Filling Mac Sumner's seat

With the resignation of Rep. Mac Sumner (R-Molalla) two weeks ago, his seat is now open.

County Republicans have named, as required, five candidates for the seat. From the SJ:

In order of weighted votes by Republican precinct people Monday night, they are Mike Shrock of Aurora, Ken Iverson of Woodburn, Vic Gilliam of Silverton, Victor Hoffer of Mount Angel and Jeff Faville of Salem. All are from the Marion County portion of House District 18.

The district includes Silverton, Aurora, Donald, Hubbard, Mount Angel, Scotts Mills, part of Clackamas County and some Woodburn and Salem addresses.

County Commissioners from Clackamas and Marion Counties will select the new legislator on December 27.

Questions: Should the outgoing county commissioners defer the selection to the new county commissioners, who will take office in early January? Who are these five candidates, and what do we know about them? Discuss.

  • (Show?)

    This Victor Hoffer? The famous lawyer/EMT/perennial candidate?

  • (Show?)

    Bear, I believe you're correct. The other Victor Hoffer was also from Mount Angel, so it's likely the same one.

  • Ellen Hudson (unverified)

    I wonder why no one has brought up the fact that Sumner knew prior to the election that he was gravely ill, a fact that would most probably have swayed the election to Gilbert. I would have thought that the press would have glomped onto that and the atricle would have actually been on a page rather than listed in a column in the back of the paper.

  • Dan Gardner (unverified)

    Victor Hoffer ran against me in 2000 for Labor Commissioner He is the nicest opponent I ever had. I used to call him Mr full service He is a lawyer and an ambulance driver.

  • (Show?)

    Ellen -- We've discussed it here at BlueOregon, but I haven't seen much press coverage. Why? Because they were complicit. They knew he was too sick to serve, but they didn't think it relevant to voters' decisions.

    Of course, that view assumes that all voters care about is which party label the legislator prefers. "Why screw up the Gilbert/Sumner race - when everyone knows that it's a Republican district, and he'll get replaced by a Republican..."

    But that's bullshit. Voters don't just choose a party. They choose a person. Hopefully, a person who can lead their community and our state.

    With Mac Sumner too ill to serve, voters should have known that they were choosing NOT between Sumner and Gilbert, but rather between Jim Gilbert and an unknown Republican.

    Would they have voted the same way? Maybe. Maybe not. We'll never know.

    Oregon's media is complicit in this fraud.

  • Darrell Fuller (unverified)

    Vic Gilliam is the older brother of Joe Gilliam, who lobbies for the Grocers. Vic is a former Hatfield staffer who also did a stint at Willamette University in the alumni office (where I first got to know him). He ran for an open House seat in 1988, but lost in the GOP primary. If memory serves, the guy who beat Vic eventually lost to Rocky Barilla in the General Election.

  • Sponge (unverified)

    I'm curious to know why Tootie Smith didn't make the cut. She was elected to this seat prior to Mac Sumner. She gave it up to run for county commissioner two years ago. She was the first one, of the six, to file to fill the vacancy. I find it strange that she didn't even make one of the five for consideration.

  • O.Waltz (unverified)

    Ahem...Gee Kari, you might recall the email I sent back in October to you screaming for coverage of this issue on BlueOregon. I even attached a recent, though albeit gruesome image of Sumner as the cancer-stricken placeholder candidate. So what was your excuse?

  • (Show?)

    O Waltz sent us the same tips, I imagine--but they didn't have any material to support his assertion (which was nonetheless spot-on; Sumner in fact will not serve a day in the 2007 Legislature). All the message indicated was that he was sick and no one was covering it. Well, aside from the Oregonian covering it at the end of September.

    I was never able to conceive how one might "cover" this, beyond mentioning that he had cancer--which had already been reported. Everything else was speculation, speculation which turned out to be correct, but at the time we had nothing to base that prediction on.

  • O. Waltz (unverified)

    One way to cover this story was to pose it as an ethical dilemna for discussion and in fact that's how I pitched it to BlueOregon:

    "I would like to pose the following discussion question/scenario on Blue Oregon: In HD 18, the Republican candidate, Mac Sumner has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. If he were to win the election, he would never serve a day in the legislature and his replacement would be appointed by the Republican Party, with the final approval of the Clackamas and Marion County Commissioners. The voters of the district have not been informed of Sumner's terminal condition either by his campaign or by the local media. This raises some ethical issues, including whether it's ethical to run for office knowing you are deathly ill and NOT tell anyone." Oct. 31, 2006

    As far as covering it as a reporter, one could have simply asked what kind of lung cancer Sumner was diagnosed with and when. A diagnosis of small-cell lung cancer usually means a six month survival rate of less than 15%. The fact that Sumner publicly stated that his primary treatment consisted solely of chemotherapy and not surgery should have also sounded warning bells as chemo is typically administered palliatively for advanced-stage lung cancer. A quick Google search would have clued a reporter to this.

    <h2>Finally, there were plenty of folks in Sumner's district - who had run into him in places such as his oncologist's office - who knew the real skinny about his prognosis. True, their testimony amounted to hearsay at the time, but so what? We could have at least been talking about all of this before the election instead of now after it's a done deal.</h2>
in the news 2006

connect with blueoregon