Several surprises emerge on Oregon’s deadline day to seek elective office

Register Guard - March 9, 2016

The 2016 election in Oregon will feature contested races for every statewide post, three local politicians seeking major offices, and almost every Lane County incumbent state legislator opting to run again.

Thirty new candidates filed to run for office on Tuesday, the always-­dramatic filing deadline day.

Some were expected, including Gov. Kate Brown, who formally filed to finish out former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s term.

Other developments were more surprising. Two House Democrats in Portland area swing seats, Reps. Shemia Fagan and Joe Gallegos, announced that they wouldn’t seek re-election, leading to two last-minute Democratic replacements.

That means House Democrats will have to defend 10 vacant seats in November, as they try to maintain their 35-25 majority. By contrast, House Republicans — who saw big turnover in 2014 — will need to defend only two vacancies.

But the shock of the day came from Matt Wingard, a former state representative from Wilsonville, who gave up a GOP leadership position and then abandoned his re-election campaign in 2012 after being accused of pressuring a young aide into sex. Ninety minutes before the deadline Tuesday, Wingard announced that he was filing for his old seat.

There was only one late filer in Lane County legislative races: Joe Potwora, a branch manager at Eugene’s Guild Mortgage Co., filed as a Republican to challenge Rep. Phil Barnhart, a Democrat whose House District 11 includes part of southeast Eugene as well as Glenwood, Creswell, Marcola and Brownsville.

No late additions occurred in the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Democrat Ron Wyden, where Lane County Commissioner Faye Stewart is one of eight challengers. Nor did any latecomers file for the open secretary of state race, which features state Rep. Val Hoyle on the Democratic side and Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken on the Republican side.

The candidate fields are now set in other races of local significance.

In Oregon’s 4th Congressional District, Rep. Peter DeFazio, the Democrat incumbent, will again face a Republican challenge from Art Robinson, a chemist and three-time unsuccessful DeFazio challenger. Joseph McKinney, who owns a car-leasing business, has filed as a Democrat. Jo Rae Perkins, an office worker at Oregon State University and former U.S. Senate candidate, is running as a Republican.

In Oregon Senate District 5, which includes Coos Bay and coastal Lane County, incumbent Democrat Sen. Arnie Roblan has been challenged by Republican Dick Anderson, a retired financial services manager.

In House District 7, which includes much of southeast Lane County, incumbent GOP Rep. Cedric Hayden will be challenged by Democrat Vincent Portulano, a bus driver, and Fergus Mclean, a retired forester and Independent Party candidate.

In Eugene’s House District 8, incumbent Democrat Rep. Paul Holvey will face Republican Mary Tucker, a county parks volunteer.

In Springfield’s House District 12, incumbent Democrat Rep. John Lively will face Republican Robert Schwartz, a movement teacher.

In Eugene’s House District 13, incumbent Democrat Rep. Nancy Nathanson will face Republican Laura Cooper, a retired attorney who also ran for the seat in 2014.

House District 14, which includes parts of west Eugene and Junction City, is the only open local seat. Julie Fahey, a business consultant and former chairwoman of the Lane County Democratic Party, is facing off with James Manning, a former U.S. Army soldier and Eugene Water & Electric Board commissioner, in the Democratic primary in May. Aaron Cluette, an analyst with Schnitzer Steel, will vie with Kathy Lamberg, a tutor and former legislative candidate, for the GOP nod.

For the North Eugene Lane County Commissioner position, incumbent Pat Farr is being challenged by Tony McCown, a facilities maintenance manager and Lane Community College board member. South Eugene Commissioner Pete Sorenson did not get a challenger at the filing deadline.