EUGENE, Ore. -- With the May primary elections approaching, the fight over Oregon's fourth congressional district is in full swing as Doyle Canning sets her sights on longtime incumbent Peter DeFazio's seat.
Canning launched her campaign in September and said her efforts have accelerated as the election approaches. Volunteers are manning phone banks and canvassing on the streets. They said Canning's grassroots methods are what reeled them into the campaign.
"Well I'm definitely not a political insider, that's for sure," Canning said. "Business as usual, the way Washington works with lobbyists and corporate political donations, has really failed my generation and is failing future generations."
According to Canning, her campaign is not accepting corporate donations. Her efforts appear to be courting progressive voters. She said she believes that issues like Oregon's housing crisis can be tackled with policies addressing the affordability of everyday life for average Americans.
"The way to move forward is to raise wages, to provide universal healthcare, to make college more affordable," she said. "Here in Oregon and across the country, everyday people are suffering because they can't afford lifesaving medications and health care that should be made affordable to all of us."
Canning supports policies like the Green New Deal, universal healthcare and wants action on climate change.
— Doyle Canning for Congress OR-04 (@Canning4Oregon) January 16, 2020
"When there is a rally taking place, Doyle will be there and she will show me and the community that she really cares about the situation or the issue, either immigration issues, kids being locked up in cages or the climate crisis," said supporter Silver Mogart.
Steven Kiernan said this is the first political campaign he's ever volunteered for.
"I really like the underdog, scrappy nature of it. We don't have like dozens of people out supporting us canvassing yet, but since I've gotten involved, we've been growing steadily," he said.
DeFazio's campaign said that his legislative record shows he's also opposed to money in politics and also supports progressive policies like the Green New Deal and universal healthcare.
His campaign provided KEZI 9 News with the following statement:
"Rep. DeFazio is a lifelong Democrat and a founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Peter has a long and proven track record of being a progressive leader in the House of Representatives, fighting for Oregon families. Rep. DeFazio has championed several policies that Canning claims to support, such as the Green New Deal, of which Rep. DeFazio is an original co-sponsor, and universal single-payer healthcare policies like Medicare-for-All," said Carly Gabrielson, DeFazio's campaign manager.
"Congressman DeFazio was the first Member of Congress in history to be attacked by a dark money SuperPAC in 2010 and knows firsthand the negative impact that big money can have in elections. Peter is one of only 23 members of the House with a 100% rating from Common Cause for his ability to "help amplify the voices of everyday Americans who have been silenced by big money in politics."
Canning isn't the only Democrat candidate challenging DeFazio. Eugene psychologist and mental health advocate Cassidy Clausen is also in the race.
Alek Skarlatos, Jo Rae Perkins and Nelson Ijih are on the Republican ticket.