SALEM — Four minutes after midnight, Medford City Council member Kevin Stine, a Democrat, electronically submitted his candidacy for the 3rd District seat in the Oregon State Senate, becoming the first of a flood of men and women to officially get their ticket stamped to run for state office in 2018.

Before the flood, however, comes the trickle. Stine’s bid to unseat Sen. Alan DeBoer, R-Ashland, was one of the few candidacies for the May 15, 2018, primary election to make it onto the secretary of state’s website before 5 p.m. At that hour, the official closing time for the office, only 11 candidates had their names published online.

Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, who vowed to file to run for governor on the first day of eligibility, was not on the list. Buehler campaign manager Rebecca Tweed said Buehler had electronically filed on Thursday.

“The Secretary of State’s Office said it will post tomorrow morning,” Tweed said.

Buehler made no public appearances on Thursday. He sent issue and fundraising emails, tweets, and posted on his campaign website and Facebook page.

Several other incumbent lawmakers and challengers also announced they were running. But each has to be reviewed and won’t be posted on the website for up to 48 hours after filing, said Deb Royal, chief-of-staff to Secretary of State Dennis Richardson.

The May primary will include state races for governor, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries, all five U.S. House seats, 60 state House seats and half of 30 state Senate seats. The state will also handle the elections for district attorneys in Deschutes and Crook counties, two state Supreme Court justices, six Court of Appeals justices, two 11th Judicial District Circuit Court judges in Deschutes County and two judges for the 22nd Judicial District Circuit Court, which covers Crook and Jefferson counties. Some elections are scheduled, while others, such as Crook County district attorney, are on the ballot because of a vacancy or appointment.

Though Thursday was the candidacy kick-off day, there are 73 candidate finance committees filed with the secretary of state for the 2018 election, with Buehler’s by far the largest with over $1 million in the bank.

Gov. Kate Brown has not filed for the 2018 election and has not publicly announced her candidacy for a four-year term. Brown has been using her 2016 campaign committee from the special election she won to fill out the final two years of the term of Gov. John Kitzhaber. As secretary of state at the time, Brown became governor upon Kitzhaber’s resignation in February 2015.

Brown has more than $1.5 million in the bank and has sent campaign-style emails to supporters asking for money. Some of the mailers have targeted Buehler, who announced Aug. 2 that he was forming a campaign finance committee to run for governor.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel has an ongoing campaign finance committee. The Vote for Hummel committee has raised just over $12,271 this year, spent $8,030 and has $4,489 cash-on-hand.

The biggest name on the list of 11 confirmed candidates was Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, who filed for re-election to his District 11 seat in Salem.

The dean of Salem lawmakers, Courtney has been Senate president since 2003.

He was first elected to the Legislature in 1980.

He appeared deflated by the 2017 session, where intra-party squabbles added to the usual bipartisan bickering. Courtney had shown his exasperation on the final day of the session when he adjourned the Senate three hours before the House, foregoing the traditional simultaneous gaveling out of the Senate and House. The city of Salem named a bridge after Courtney, and he mused to The Oregonian that he was “on the fence” about running in 2018.

As of Thursday night, there was no candidate for the 54th District House seat that Buehler will have to give up to run for governor. No campaign finance committees for the seat have been created.

Republican Bud Pierce, who lost the 2016 special election for governor to Brown, announced Thursday he would try to qualify a term limits initiative for the November 2018 ballot.

Candidates for state office must also pay the filing fee or submit signatures in lieu of paying the filing fee.

Signatures must be submitted no later than Feb. 20.

There is still plenty of time — the final day to file to run isn’t until 5 p.m. March 6, 2018. Winners of the May 15 primaries will move on to the general election on Nov. 6, 2018.

Minor party and nonaffiliated candidates can begin filing for candidacy for the General Election on May 30, with a deadline of 5 p.m., Aug. 28.

Besides opening the filing for candidacy, Sept. 7 also serves as a deadline.

It is the last day that a candidate can change a party registration and run as a candidate in their new party’s primary.

David Stauffer, who ran as a Democrat for governor in 2016 and received 2.8 percent of the primary vote, has filed a campaign finance committee statement indicating he will take another run at Brown, but this time as a Republican.

— Reporter: 541-525-5280, gwarner@bendbulletin.com

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