was out the outs with some of his own Democratic House colleagues, and sometimes sided with House Republicans and business groups.

A teacher in David Douglas School District, Reardon was dismayed when his own union, the powerful the Oregon Education Association, endorsed Schaufler. But then Reardon won an endorsement from the District Council of Laborers, which counted Schaufler as a member from 1988 to 1996.

While partisan elections are also usually low-profile affairs with little fundraising, Janice Thompson, executive director of Common Cause Oregon, noted a stark difference between the two candidates.

'Reardon is a financial underdog with more of his money coming from within Oregon, from individual contributors, and donors writing smaller checks,' she said. 'Schaufler is leading the fundraising race with little of his financial support coming from small dollar donors and individuals.'

As of election day, Mike Schaufler's campaign had raised $216,000 this year while Jeff Reardon had raised nearly $162,000. These amounts include cash and in-kind contributions.

The League of Conservation Voters on May 11 named Schaufler to its 'Dirty Dozen,' listing 12 of what the advocacy organization considers the most anti-environment state level candidates in the country.

Schaufler could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.