Key Role for Voters in May Primary

This year’s May 15 primary is shaping up to be very interesting in Clackamas County. Looking at some key races where voters will decide the standard bearer:

House District 18 has eight precincts in southern Clackamas County and a spanking new Republican appointee in the seat. Rick Lewis, former Silverton police chief and later mayor, is challenged by Democrats Doug Culver and Barry Shapiro, both of Silverton. Lewis is seen as lackluster. Possible upset.

HD26 has four precincts in Wilsonville, and that’s where Democrat Ryan Spiker lives. Incumbent Republican Richard Vial, a first-termer, has a GOP primary challenger, too, in the district that stretches north to King City and west to Hillsboro. Registration changes have made 26 a Democratic district now, but Spiker has work to do.

HD35, home of Democrat incumbent Margaret Doherty, has one Clackamas County precinct — near the Mormon Temple in western Lake Oswego. Her Republican challenger will revel unopposed in the primary but fall to her campaign juggernaut in November.

HD37 has given us Republican Julie Parrish for too long. Rachel Prusak, a nurse practitioner in West Linn, is her Democratic challenger. And it is a challenge. Despite her incompetence and lack of support from her own caucus, Parrish keeps hanging on. Maybe her time’s up this year.

HD38, Lake Oswego and parts of southwest Multnomah County, has a new appointee, Democrat Andrea Salinas. She didn’t draw an opponent in her first election. Whew!

HD39 is wide open as incumbent Republican Bill Kennemer says he’s had enough. Four Republicans from Canby to Damascus want the spot. Only one Democrat came forward, Elizabeth Graser-Lindsey, of Beavercreek. That is a tough race for her, though the Oregon City side should be strong.

HD40‘s Representative Mark Meek is the Democrat in his first term. The primary has given him a Republican and an Independent. Meek’s district comprising Gladstone, Jennings Lodge and parts of Oregon City, is strong, and so is he at re-election possibilities.

From left, HD 40 Co-District Leader Bill Street, candidates Christine Lewis (Metro Council), Joe Buck (Metro Council), Peter Wright (Congress), Sherry Healy (County Clerk), Pamela White (County Clerk), Louise Lopes (County Commissioner), Lynn Peterson (Metro Chair), Elizabeth Grasley-Lindsey (HD 39), Sonya Fischer (County Commissioner), Charles Gallia (SD 20), Mark Meek (HD 40), HD 40 Co-District Leader Faith Leith, Shane O’Brian for Congressman Kurt Schrader.

HD41, Milwaukie and Oak Grove, will see incumbent Democrat Karin Power in Salem next term. An environmental attorney, she has not drawn an opponent this year.

HD48 is a slightly different story, but only slightly. The district, which covers much of unincorporated western Clackamas County and eastern Portland, will keep Democrat Jeff Reardon in office while repudiating his challenger Republican Sonny Yellott for the fourth time.

HD51 will see first-term Democrat Janelle Bynum getting another serious challenge from Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer, mayor of Happy Valley in the heart of the district. Bynum’s kick-off April 26 will launch the rematch. Bynum won 50.7 percent of the vote in 2016. This one could be even tighter.

HD52 has a Republican newcomer appointee defending Mark Johnson’s former position against a solid Democrat. She is Anna Williams, of Hood River. If Clackamas County can deliver this time, then Williams should be the new state rep covering Hood River to Gresham through Sandy and much of rural east Clackamas County.

Over in the Oregon Senate there are two important primaries where Democrats are trying to get the nod so they can go after Republican incumbents.

Senate District 13 sprawls from Wilsonville to Hillsboro, north to King City and south to Keizer. Paul Diller, of Wilsonville, is one of the Democrats in the race. The other is Sarah Grider, of Newberg. Holding the job now is the GOP’s Kim Thatcher, of Keizer. Thatcher has some ethical issues in her recent history, but this race is up in the air.

SD19 has newly appointed Democrat Rob Wagner, of Lake Oswego, at the helm and firmly in control against Republican newcomer David Poulson, also of Lake Oswego.

SD20 is home to climate change denier Alan Olsen, Republican of Canby. Charles Gallia has been running hard since late last year for this seat. Olsen narrowly won the seat four years ago and Gallia, enjoying a Democratic registration edge, could win.

SD24 has incumbent Rod Monroe, a long-term legislator, battling Democrats with either hand as Kasye Jama, of southeast Portland, and former State Rep. Shemia Fagan, of Happy Valley, want to replace Monroe. With no Republican in the race, the primary winner will advance to November unopposed.

SD26 runs from Hood River to Happy Valley, from Brightwood to Wemme and beyond. Its Republican incumbent is Chuck Thomsen, someone who has yet to make a name for himself. Not so with school board member and Democratic challenger Chrissy Hall Reitz. She’s going all out to dump Thomsen.

In the non-partisan arena, freshly appointed County Commissioner Sonya Fischer, a Democrat, has no opponent. Incumbent Paul Savas, of the GOP, has two, both Democrats: Louise Lopes, of Mulino, and Peter Winter, of Oak Grove. Keeping Savas below the 50 percent mark in the primary and forcing the race into November may be difficult.

Two Democrats want to be County Clerk, ousting Republican Sherry Hall, an officeholder with a terribly troubling performance record. Sherry Healy, of Clackamas, is a long-time elections integrity expert, while Pamela White, of Oregon City, has been a dedicated activist.

Over at Metro, Lynn Peterson, the Lake Oswego Democrat, has a minor challenge which she should eliminate in the primary, and three Democrats and one Republican want the District 2 job created by the early retirement of Carlotta Collette, of Milwaukie.

Campaigning hard are newly appointed councilor Betty Dominguez, of Oak Grove; Joe Buck, of Lake Oswego, and Christine Lewis, of West Linn. An Oak Grove resident and former Oregon City councilor, Republican Carol Pauli, also wants the non-partisan job.

Ballots go out April 25, and April 24 is the last day to register to vote in the primary. You must be registered as a Democrat to vote in the Democratic primary. Make sure you’re eligible to effectively participate.