Three Way Race in HD29

A three-way race for State Representative is brewing in Oregon House District 29, which consists of Cornelius, Forest Grove, and part of Hillsboro. Democrat Chuck Riley will run for re-election against both a Republican challenger (who has yet to step forward), and Independent Terry Rilling, the former Mayor of Cornelius.

From the News Times:

Rep. Chuck Riley, the second-term Democrat who represents western Washington County in Salem, will likely face two challengers in November in his re-election bid.

That’s because former Cornelius Mayor Terry Rilling has announced that he’ll withdraw his application to run as a Republican and instead enter the race as a member of the Independent Party.

With Rilling’s departure, the Republicans are still looking for a candidate to run in his place, a search that apparently began before Rilling decided to run as an Independent.

But whoever they find will be facing a tough race, with Riley running as an incumbent and Rilling drawing on his Cornelius ties and support he garnered in 2006 when he ran as the GOP nominee.

Rilling says that he doesn’t want to run as a spoiler, but decided to break with the party when he felt leaders weren’t supporting him.

Despite his intentions, Rilling's candidacy could benefit Riley's re-election chances:

Nick Smith, spokesman for the House Republicans, wasn’t worried that Rilling would draw votes away from the GOP candidate. He also wasn’t naming names.

“We fully expect to field a candidate in House District 29. That’s one of our top targets for the election and I can’t name names until we get closer to that candidate filing,” Smith said.

Candidates have until March 11 to file for the May primary race.

Jim Moore, political science professor at Pacific University, agrees that Rilling won’t make much of a difference in the election.

“The chief issue is Riley’s incumbency and all the benefits that brings to Riley,” said Moore. “Rilling is still just a player in the Cornelius area, not in the rest of the district.” But state Sen. Bruce Starr isn’t so sure. Starr, a Republican whose district overlaps Riley’s, says Rilling won’t draw votes from Riley, but instead would likely weaken the Republican candidate’s chances.

“Absolutely that would make Chuck Riley’s day and guarantee his reelection,” said Starr, who’s served in the legislature since 1999.

Read the rest. Discuss.

  • JRamsay (unverified)

    I wonder why Blue Oregon was all over Sho Dozono on his poll, yet mentioned NOTHING about Sam's push poll. Bet you don't print this comment or write a <i?discuss< i=""> story, since you are taking money from Weiner and Adams, Inc.

  • (Show?)

    I've spoken with Rilling. My understanding is that he was angry at some of the special interests that control the purse strings for GOP candidates and didn't want them dictating policy to him as a candidate. His unwillingness to "play ball" led to Hannah seeking an alternate candidate.

    My guess is that we'll see at least a few more candidates emerge as Independents in inconvenient races for both major political parties, and that the only unifying theme in their campaigns will be their opposition to special interest control over one or the other major parties.

    It's worth mentioning that the SOS just released their December voter registration statistics. The Independent Party grew by more than 10,000 in 2007. Every other political party in Oregon, including NAV's lost membership during the same time period.

    I'm not sure what to make of this phenomenon, but it is happening in exactly the opposite manner of every third party movement since the formation of the Republican Party. The Independent movement in Oregon is not being driven by a charismatic leader, and there is no unifying ideology to speak of.

    Interesting stuff.

  • LT (unverified)

    Sal, the interesting thing in your scenario is something some of us have been talking about for years. The State Senate had a 15-15 split and every day the sun rose and set normally.

    Some people don't want to discuss nonpartisan legislature. But what would happen if there were 2 members of the Independent Party elected to the 2009 House and thus it was 29-29-2? Not only would it be an interesting Speaker election, but the whole "our caucus is better than the other party" nonsense and the party line votes wouldn't be enough in the 2009 session. Members might actually have to think for themselves--think of how tough that would be on some of the Republicans!

  • Travis Diskin (unverified)

    Well said LT.

  • Smada Mas (unverified)

    [editor's note: obnoxious comment removed.]

  • (Show?)

    One other point: I don't think there is any guarantee that this wil be threeway race. Would you want to be the Republican running to the left of Rilling? Would you want to fund a Republican in a threeway race in this district against an incumbent D and a right-leaning Independent?

  • (Show?)

    I wouldn't put too much into the other parties' numbers going down.

    I did a study last year on this that looked at long term numbers. It showed that there was typically a decrease in the political parties' numbers in the odd years, with them increasing coming into the even year primaries and then increasing dramatically between May and October. In presidential years, it's not unheard of to see the increases of tens of thousands (or more than 103,000 for Dems in '04 between May and October). There was almost 27,000 less voters in the state in Dec 07 as there was in Jan 07. It's a typical trend.

    There are a number of people who are switching their membership from NAV to the Independent Party (and some from the parties as well). This may continue for a little while longer under registration begins to become more steady.

  • (Show?)

    JRamsay, you know where the guest column link is. Go for it.

  • Lindapendent (unverified)

    Just to be clear--the Independent Party has not held any nominating convention. We're pleased to have candidates for nomination step forward, but there are no nominated candidates. There may be contests for nomination in some races.

  • SuperWonk (unverified)

    I've spoken with Rilling. My understanding is that he was angry at some of the special interests that control the purse strings for GOP candidates and didn't want them dictating policy to him as a candidate.

    Get real. It has nothing to do with "special interests" and "dictating policy." Rilling was told by Hanna that he wasn't going to be the GOP's horse in the race (and not getting any money) after his paltry showing in 2006.

    The GOP realizes that HD 29 is trending further Democratic by the day, and while the race MIGHT be winnable, they're going to need a stronger candidate than Terry Rilling.

    <h2>The self-delusional Rilling, who has the political-savvy of, well, Terry Rilling (see: multiple failed attempts at anti-tax initiatives), just can't stand the thought of not being in the race.</h2>
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