Oregon political candidates ramp up campaigns

SALEM, Ore. – The deadline to file for this May’s primary election as a Republican or Democrat has come and gone. Now, we’re getting a better idea of who’s running for office this year in Oregon.

Oregon State Senate

State senator Jeff Golden, a Democrat is seeking reelection for the first time. First-term Medford Mayor Randy Sparacino will run against him as a Republican to represent much of Jackson County. The longtime MPD officer retired as chief just a couple of years ago. Talent sculptor Kevin Christman is also in the race running as a Republican.

State representatives in the Rogue Valley

Starting furthest south, Ashland State Rep. Pam Marsh is seeking another term in Salem. She’ll face a familiar foe in Republican Sandra Abercrombie, who she’s already beaten several times.

Medford Republican State Rep. Kim Wallan is being challenged by engineer and Democrat Dan Davis.

Grants Pass Republican Lily Morgan will likely face retired Air Force veteran and Democrat Brady Keister in the fall.

It doesn’t appear any of these current legislators will face any primary opposition in May.

Jackson County commissioner

Former state legislator and Medford Mayor Al Densmore is looking to get back into local politics, this time as a Jackson County commissioner. Densmore’s political career in Southern Oregon dates back to the 70s when he served several terms in the state House of Representatives. He went on to be Medford’s mayor and sat on the city council as well.

Last summer, Densmore joined several other current and former Jackson County leaders in calling on Jackson County commissioners to take an active leadership role and to speak out more about the COVID crisis in the county.

Densmore said he plans to run as an Independent against Jackson County Commissioner Colleen Roberts. The Republican was first elected to the board of commissioners in 2014.

Jackson County Commissioner Rick Dyer was also reelected to the board of commissioners in 2014. He’ll be challenged in the general election this fall by Ashland Democrat Denise Krauss. According to her filing, she’s a retired college professor who specialized in epidemiology.

Josephine County commissioner

The race for Josephine County commissioner is crowded. Take a look at all the candidates: Jordan DeHarty, Brian DeLaGrange, Mark Jones, Virgil Marler, Gary Richardson, Mark J. Seligman, Neigel Von Hruska, James Ward, and John West.

First-term Josephine County Commissioner Darin Fowler recently announced he won’t seek reelection after previously filing to do so. Now, a total of nine candidates will vie for the only open seat on the Josephine County Board of Commissioners.

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Representative Cliff Bentz will face some competition as he looks to be reelected to Washington for the first time. The Republican from Ontario, Oregon is facing a slew of challengers. On his side of the aisle, he’ll face Brett Cahill, Mark Cavener and Katherine Gallant.

In the Democratic primary, Adam Prine and Joe Yetter will seek to win their party’s endorsement.

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