Hillsboro Rep. Vial's challenger steps down from race
Ryan Spiker, a Wilsonville Democrat running against Scholls Republican Rich Vial to represent House District 26 in the Oregon Legislature announced this week that he's stepping down from his campaign.
House District 26 represents a large swath of Washington and Clackamas County, stretching from southern Hillsboro south to Sherwood and Wilsonville.
Spiker ran unopposed for the democratic nomination in May, hoping to unseat Vial in November. Vial has served in the Oregon House since 2016.
On Monday, June 18, Spiker — a healthcare professional and veteran — posted a note to supporters on his Facebook page, saying he was dropping out of the race due to health reasons.
"Five years ago when I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic, I told myself I wouldn't let this disease stop me from living my dreams and pursuing all of the goals I had set for myself," Spiker wrote. "Public service has been a lifelong dream of mine and I am honored that I had the support of so many people when I made the plunge in to the race for House District 26. But the road to the Legislature ends here for me. Recently I got some news that the stress that the race has put on me has had a severe impact on my ability to control my diabetes and I had to make the decision that focusing on my health was the most important thing for me to do at this point."
Spiker's departure leaves currently Vial running unopposed for the seat, but FuturePAC, the fundraising arm of the Oregon House Democrats, said that democrats in Washington and Clackamas counties will "have an opportunity to replace Spiker on the ballot" in November.
In a statement released to the media, Spiker said access to affordable health care remains an important issue in the race. Vial voted against a plan that could have made affordable health care a right of every Oregonian.
That bill passed in the House but died in the Senate earlier this year.
"My own experience living with Type I Diabetes and knowing how critical having access to quality, affordable health care is for managing this condition was part of the reason I stepped up to challenge Rep. Richard Vial for this seat," Spiker said. "While I may be stepping back to focus on my own health for the short term, I will never stop being an advocate for quality health care for every Oregonian. And I urge Rep. Vial to rethink his position on health care access and to do more to put people ahead of corporate profits."
Vial, who serves in the House Interim Committee on Health Care and the Universal Access to Healthcare Workgroup, has said he believes the U.S. will eventually adopt universal health care nationwide, but said there were too many questions left unanswered to vote for the Oregon bill earlier this year
"I don't think we are ready, as a population, to say categorically that health care for everybody is a right until we really understand what basic health care would be," he told Pamplin Media Group on Thursday. "That's a complex question and we need to know how we would fund it and what obligations we have of each other if we say we're all in this together. …Every other industrialized nation in the world has it, but the devil's in the details and we can't ignore those details."
Vial told Pamplin Media Group he spoke with Spiker about his decision to leave the race, saying the Wilsonville Democrat was "genuinely interested" in public service.
"I hope this doesn't deter him from serving in the long run," Vial said.
By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
Visit Hillsboro Tribune on Facebook and Twitter
Follow Geoff at @ReporterGeoff
Subscribe to our E-News and get the week's top stories in your inbox