The Independent factor

It may be that the Oregon 1st House district results, on January 31, are definitive enough that relatively small factors in the campaign won’t matter. Sitting here before we get even to December, though, it’s hard to be certain of that – and hard for the candidates, Democrat Suzanne Bonamici and Republican Rob Cornilles, to be sure of it either.

That has put the Independent Party of Oregon in something of a catbird seat. It will not run a candidate of its own in the 1st district race, but it will (or is expected to) endorse one of the two major party candidates. With an estimated 13,546 members in the 1st district, it could have some genuine effect if the race is otherwise close. They vote on a party endorsement between November 14 (the start of this week) and 29. (That’s separate, of course, from their vote in the January 31 election.)

So what is it asking? It already has asked for and received answers to a detailed issues questionnaire. Bonamici’s runs eight pages, Cornilles‘ ten.) They may stand as the most comprehensive single issues statements either candidate delivers in the course of the campaign.

There is also an Independent Party-backed debate, on November 27 (presumably, oddly, after most party members have voted in their endorsement event), aired by KATU (Channel 2).

The party has endorsed plenty of candidates of both parties, so it can’t be considered a gimme for either.

How this works with campaigning to the base will be something to watch.

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