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May primary will feature a full slate of candidates

Voters will determine a U.S. Senate race as well as several state and county offices


Crook County voters can once again expect a full ballot as multiple offices are open for election in the upcoming May primary.

Local office vacancies include the county assessor, clerk, sheriff, and commissioner. So far, incumbent Seth Crawford has filed to run for commissioner (position 2), and Sheriff Jim Hensley is seeking re-election. Cheryl Seely has filed for clerk and so far no candidates have emerged for the assessor position.

Crook County Clerk Dee Berman, who is responsible for all local elections, has found that candidate filings tend to come slowly at first, then pick up momentum as media outlets report open offices.

"I think when it is an actual story, that is when people start getting interested," she said. Berman added that people might file more readily if they are dissatisfied with the incumbent.

To file for the commissioner or clerk positions, a candidate must be at least 18 years old, a registered voter, and a county resident for at least one year. Requirements are stricter for assessor and sheriff.

To run for assessor, a candidate must be a registered appraiser or appraiser trainee, and have two years accounting experience or two years employment in the assessor’s office. Candidates must also be certified by the Oregon Department of Revenue.

Sheriff candidates must have certification by the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Trainings, and proof of that certification must be furnished to the county clerk 61 days prior to the election (March 21).

In the May primary, the county commissioner race will remain partisan. However, Crook County voters will decide if the county court positions will remain partisan going forward.

“That will be on the May ballot,” Berman said. “If that passes, it will be effective for the November election.”

So far no other local ballot measures have emerged.

At the state level, there are vacancies for multiple nonpartisan judicial positions. The 22nd District Circuit Court, representing Crook and Jefferson counties, has openings for judge positions 3 and 4. So far, Gary Williams is the lone candidate for position 3 and none have filed for position 4. Henry C. Breithaupt filed for Oregon Tax Court Judge and thus far has no competitors.

The Oregon Court of Appeals has openings for positions 1, 4, 11, 12, and 13. So far, the only candidates who have filed are Timothy Sercombe for position 4, and Doug Tookey for position 13.

Voters will determine two vacancies on the Oregon Supreme Court. At this point, Thomas A. Balmer has filed for judge position 1, while Martha L. Walters is running for position 7.

The remaining nonpartisan office on the Crook County ballot will be the Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) commissioner, and so far, nobody has filed.

Republican Mike McLane, the incumbent Representative for Oregon House District 55, has filed for re-election, but so far faces no competition. Democratic Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has announced plans to run for another term, but has yet to file. However, Republicans Dennis Richardson and Bruce A. Cuff have already thrown their hat in the ring.

At the federal level, Republican Greg Walden has not yet filed for another term as Representative of Oregons Second Congressional District, but assuming he does, he already has a potential opponent in Democrat C.F. (Frank) Vulliet, who is running for the position.

Like Walden, Democrat Jeff Merkley has yet to file for another Senate term. However, the race for his seat is filling early with Democrat Pavel Goberman, and Republicans Mark Callahan and Jo Rae Perkins having already filed.

So far, only one state ballot measures has emerged, but there could be more in the coming weeks.

“We expect a number of measures,” said Tony Green, spokesman for Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, “but none have yet qualified except the referendum on the bill allowing temporary driver's licenses for undocumented citizens.”

The last day to file for the May primary is March 11. The election will take place on May 20.



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