Candidates for Kelley Wirth seat named

The Benton County Democrats blog has the news:

Sara Gelser, Bob Condor and Tina Empol were selected by the eligible Precinct Committee People at a special convention Tuesday, Nov 22.

The Benton County Commissioners will select the individual who will fill Rep. Wirth's now-empty seat. Sara Gelser is the woman who challenged Kelley Wirth previously, and was an announced candidate already. Tina Empol is the president of the Oregon chapter of the National Organization for Women. No information on Bob Condor was available.


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    bob condor is a former HP exec & a former corvallis resident now living in lewisburg. he's a member of the county district fire board (i forget the name of the group) and some other bodies; he also canvassed & phonebanked for kerry last year -- bob is a vietnam vet as well.

    the other candidates were known to most of the 80 voters; bob's activism has been outside the party mainstream, although he is a life-long dem. however, with the presentation of his background and, more importantly, the way he spoke, he won over the precint people who were voting and led thru all of the second round of voting (sara gelser easily won her nomination on the first ballot. bob would have won more quickly had people realized that splitting their vote was a pointless exercise and had one person remembered that casting too many votes meant the ballot was stricken -- that on ballot 3, round 2, another ballot was required by 10 stinkin' votes.

    it was an interesting exercise in democracy, but the DPO Rules Ctte needs to clean these things up and make them a lot easier to do (we had the complex voting mandated by state law because HD 16 is a multi-county district -- there are like 10 Linn Co. voters in the district. this is not a smart thing at all. ) next tuesday morning, the county commissioners select the new representative.

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    These things are complicated by nature, but I thought the Benton County Democrats were superb last night. The convention lasted nearly three hours and seven ballots, but people hung in there and took their job very, very seriously. As chair of the Rules Committee (referenced by Todd), I have to state that it was a pleasure working with them.

    Barbara Roberts once said in order to make things fair, they have to be complicated. It was a long time ago, and I'm paraphrasing, but I'm sure I've got it pretty close.

    The district covers Benton and Linn counties, but there were only two registered voters in the Linn County portion, and none of them registered Democrats. That meant that while all of the convention delegates were from Benton County, the convention had to be run under the state's law for multi-county districts, and those are not as simple as districts that are solely in one county.

    I'm not sure what the state Party can do to tighten up the process, but I'm open to suggestions. The multi-county rule in state law is fair, and makes sure that each county in a district has votes equal to it's weight in the district. District 16 is an unusual situation, and it would have been nice if the law could have been waived, but we were told by the Elections Division that it could not be.

    Thanks again to the Benton County Democratic leadership, and congratulations to Sara, Bob, and Tina. There were six good canidates, and the convention chose well.

    Wayne Kinney Chair, DPO Rules Committee

  • curious (unverified)

    Two individuals who volunteered as candidates for appointment to HD 16 are listed as endorsers on Sara's promotional material. Does anyone know why Jay Sexton and Tina Empol chose to run against her?

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    in Jay's case, i asked him. the rules require that the party forward 3 nominees; if we do not, the county commissioners can name whomsoever they please. and we simply could not have that!!

    Jay ran for mayor of Philomath last year and lost by 31 votes in an election tainted by diRty tRicks which will make a fascinating tale to be told at a later date. he's a great guy and still fully supports Sara. he would have made a terrific interim representative, and may one day hold the office or another. if he chooses to run for mayor again next year, i'll bust my buns to get him elected.

    Tina is a long-time activist who, i guess, simply could not let this opportunity go past without giving it a shot. she ran for the same reason Sara is running: she believes she would do a great job. this was not about challenging Sara; this was about stepping forward and taking on the challenge herself. (i'm interpreting her comments from last night.) should Sara be appointed next week, i fully expect Tina to remain in her corner. i know Jay is.

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    Wayne came to Corvallis twice to help us through this. he made one tiny boo-boo last night, which was corrected (to the chagrin of 90% of the people in attendance) but his presence and guidance was priceless. the process took 2-1/2 hours, but without Wayne's firm hand on the tiller, it might have gone longer. there's a lot of gratitude for Wayne here in BC.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)

    Does anyone find it just a little bit telling of a fundamental dysfunction that absolutely no one with access to a public forum had the presence of mind to publish ANYTHING the day after about the positions of the candidates - such as even the key points of the speeches the successful candidates gave?

    We can assume they all love trees, kids and the Northwest, have been involved in whatever turns their top politically, and believe the current administration is made up of mean people. What is it about the guts and character of each of these candidates that would make the average voter care when the final selectee actually runs for the seat next year?


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