Chriestenson running for House District 50; Beckers seeks nomination for House District 49

The deadline for filing for the May 20 primary election has come and long since gone, but that isn't stopping two Republican long-shot candidates who have emerged as write-in candidates for House District 50 and House District 49, both in East Multnomah County.

Dan ChriestensonThe write-in candidates are Dan Chriestenson, who is seeking the nomination for House District 50 serving Gresham residents, and Bill Beckers, who is seeking the GOP nomination in House District 49, which covers Troutdale, Fairview, Wood Village and a portion of Gresham.

As of the March 13 filing deadline, only incumbent Rep. Chris Gorsek, a Democrat, had filed for the District 49 election.

And only Carla Piluso and Beatrice Cochran had filed for the May primary seeking the Democratic nomination and an opportunity to replace Rep. Greg Matthews, who decided against running for reelection.

In both cases, it appeared Democrats would face no opposition on their way to joining the Oregon House of Representatives. That is, until Tuesday, May 6, when Chriestenson and Beckers announced their write-in campaigns.

“After much prayer and consideration, I have agreed to be the write-in candidate for the Republican nomination to represent the citizens of Oregon’s House District 50 in east Multnomah County,” Chriestenson said in a press release. “This is made not in opposition to anyone, but in favor of the city and district I’ve served for the past five years as an elected member of the Gresham-Barlow School District’s Board of Education.”

Chriestenson describes himself as a"recovering pastor and musician" who has spent the past 19 years as a business development manager for an East County auto dealership.

As a young adult, Chriestenson was a traveling musician and recording artist who played at churches, conventions and county fairs. He also served as music director at several churches in the Seattle area before moving to Oregon in 1995.

Interestingly, Chriestenson serves on the Gresham-Barlow School Board alongside Piluso, who is seeking the Democratic nomination.

Beckers, a longtime Rockwood-area resident, said, “I would be honored to receive the Republican Party nomination for House District 49 as a write-in candidate. Once I secure the nomination, I plan to run a spirited campaign for the November general election.”

Beckers’ occupational background includes a stint as a radio operator in the U.S. Navy, where he was stationed aboard the USS Bennington prior to his honorable discharge in 1962.

After moving to Oregon in 1969, Beckers spent most of his career as an independent insurance agent. He also worked at the Reynolds School District for 10 years as a bus driver for special needs students.

Throughout the past 20 years, Beckers has been involved in a number of community activities. He was involved with the Rockwood Merchants Association, and has volunteered as a softball umpire and volleyball referee for local schools.

Because Chriestenson and Beckers did not file for the May 20 primary election, their names do not appear on the ballot for District 49 and District 50 elections. Republican voters will need to write in their names on their ballots.

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