Veteran Oregon Rep. Bob Duncan was soundly defeated in the Democratic primary Tuesday by Ron Wyden, a 31-year-old activist for the elderly who is making his first try for elective office.
Final unofficial returns showed Wyden with more than 60 percent of the vote, beating Duncan 53,352 to 35,101.
In another primary race, the victory of Rep. Al Ullman, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, over unknown Steve Anderson was narrower than expected. Ullman picked up about 55 percent of the vote and faces what is expected to be a hard November fight against Republican Denny Smith.
Wyden will face an unknown Republican, Darrell Conger, who was unopposed in the heavily Democratic district.
Duncan, 59, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, has represented Oregon's 3rd Congressional District for six years. The district includes most of Portland and the east side suburbs in Multnomah County. Duncan earlier represented a southern Oregon congressional district for two terms in the '60s, leaving the House in 1965 after an unsuccessful try for the Senate.
Wyden, who helped organize the state's Gray Panthers organization, has lobbied at the Oregon legislature for several years for programs to aid the elderly. His campaign made use of several hundred elderly volunteers.
Wyden called his victory a "triumph of grass roots politics."
"When you have a 70-year-old woman coming to your door and saying it's time for a change, it's hard to say 'no'," he said.
Wyden began full-time campaigning six months ago, and his campaign was bolstered by some important endorsements from unions, including the major state teachers' organization. Some labor leaders were unhappy with Duncan's votes against a federal Department of Education and deregulation of the trucking industry and the congressman's support of oil deregulation. In the end, the candidates ended up splitting major union endorsements.
Wyden campaigned aggressively, accusing Duncan of ignoring issues of interest to his largely urban constituency while voting in favor of increased government spending. Duncan based his reelection campaign on his record and seniority in Congress. Both campaigns were well-financed by Oregon standards, with Duncan reporting spending $120,000 and Wyden about $100,000.
In Portland, Mayor Connie McCready was defeated in her bid to remain in office by city commissioner Frank Ivancie. McCready, who had been a city commissioner, was appointed mayor when Neil Goldschmidt resigned to become U.S. secretary of transportation.