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The Oregon Republican Party is alive and rarin' to kick some Democrat butts out of office this November. Extremely disappointed when the "red wave" that swept the rest of the country in 2014 crashed against the Cascades, Oregon and Marion County Republicans redoubled their efforts to save the state from the black hole of Democrat rule. A raucous primary season produced one of the strongest slates of candidates for statewide and legislative offices in a long time. Acquaint yourself with our candidates, volunteer for your favorites, and vote for them all this November.
To let Sen. Ron Wyden retire to his adopted state of New York — now that his children are enrolled in a private school in NYC where his wife lives and works and having sold his SW Portland residence in 2011 — is a top priority for Oregon Republicans this fall.
Mark Callahan has close ties to Marion County even though he now lives east of Portland in Multnomah County. Those ties showed in the primary results: He garnered 38.24% of the Republican vote statewide while polling 40.33% in Marion County. He is not ashamed of his Christian faith and boldly proclaims his belief that serving in the Senate is as much a calling as is any type of ministry. He is passionate about returning to a constitutionally limited government, and driven to restore our liberty lost after a century of Progressive tyranny. He also firmly holds to the principle of limiting one's time of public service, promising not to become another D.C. casualty. "We need new voices in Washington D.C. who will fight for our future and put an end to the government encroachment in our lives."
When newly re-elected Gov. Kitzhaber suddenly resigned in February 2015, he triggered a provision in the state constitution that requires a special election at the time of the next general election to determine who will complete the final two years of the term. Even though Kate Brown has advantages as the incumbent with positive polls, she is vulnerable.
Marion County Republican Dr. Bud Pierce was the first to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Oregon Governor and soundly defeated all rivals, receiving 47.66% of the Republican vote statewide with a whopping 63.27% in Marion County. He is a Salem oncologist in private practice. He serves on the faculty and staff of Oregon Health Sciences University. Dr. Pierce was president of the Oregon Medical Association 2011-2013 and received the Association's Doctor Citizen of the Year award in 2014. Dr. Pierce believes Oregon faces a crisis in leadership. All too often we are left to choose from among those "who have little or no real experience in leadership in their private lives, but rather have made their political lives the essence of their existence."
Jeanne Adkins became "Interim" when she declared that she would not seek election to the office. With no heir-apparent, Republicans have put up the best candidate to vie for this open seat against hyper-partisan Brad Avakian. Oregon's Secretary of State is the chief elections officer as well as the one responsible to conduct audits of all state agencies. And, of course, the Secretary is second in line to the governor. Additionally the Secretary heads the Corporations Division, is one of three members of the State Land Board and is the keeper of the state's archives. And did we mention that the Secretary is next in line to the governor?
Dennis Richardson got his political start on the Central Point City Council in 2000. A single term got him elected to the state House of Representatives, where he served six terms. In the crucial 2011 session he served as a House co-chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee. Almost single-handedly he delivered the State out of a $3.5 billion hole and left the State with the largest-ever reserve ending-fund balance in State history. As Secretary, he plans to aggressively pursue financial as well as performance audits of State agencies and projects along with asserting the authority of the office in the other areas of responsibility.
When State Treasurer Ted Wheeler decided that being Mayor of Portland would be a promotion, his office came up for grabs. Like the Sec State race above, there is no heir-apparent. Unlike above, there only one Democrat and one Republican filed to run for the office. Could it be a perceived special qualification hinders interest? After all, Ted Wheeler had no such special qualification and the Democrat contender lists his occupation as "footwear developer".
Just so you know, though, Jeff Gudman is eminently qualified, having a strong background in all aspects of the role as the state's Chief Financial Officer. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's (i.e. Ivy League) Wharton School of Business in 1977 with an MBA in Finance and Management. His work experience includes stints as a financial analyst for Hyster Corp. and treasurer for several subsidiaries of NW Natural. He is currently serving his second term on the Lake Oswego City Council while earning a living as a private investor. In his spare time he serves as treasurer for the Legacy Emmanuel Foundation.
Marion County Republican Daniel Zene Crowe surprised everyone, especially the Oregon Republican Party, when he filed at the last minute. Daniel resides in Mt. Angel with his wife and two late-teen children. He received an appointment to West Point out of high school. He served with the Army Rangers and was a paratrooper. Upon rising to the rank of Captain, the Army sent him to the University of Washington School of Law. After graduation he joined the Judge Advocate General corps. He eventually served as a high-level staff attorney at U.S. European Command in Germany. He currently works with the Metro (Portland) Public Defender's office.
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Try as one might, it is difficult to figure out Oregon's 5th Congressional District. So much seems to favor Republicans yet time after time district voters send a Democrat incumbent back to D.C. Maybe it's just to keep one out of our hair. The incumbent is seeking his fifth term in Congress. It will be tough sledding. 48% of District voters believe it is time for someone new while 34% are willing to re-elect him.
Marion County Republican Colm Willis, a Stayton attorney, has been the most successful candidate so far. He has received the endorsements of Oregon Right to Life and Oregon Firearms Federation. Naturally, having been the political director for ORTL, the bigger story would have been that ORTL endorsed someone else. In February, he received endorsements from three State Representatives in the District: Marion County Republicans Rep. Jodi Hack, Rep. Mike Nearman, and Rep. Bill Post. These, along with other legislators from around the state will also advise him on legislative matters. In May he crushed a crowded field, receiving 57.5% of the Republican vote district-wide (60% in Marion County), better than three times that of his closest rival.
This year Republicans appear to be in a strong position to take back seats in the House of Representatives. Marion County Republicans are ready to do their part. Both of the Marion County Republican senators facing re-election this year appear to be safe as do eight of the nine Marion County Republican representatives. You can read about all of these members here on our site where you can find newsletters, and information on other Marion County Republican servants.
Marion County Republican Sen. Fred Girod seeks his third four-year term in the State Senate. He will face Democrat Rich Harisay in November. Mr. Harisay has in the past challenged Rep. Sherrie Sprenger in HD 17. Unlikely to be known much in the Marion and Clackamas County portions of the Senate District contained in HD 18, Mr. Harisay cannot reasonably hope to knock off a popular senator who is doing an excellent job representing the interests of rural Linn, Marion, and Clackamas counties. The Independent Party of Oregon did not field a candidate in this race.
Marion County (and Polk County) Republican Sen. Brian Boquist also seeks his third term in the Oregon Senate. He will face Democrat Ross Swartzendruber in November. Mr. Swartzendruber garnered only 33% of the vote in 2012 when he challenged Marion County Republican Rep. Jim Thompson in HD 23. As with Mr. Harisay above, with the Senate District including a large portion of Yamhill County in HD 24, there is little chance he will celebrate any result different from 2012. The Independent Party of Oregon did not field a candidate in this race.
Marion County (and Linn County) Republican Rep. Sherrie Sprenger ostensibly began her fifth term following the May primary. No Democrat or member of the Independent Party of Oregon filed for the seat. Having served on the Lebanon School board and with the Lebanon High School Warriors among her constituents, she is leading the fight against political correctness for school mascots. While it is possible that someone could successfully get on the ballot or one of the minor political parties could decide to challenge her on principle, there is every reason to believe that saner heads will prevail, taking their cue from the Democrats and IPO.
Marion County Republican Rep. Vic Gilliam is seeking his sixth term (he was appointed in January 2007, before the legislative session began) despite fighting a life-and-death battle with ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's Disease. He will face Tom Kane of Clackamas County in November. In a letter to constituents, Rep. Gilliam wrote, "I still marvel as I walk (perhaps not as smoothly now) through the rotunda of our state Capitol to our district office. But if symptoms should make it too difficult to continue, I will leave with the greatest love for this state and our district and celebrate our optimism for the future."
Marion County Republican Rep. Jodi Hack wants to return to the Capitol. Why is anyone's guess, especially after such a demoralizing first term in the minority. When the Kitzhaber resignation revealed a glaring shortcoming in our state constitution, Rep. Hack introduced a bill to amend the Oregon Constitution to allow for and establish the process for impeachment. It easily passed the House but died in the Senate despite public pressure on the Senate President. She will face Democrat Larry Trott in November.
Laura Morett is a "Survivor". No, really, she has appeared twice on the CBS contest program set in tropical wilderness locations around the world. She used the primary season to introduce herself and engage with voters in the district that reaches from South and West Salem out to Independence and Monmouth. She and volunteers are doing all the old-fashioned — and new — campaign work to connect with voters and encourage them to let the incumbent go home after his one term. Laura's vivacious leadership, concern for people, determined work ethic, and common-sense approach are her hallmarks.
Marion County Republican Doug Rodgers decided that he needed to do more to serve his community. He had already served a portion of a term on the Salem-Keizer Area Transit District Board of Directors, owned and operated a restaurant, and had served in the USAF Civil Air Patrol as a 2nd Lieutenant. So he stepped up to challenge a relatively popular incumbent Representative. The good thing is that he doesn't back down from a challenge. Although he has only a limited amount of government experience that some may believe is necessary, he shows he does his homework and will answer tough (if somewhat foolish) questions.
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Marion County Republican Patti Milne simply cannot get out of the political arena for any length of time. In 2014, after barely stepping down from the Marion County Board of Commissioners, she mounted a campaign for the State Senate seat of Senate President Peter Courtney. When she lost, no one would have blamed her had she decided to completely call it quits. But no, when Rep. Betty Komp announced that she would not seek re-election this year, guess where all eyes turned? Patti is a great fit for the district that stretches from NE Salem up I-5 and Hwy 99E to Woodburn. She has served it before. She will face political newcomer Teresa Alonso Leon. Welcome back to the Capitol, Patti.
Marion County (and Polk County) Republican Rep. Mike Nearman just seems unable to shake his detractors. In 2014 District Republicans overwhelmingly selected relative newcomer Mike Nearman to be their candidate by a 63%-37% margin. Nothing close there. Yet the losing incumbent mounted a write-in campaign. This year Rep. Nearman must face him down again as the Independent Party candidate. He makes it clear that he firmly holds to the principles of small, limited government, summing it up thus: "What makes our country great is the great freedoms we enjoy. It seems that more and more, our governments at all levels want to deny us freedom, tax us more, and spend excessively. I choose to stand for freedom for all the citizens of Oregon." Nothing vague there.
Marion County Republican Rep. Bill Post, along with the rest of the Republican freshman class of the 78th Legislative Assembly from Marion County, faced the daunting challenge of overcoming a super-majority held by the House Democrats. Talk about a trial by fire. It is to their credit that they want to return. There is one catch, however: this time they want to be in the majority. Rep. Post will face Newberg Democrat Sharon Freeman in November; she has yet to mount something resembling a campaign. Meanwhile, "The Right Choice" signs reminding District residents about (Rep.) Bill Post are up all around the District.
While the three Marion County Commissioner positions are still partisan and thus require a primary vote to determine candidates for a November election, the other elective positions are non-partisan. Even though the incumbent Marion County Clerk won re-election with a 72% majority, his name apparently will be on the ballot this November. Perhaps he wishes to give us another opportunity to write in someone else's name.
Marion County Republican Commissioner Sam Brentano drew no opponent from any party this cycle so it is pretty safe to say that he has begun his fourth term upon receiving the nomination in the Republican primary on 17 May even though officially he will not be declared elected until the November election. While another individual could be nominated by a party other than the Democrat or Independent parties later this summer, or someone from either of those parties could mount a write-in campaign — such a campaign would not be sanctioned by the party, however, meaning no party label — history shows that such efforts are not successful. You can read more about Commissioner Brentano (as well as the other two) in our section on the Marion County Commission.