Write-in effort means Moore will face Noble in fall election
Although he didn't originally seek the nomination, Democrat Ken Moore will be on the ballot come November versus incumbent Republican Ron Noble for the House District 24 seat.
The turn of events came about when Noble sent a mailer to residents of House District 24, which includes the northern half of Yamhill County, except Newberg, and a small part of Washington County.
The mailer encouraged Democrats to write-in Noble as their nominee, which prompted the Yamhill County Democrats organization to mobilize with the help of Progressive Yamhill, formerly Action Together Oregon: Yamhill Valley.
"The incumbent's mailer to Democrats, asking them to write-in his name for the Democratic nomination, motivated the Yamhill County Democrats to ask me if they could mount a write-in campaign using my name," Moore said in an email. "I said yes."
Yamhill County Democrats chairwoman Stephanie Findley affirmed in an email Moore's statement, adding "When Yamhill County Democrats learned of the Rep. Noble mailer encouraging Democrats to write in his name, YCD mobilized a write in effort with the agreement of Ken Moore. YCD used social media, word of mouth and phone banking to encourage Democrats to write in Ken Moore for the HD24 nomination."
Findley said it was important to mount a write-in campaign on Moore's behalf because Noble's mailer didn't identify his party affiliation and because he believes he deserves the Democratic nomination.
"Rep. Noble's voting record since taking office has not been reflective of Democrats' values and, simply, falls along party lines," Findley said. "Noble recently voted against House Bill 4145 to close loopholes for gun safety in regard to domestic abusers and stalkers.
"Noble does not deserve the Democratic nomination based on his legislative decisions and YCD felt it imperative that Noble not be allowed to perpetuate the narrative that he has bi-partisan support when voting against gun control measures and for anti-abortion legislation. Democrats deserve to be represented by candidates that support our platform."
Moore's name will appear on the general election ballot because write-ins for Moore exceeded that of any other candidate, including Noble. Yamhill County Clerk Brian Van Bergen said when the tally is completed he expects Moore to receive about 270 write-in votes from Democrats in Yamhill County. Noble is expected to receive about 180 votes from Democrats in the county, Van Bergen added in an email.
In an interesting tenet of Oregon elections law, had Noble received more write-in votes than Moore he could also affix the party name "Democrat" listed after "Republican" on ballots in November, Van Bergen said. He added that it wasn't unusual for candidates to seek nominations from more than one party.
"For several years now Oregon has allowed candidates to receive the nomination from multiple parties," Van Bergen said, citing a 2016 ballot where 1st District Rep. Suzanne Bonamici received both the Democratic and Republican nomination in her bid for Congress.
Folks familiar with politics in Yamhill County will recognize that this isn't Moore's first candidacy for elected office. He ran against Noble's predecessor for the HD 24 spot, Jim Weidner, in 2014, then against Noble himself in 2016. The electrical engineer, handyman and farmer has been a planning commissioner in the town of Yamhill, Scoutmaster, president of Gallery Theater in McMinnville, a Sunday school teacher and hosts a show on public access television called "Local Matters" as well.
Moore said that now that he has earned a place on the general election ballot he has begun a campaign that will contrast with Noble's "anti-Democratic values, including sponsorship of anti-abortion bills, voting against access to affordable health care and voting against taking guns out of the hands of convicted stalkers and domestic abusers."
"I am grateful that this write-in win gives me the chance to champion the Democratic values of opportunity, equity and justice for 'We the People," he said.
Findley said her organization will be on hand to help Moore in his candidacy.
"Yamhill County Democrats are committed to candidates and campaigns that uphold our values and beliefs," she said. "Ken Moore has been a champion for Democratic values for a long time and we are excited to support him."