In HD-18, is Vic Gilliam running a bait and switch campaign?

By Peter Nordbye of Brightwood, Oregon. Peter is vice chair of the Clackamas County Democrats and coordinator of their Neighborhood Leader Program.

In House District 18, we have the classic bait and switch scam played out before our eyes. We think we are voting for Representative Vic Gilliam, but instead we are getting Mike Early or some unknown entity. Democracy is not supposed to work that way. We are supposed to elect our representatives; not so in HD 18.

Here is what we know: According to the Statesman Journal on November 16, 2015, Representative Gilliam has unfortunately been diagnosed with a terrible illness. It is very possible that Gilliam will not be able to complete his term. Mike Early was planning to run against Gilliam in the May primary. In March, Early withdraws his candidacy with the hope to seek appointment to the position. This desire is stated in Mr. Early’s withdrawal statement:

Withdrawal Reason: I have changed my mind; I will seek appointment to the office when the incumbent withdraws because of his declining health.

Of course, we don’t know if Republicans will actually appoint Mr. Early. They can appoint anyone they want. That’s a big part of the problem. We don’t know who will be selected to represent the voters. This is not some sort of monarchy where the title is handed down to the next in line. This is a democracy where the voters get to choose.

This arrangement is not the first time bait and switch has been used in HD 18. In 2006, Gilliam was appointed to this same office under similar circumstances. I guess this is politics as usual, but that doesn’t make it right. The voters have the right to select the candidate who will actually represent them.

Tom Kane is a Democrat running against Gilliam in the 2016 general election. Tom is a great candidate who should be running against the real person seeking the position. The voters of HD 18 should have the opportunity as to who will represent them for the next two years. Democracy is not a political strategy. Democracy is all about the voters being able to express their choice through their votes. Bait and switch is a political strategy not a principle of democracy.

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