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This story was updated at 10 a.m. Thursday to include recent campaign finance numbers and to add the recall signature gathering campaign.
State Rep. Paul Holvey and the United Food and Commercial Workers local 555 union are going door-to-door making their cases to voters who will decide whether to recall Holvey over alleged anti-labor stances.
The Eugene Democrat was reelected in November with 85% of the vote, but Holvey said he knows the traditionally low turnout of a recall election means the race could go either way "because you don't know exactly who's motivated to turn out or not because it's off cycle."
Holvey said he often encounters people who apologize for signing the petition to get the recall on the ballot and promise to vote against the recall.
"I think the community response has been pretty favorable to me," Holvey told the Register-Guard. "There's a lot of people out there that were sort of duped into signing the petition, and they basically go, 'I didn't realize I was signing a recall petition. They told me I was supporting unions.'"
Michael Selvaggio, a lobbyist for UFCW, said the recall campaign has been using a combination of mailers, ads and door-knocking to convince people to vote for the recall because of "Holvey's record of pension cuts, frontline worker abandonment, and the tens of thousands of dollars he's received from big box stores, the oil and gas lobby, and big pharma."
Ballots were mailed to voters Sept. 15 and are due at 8 p.m. Oct. 3. A majority of "yes" votes will oust Holvey.
If he's recalled, Democratic precinct committeepersons in Holvey's district — local party leaders who each represent 250 Democrats, some of whom are elected and some of whom are appointed by Lane County Democrats — would propose three to five replacements to the Lane County Commissioners to appoint his replacement.
What Holvey says he is hearing from voters
Holvey told a team of weekend canvassers that most people he talks to are "confused why a union would be doing this."
"They're trying to give merit to the union, because traditionally unions represent workers," he said before the canvassers headed out Saturday. "So it's important to pivot to that and just point out that all the other unions that are weighing in on this are against the recall and supporting me."
Holvey said that message has resonated with most of the voters he's talked to.
"The house of labor is really big, and so if you just have one union and all the others who are on the other side, it resonates that they're sort of an outlier."
Holvey said if he or his canvassers encounter a voter who's undecided, they direct them to paulholvey.com and ask them to compare his messaging against UFCW's.
"A lot of their communications don't seem to gel with them. No matter how they try to explain why they're doing it. It just doesn't seem like it resonates with voters in my district."
Campaign finance donations reported as of Sept. 18
In 2023, Holvey has received $249,793 in cash and $22,947 in non-monetary contributions, according to state campaign finance data.
The top Holvey donors were:
$30,000 from the Oregon Beverage PAC.
$11,000 from Oregon Trial Lawyers.
$10,000 from the Oregon Nurses PAC.
$10,000 from the Oregon PERS Retirees PAC (3674).
$10,000 from the Oregon Soft Drink PAC.
$10,000 from the Southwest Mountain States Regional Council of Carpenters.
Vote No On the Reckless Recall
The political action committee formed to oppose the recall has received $23,000 in cash donations, all from the Oregon Education Association.
RPH (Recall Paul Holvey)
The PAC formed to support the recall election against Holvey has received $75,561 in cash and $71,280 in non-monetary contributions. Of that, $75,000 of the cash and all the other contributions came from UFCW.
The remaining $561 was leftover money from the petition campaign that got the recall on the ballot.
The PAC formed to gather signatures for the recall received $100,937 in cash and $83,053 in non-monetary contributions. $100,000 of the cash and all the other contributions came from UFCW.
The remaining $937 came from RPH Circulator Registration, a PAC founded to support a petition to allow campaigns to train signature gatherers before filing a petition. This petition also is funded by UFCW.
This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Oregon Rep. Paul Holvey, UFCW make cases before recall election