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FG councilor wont run again; county, state politicians test waters

It’s never too early to plan your political path — especially if planning is part of your governmental duty. Forest Grove Planning Commission Chair Tom Beck is doing just that more than a year before Election 2014.

Beck plans to step down from his current seat and run for the Forest Grove City Council to replace Camille Miller, who plans to step down from her councilor position at the end of her term next November.

By that time, Miller said, she will have spent 21 years in service to Forest Grove through either a board, commission or the council.

“It’s time for someone else,” she said.

At the county level, 20/20 Insight Polling recently conducted a poll that gauges the strength of various potential candidates for Chair of the Board of Washington County Commissioners, a position currently held by Andy Duyck. In addition to Duyck, the poll tested people’s opinions of fellow County Commissioner Dick Schouten, state Reps. Ben Unger (D-Hillsboro) and Tobias Read (D-Beaverton), and former state Rep. David Edwards (D-Hillsboro).

Unger confirmed he has been approached about the seat but said he hasn’t made any decisions yet.

Even longtime, effective, well-regarded Sen. Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro) may be vulnerable this election cycle.

“I just got a push poll last week on this,” said James Moore, a professor of politics at Pacific University.

A “push poll” experiments with slanting its questions to see how people respond to different pieces of information.

But the poll testing voter attitudes about Starr, Unger and Edwards isn’t the only sign that Starr may be vulnerable.

“The main evidence is that Washington County is getting bluer and bluer, and Starr is basically the last piece of red,” Moore said.

He notes that Rep. Joe Gallegos (D-Hillsboro) — whose House district is located within Starr’s Senate district — won a seat that “ought to have gone to the Republicans” last election, due to high turnout by Democrats.

On the other hand, Moore said, voter turnout tends to drop for Democrats in off-presidential election years, while it stays relatively unchanged for Republicans.

Either way, it’s not too early to start planning for November 2014, he said. “If you’re going to run a major campaign, you’ll have to start raising money for it probably about the middle of this month or by November.”

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