Around The County

They’re Lining Up for Clackamas 2020 Elections

By Peter Toll

Our primary elections are not until May, 2020, but the troops are amassing their forces in hopes of election, unseating incumbents, and otherwise bringing some action to the local side of the ballot.

Before then, in November of this year, several special elections will occur in Happy Valley, West Linn, and West Linn-Wilsonville Schools, among others.  Too, Metro, which covers about half our county, has an election to extend its natural resources/park bond, a proposal which will extend but not increase bond revenues.  Little controversy is expected in this election.

At the federal level:

Both of Clackamas County’s incumbent Democratic Members of Congress, Earl Blumenauer in the 3rd District and Kurt Schrader of the 5th District, have primary opponents.  

Blumenauer is being challenged by Albert Lee, of Portland, a newcomer to the political scene, while Schrader has drawn Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba.  Lee is a very long shot but Gamba, who has a serious following, will put up more of a fight.  Raising money will be the key issue for both challengers.

At the county level:

County Chair Jim Bernard has filed for re-election.  And former legislator Tootie Smith, who lost her own commission re-election bid four years ago, has filed against him.  This will be a donnybrook.

Commissioners Ken Humberston and Martha Schrader are also running for re-election.  Humberston’s opponent is Breeauna Sagdal, a Republican p.r. operative.  Like Bernard’s opponent, she lists a Molalla address as her home base.  No opponent for Ms. Schrader yet.

Also up this year are the District Attorney and Sheriff’s positions.  DA John Foote has announced he is not seeking re-election and is supporting his Chief Deputy, John Wentworth, for the job.  Wentworth grew up in the county and has been on the DA’s staff for 20 years.  Sheriff Craig Roberts has not made his intentions known.  No one has filed there.

On other fronts, Milwaukie’s State Rep., Karin Power, is the new chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environment, a particularly challenging task in the current political world.  And 

Rep. Janelle Bynum, of Happy Valley, is working with a legislative team gathering information on how Oregonians feel about getting big money out of politics.

Two losers are tackling new challenges.  Former GOP State Rep. Julie Parrish (defeated by Rachel Prusak last year) in that West Linn-based election, has said she’s going to take classes at Willamette University’s law school.  Parrish is not pulling her horns in, one can imagine. She is ambitious and has a p.r. firm involved in campaign consulting.

And another loser, former GOP Rep. Rich Vial, defeated by Courtney Neron, has landed a job as Deputy to the Secretary of State in Salem.  A long-time but lowly regarded Wilsonville Republican, Larry McDonald, has filed on the Republican side against Neron for 2020.

Also worth mentioning:

One of our county’s very few Republican legislators, Christine Drazan, of Canby, was just elected Minority Leader by her 22-member caucus in Salem.  

She is the first freshman legislator to attain that level of leadership since Bill Bradbury became  Senate Majority Leader in his first Senate term in 1986.  Her first public pledge is to elect more Republicans. Likely targets include our Democratic freshmen Nearon, Prusak, and Anna Williams, of Hood River. 

A former staffer in the Republican leadership in the House, she and another person wanted the job.  Given the GOP’s terrible results last year, incumbent Carl Wilson, of Grants Pass, had to go. By the way, leadership positions like hers garner double pay.  For her that’s an annual salary of $48,432. Her work load will double.

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