14 Oregon Legislative Incumbents Win Opposite Party's Nomination
The road back to Salem just got easier for 14 legislative incumbents. Official results from last month's primary were posted today, and they show that 14 sitting lawmakers won not only their own party's nomination, but the write-in nomination of the opposite party. The list includes eight Republicans and six Democrats. To put it another way, that's a full 21% of the incumbent lawmakers on the ballot. And it's up dramatically from the last election cycle, when just three incumbents won the write-in nomination of the opposite party.In every case, however, there was no candidate on the ballot from the opposite party. So it's very likely these incumbents wouldn't have faced major party opposition in the fall anyway. But it's possible that a write-in candidate from the opposite party could have surfaced--in fact, two such write-in candidates won their party's nomination: Republican Suzanne Gallagher, who will face incumbent Democrat Ginny Burdick in SD-18; and Antone Minthorn, who won the Democratic nomination as a write-in candidate in SD-29. He'll face Republican Bill Hansell in the race to replace the retiring David Nelson.It's also possible that with a little effort, a party could have nominated a place-holder write-in candidate to secure the spot on the ballot until a more serious candidate could be recruited. The write-in nominee would then step aside (assuming they were in on the plan) in place of the "real" candidate. By winning the opposite party's write-in nomination, these 14 incumbents (whether deliberately or not) have effectively averted that possibility.Another quick note: I've previously noted here that Republican Matt Wand fell short in his attempt to win the Democratic write-in nomination. That's very different than what I've outlined above, since there was in fact a Democrat on the ballot in Wand's district. Also, in southern Oregon's HD-56, Republican Tracey Liskey won the Democratic write-in nomination but was disqualified due to Oregon's "Sore Loser Law." It turns out Liskey came in second place in the race for the Republican nomination (falling to Gail Whitsett), so under Oregon law he was ineligible to accept the Democratic nomination.
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June 14, 2012
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