Denyc Boles ends campaign for Oregon 6th Congressional District

Former Republican state lawmaker Denyc Boles is ending her campaign for Oregon’s 6th Congressional District. 

Boles’ decision could clear a path for 2022 Republican nominee Mike Erickson as he seeks a rematch with Democratic U.S. Rep. Andrea Salinas, though candidates have until March 12 to enter the race. Boles had racked up key endorsements from prominent Republicans, including past gubernatorial nominee Christine Drazan and Republican legislators from the district.

But she struggled to raise money, collecting a paltry $73,000 since she entered the race last August. Erickson, a business consultant, self-funded his own 2022 campaign to the tune of $2.8 million. 

In a statement, Boles cited “unexpected circumstances” for ending her campaign, a decision she said she didn’t make lightly. 

“This decision was not made lightly but unexpected circumstances have unfolded that make it difficult for me to campaign and potentially serve,” she said. “At this time, I will not be able to give the time, energy, and dedication the citizens of the 6th district deserve in Washington, D.C.”

Boles served about three and a half years in the state Legislature over the past decade, being appointed three times to fill vacancies. 

The 6th District, which was added in 2022, includes Salem and all of Polk and Yamhill counties. Salinas eked out a victory with 50.1% of the vote in 2022, and analysts consider it one of Republicans’ top opportunities to pick up a seat in 2024. Nonaffiliated voters are the largest bloc in the district, with more than 177,000, followed by almost 145,000 Democrats and 119,000 Republicans. 

Over the past two years, Salinas and Erickson have been embroiled in a court fight over a campaign ad that said Erickson had been “charged with felony drug possession” stemming from a 2016 arrest. Earlier this month, the Oregon Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case. The judges will decide whether Erickson’s $800,000 defamation case can move forward.

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Julia Shumway is deputy editor of Oregon Capital Chronicle and has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.