Tuesday, March 8th was the deadline for legislative candidates to file for the 2016 elections. A review of the filings, indicates that the 2017 session will include a high degree of turnover in the Oregon House and a relatively static Senate.
House Turnover: A total of 14 representatives will be retiring or seeking higher office. While 23% turnover is fairly typical from session to session, most notable is the departure of ten Democrats, including four who come from potential “swing” districts that have elected Republicans at some time in the past three election cycles. While redistricting has changed the party composition of these districts, the open-seat races below involve blue districts that could switch to red:
- District 22 (Salem, Woodburn, Gervais, Brooks), currently held by Betty Komp (D). Republican Marion County Commissioner and former state legislator Patty Milne will face Democrat Woodburn City Councilmember Teresa Leon, who also works for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
- District 30 (Hillsboro, North Plains), currently held by Joe Gallegos (D) who announced his retirement on filing day. The Republican candidate is Dan Mason, who ran unsuccessfully for both this district in 2014 and for House District 34 (Beaverton) in 2012. He is currently a community manager with Prime Group, a residential real estate firm. Democrat contender Janeen Sollman is a Hillsboro school board member.
- District 40 (Gladstone, Johnson City), currently held by Brent Barton (D). The Republican Candidate is Evon Tekorius, an Oregon City School Board member and business manager with a fire-investigation firm she started with her husband in 2003. Three Democrats are vying for the seat in the May primary, including Mark Meek, a realtor and Air Force veteran who serves on the Clackamas County Planning Commission; Terry Gibson, a Marylhurst adjunct instructor who serves on the Oak Lodge Sanitary District and Schoolyard Farms Board; and attorney and Army veteran Steven Cade, whose practice involves civil rights and disability claims.
- District 51 (SE Portland, Clackamas, Damascus, Boring, Estacada), currently held by Shemia Fagan (D) who announced her retirement as the filing deadline neared. The Republican candidate is Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a long time Happy Valley City Council member who is currently serving as Mayor of Happy Valley. Two Democrats will be vying against each other in the May primary: Janelle Bynum, a Happy Valley McDonald’s franchisee supported by Fagan; and Randy Shannon, a Damascus City Councilor.
Other races to watch in the Oregon House include:
- District 20 (West Salem, Monmouth, Independence), where first-term Democrat Paul Evans is seeking to hold on to a seat the Democrats wrested from Republican hands in the 2014 election. Evans will face Republican Laura Morett, whose participation in the CBS series Survivor is highlighted in her campaign biography.
- District 26 (Wilsonville, Sherwood, Gaston), a seat being vacated by Republican John Davis, that includes three Republicans and two Democrats vying against each other in the May primary. Republican candidates include John Boylston, Richard Vial, and embattled former Republican legislator Matt Wingard.
Senate Races: Fifteen of the 30 seats in the Senate are up for re-election in 2016, including seven seats currently held by Republicans and eight seats held by Democrats. Three seats are open due to Senators choosing to retire, but only one of the open seats is contested in the May primary, and all three of the seats are currently uncontested in the November general election. Open Senate seats include:
- District 21 (Milwaukee, Portland), a seat being vacated by Diane Rosenbaum (D). Three Democrats are vying in the primary to succeed Rosenbaum, including Rep. Kathleen Taylor, OSU alumna Kathleen O‘Brien, and John Sweeney.
- District 22 (NE Portland), where Lew Frederick (D) faces no primary or general election opponents to succeed Sen. Chip Shields (D) who is retiring.
- District 28 (Klamath Falls), where Doug Whitsett’s (R) last minute withdrawal from the race enabled a concurrent last-minute filing by Dennis Linthicum, a Klamath County Commissioner to run unopposed in the primary and general election contests. Whitsett’s decision came as a surprise to Rep. Mike McLane (R) who could have filed for that seat.
For a review of the last minute filing process see and the reactions it has created, check the Bend Bulletin.