Elections, News, Oregon

2 political newcomers seek Republican nomination for Rep. Stout’s northwest Oregon district

Regardless how this election year goes, the next representative of state House District 31 in northwest Oregon will be a political newcomer. 

The two Republicans running for their party’s nomination in the May 21 primary, Realtors Darcey Edwards and Aaron Hall, have not previously held elected office. And only one Democrat seeks the office, 21-year-old tax consultant Jordan Gutierrez, who is also campaigning for the first time.

Each hopes to replace Rep. Brian Stout, R-Columbia City, who has been barred from serving on any committee since November, 2022, less than a year into his first term, over a five-year restraining order barring Stout from contacting a former campaign volunteer. She reported that he had sexually assaulted her and threatened her life.

The district spans parts of Columbia, Multnomah and Washington counties, including Sauvie Island, Scappoose, Vernonia and Banks, and is split among voters. Nearly 28% are registered Democrats, almost 29% are Republicans while about 37% are unaffiliated, according to the secretary of state’s April registration numbers. Here is a look at the Republican candidates:

Darcey Edwards is a Realtor and a lifelong Banks-area resident, and lives with her husband and three kids on the same property she grew up on. She said she decided to run for House District 31 following the closure of a 100-year-old mill owned most recently by Hampton Lumber for the last seven years. Edwards blames state conservation laws and restrictions on logging for the mill’s closure and the loss of 70 jobs. 

“That was the final straw. I thought, if I could do something to help these people, then I’m in,” she said. 

Aaron Hall

Name: Aaron Hall  

Party: Republican

Age: Unavailable

Residence: North Plains

Education: Law degree and master’s degree in sports science and administration, St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, 2002; master’s in sports administration, St. Thomas University, 2002; bachelor’s in computer science, business and sociology, University of Portland, 1999 

Current occupation: Realtor

Prior elected experience: None

Family status: Unavailable

Fundraising: $0 as of April 30

Cash on hand: $0 as of April 30

Darcey Edwards

Name: Darcey Edwards

Party: Republican 

Age: Unavailable

Residence: Banks area between Buxton and Manning

Education: High school diploma

Current occupation: Realtor

Prior elected experience: None

Family status: Married, three adult kids

Fundraising: $39,641 as of April 30 

Cash on hand: $20,342 as of April 30

Edwards said one of her top priorities would be to make Oregon more business friendly by deregulating and incentivizing companies to establish operations in Oregon. She said this would be the foundation for achieving her other goals as a representative. 

“You need their tax base and their money coming in to have the great schools,” she said. “We’re at the bottom of lists on investments in schools, addiction, therapy and mental health. I want to bring us up in those areas, but you have to be business friendly in order to do that.”

She’s volunteered as a membership coordinator for the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, helping businesses with their local marketing, and is on the board of the nonprofit TVW Inc., a Hillsboro-based group that helps connect people with disabilities with jobs and career mentorship.

Edwards said her other priorities include growing affordable housing in strategic parts of the state so low-income Oregonians don’t have to drive long distances between where they work and where they live, and helping more Oregonians access behavioral health and addiction recovery resources. Edwards said that she has first-hand experience with these challenges in her family. 

Edwards has won endorsements from Stout, state Sen. Suzanne Weber, R-Tillamook, and the anti-abortion group Oregon Right to Life. Her two biggest contributions – $5,000 each – are from political action committees associated with the Oregon Association of Realtors and Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson, R-Prineville, former minority leader of the state House.

Aaron Hall is a realtor and property manager and owner of Beaverton-based Hall Real Estate Inc. He did not submit a statement for the Voters’ Pamphlet and declined an interview request from the Capital Chronicle.

“I have no interest,” he said during a brief phone call.

According to his company’s website, Hall is from Scappoose. He previously worked in safety and environmental compliance for the Royal Caribbean cruise company and as a licensed sports agent in Florida. He worked in commercial real estate and bankruptcy law in Corpus Christi, Texas before returning to Oregon to work in real estate. 

This story originally appeared in the Oregon Capital Chronicle and is republished here under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. Read more stories at oregoncapitalchronicle.com.

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