"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

The Lane County tug

If you’re among those who think of Oregon’s Lane County, seat Eugene, as a liberal bastion, take a look at today’s Register Guard piece on the county commission race between incumbent Rob Handy and challenger Pat Farr.

The contest is technically non-partisan, but you wouldn’t be far off describing Handy as the functional Democrat in the race, and Farr, a Eugene City Council member, as the functional Republican. There’s also a third candidate in the race, but it will surely boil down to Handy and Farr; both have strong cadres of supporters, from the usual suspects. This is not one of the rural-based districts, either: This hot contest is in the north side of Eugene, which is more politically marginal than many people would expect.

And the five-member board is marginal too. It had an effective conservative majority after the 2006 election, then a liberal majority after 2008, then conservative again after 2010. So what will come of it this year? We’ll be watching.

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