We'll get into the Oregon House filings generally shortly, but first attention has to be drawn to the filing that most specifically caught our eyes (and not just because this is in our home district).
The district is 24, taking in most of Yamhill County and a precinct or two of Polk, a historically Republican district still leaning that way but by smaller margins than formerly. The seat is held by Republican Donna Nelson, now departing and heading for a run at the county commission (which is nonpartisan in Yamhill). Nelson had been winning by substantial margins but in 2006 she was nearly overtaken by Democrat Sal Peralta. This year, another prospectively strong Democrat, Al Hansen of McMinnville (a well-connected former council member in the district's main city), is in; the odds initially favor Republican retention but the seat should be watched closely.
That's the setup for the Republican situation, which until this week had two competitors, both from the small city of Yamhill: restaurant owner Jim Weidner and carpenter Ed Glad. Neither has much visibility around the district, though Glad has been involved with political activities across the fence, and Weidner seems to be positioned a little more toward the right. Our sense is that Weidner logically would run stronger in the Republican primary, but a lot would depend on the scale of campaigning each might undertake. Or so matters seemed to sit.
But all the participants were taken unawares by what happened this week: The entry of Jim Bunn into the Republican primary. This is a development worth some attention outside the district, because the Oregon 5th U.S House district will be a hotly-fought property this year - and Jim Bunn was its last Republican representative.
A shorthand version of the story . . . (more…)