The keys to the House: Washington County

Carla Axtman

Washington County isn't really a swing county, but we were caught up in the 2010 malaise, so races that would have gone to the Dems in a regular cycle, didn't. But 2012 looks poised to rectify that despite gobs of cash flowing in from GOP interests to their candidates.

In House District 29, Ben Unger is running a focused and energetic campaign. Buzz I'm hearing from political insiders give Unger one of the best chances to unseat an incumbent House Republican this cycle. Unger was recently endorsed by the local Forest Grove newspaper:

Forest Grove News Times:

With deep roots in western Washington County, the Democrat, whose family farms near Cornelius, would bring a needed rural perspective to his caucus and the metro-area delegation. There are no farmers left in the Oregon Legislature, and while it’s been awhile since Unger was out in the berry fields himself, he has a deep understanding of the challenges facing those who make their living off the land.

Similarly, Unger, who worked on the statewide campaign to protect land-use laws, could help balance the desire to open more land to development with the need to protect farm and forest land.

His views on social issues (he is pro-choice and supports gay rights) are better aligned with most voters in the district, which stretches from downtown Hillsboro to Gales Creek.

Unger,who is 36 years old — shows even more promise than Eyre did two years ago. He, more than Eyre, seems as interested in listening as talking and his work on statewide campaigns has given him key contacts outside the district. Yes, he’s a bit unpolished, but he has shown amazing poise in the midst of bruising personal attacks from Eyre’s campaign.

And, those attacks did factor into our decision. Eyre’s campaign has distorted Unger’s positions, criticized him for being a renter and warned district residents not to open the door if he comes asking for their vote.

Republican Shawn Lindsay is the incumbent in House District 30, and probably the most stark instance of a Representative being out-of-touch politically with the district. Lindsay is the campaign Co-Chair of the Romney campaign in Oregon, and has said that his "number one goal is I want to defeat Barack Obama". Not much of an alignment with this Democratic district. Lindsay (along with Washington County GOPers Katie Eyre-Brewer and Bruce Starr, among others), tried to undermine Oregon's Death With Dignity law, which, I suspect, would really piss off the vast majority of constituents given the popularity of the law in the state. Lindsay's Democratic opponent is Joe Gallegos. Gallegos has spent his life as a teacher, who has apparently jolted Lindsay and his campaign. Lindsay has been busy with negatilve mailers attacking Gallegos and as per usual with Lindsay, taking words out of context.

Kari tackled Jeff Barker's race last night, with a stinging video showing Rep. Tobias Read shellacking Barker's GOP opponent Manuel Castaneda. There's quite a flood of cash going into this race for Castaneda, which is throwing good money after bad.

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    I live in HD 29 and my office is in HD 30.

    My take HD 29 is that even though its a D +7 registration edge, the nominees of the major parties are seldom moderate enough to truly win over the hearts of the bulk of the non partisan voters and leaners. So it's going to be decided on personal likability, and pressing the flesh rather than party or personal policies.

    Eyre is likable, but Unger has been doing a great job reaching out to voters. With the 7% registration advantage it will be........Unger by 3.572%.

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    Washington County and Oregon will sure be better off if they elect Joe Gallegos.

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