SALEM, Ore. (Diya TV) — Oregon State Representative Maxine Dexter is poised to become the Democratic nominee to replace U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, securing her path to Congress next year. In the primary, Dexter, a critical care doctor and two-term state lawmaker, defeated her main opponents: former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal and Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales.

The race saw a substantial influx of national funds, with Democrats holding a 3-to-1 registration advantage in the district, which extends from Portland’s east side to Hood River. Dexter, who plans to move back into the district, expressed optimism and readiness for the challenges ahead. “Let us celebrate and enjoy now, because tomorrow we are going to get back to work,” she stated on election night. “This is a make-or-break moment to protect our democracy. We do not have a moment to waste.”

Earl Blumenauer, who announced his retirement after serving since 1996, congratulated Dexter, saying, “Maxine has proven herself to be a serious and effective legislator. I am confident she’ll take this success with her to Washington D.C.”

Dexter’s candidacy wasn’t always a sure thing. She entered the race later than Jayapal and Morales and initially lacked name recognition and political connections. Jayapal, perceived as an early frontrunner partly due to her sister, Pramila Jayapal, a Congresswoman from Seattle, garnered significant attention. Despite similar campaign platforms focused on defending abortion rights, combating climate change, and protecting democracy, Dexter managed to distinguish herself with strategic support.

Dexter’s campaign gained momentum with significant backing from 314 Action Fund, a super PAC supporting science-background candidates. The group spent over $2.2 million on ads promoting Dexter. In contrast, Voters for Responsive Government, a new super PAC, spent more than $3.2 million on attack ads against Jayapal. Speculation suggests that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) might be behind these funds, though the group hasn’t confirmed its involvement.

Addressing the funding controversy, Dexter maintained her integrity. “I did not for one second compromise my integrity or my values,” she stated. “I said what I mean, and I mean what I said, and if people chose to support me, I’m grateful for that. But there’s nothing that I did to pander.”

Dexter also redirected some campaign contributions from misaligned donors to Portland’s social services agency, Central City Concern, though she did not specify amounts or donors. Meanwhile, the 314 Action Fund revealed that part of its funding came from wealthy donors like former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and investor Robert Granieri, both of whom support Israel.

At her election night party, Jayapal expressed disappointment and frustration over the heavy spending against her. “One of the biggest threats to our democracy is the role of money in politics,” she said. Blumenauer echoed her concerns, noting, “Maxine would’ve won this on her own, but the overlay of all the special interest money is troubling.”

Throughout the race, all three candidates – Dexter, Jayapal, and Morales – shared similar stances on major issues. Dexter advocated for a “long-term, negotiated cease-fire” in Gaza to ensure security and the defeat of Hamas. Morales, with less vocal positions, emphasized ending hostilities.

Republican Joanna Harbour led the GOP primary and will face Dexter in November. Political analysts predict an easy victory for Dexter in this heavily Democratic district. Blumenauer expressed confidence in Dexter’s future contributions, saying, “I look forward to partnering with her to ensure our district is well-served when she is elected in November.”