If you are one of those people who doesn’t want to hear about the 2018 elections, you had best plug your ears for the next 400-plus days until the Nov. 6 election next year.

A week after being photographed in a cowboy hat at the Pendleton Round-Up, Gov. Kate Brown officially threw her hat into the ring for a new four-year term living in Mahonia Hall, the half-timbered Tudor-style mansion in Salem where the governor resides. Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, hopes to send Brown searching for the number of the local U-Haul outlet. In two months, Buehler has raised $1.2 million to put him on a par with Brown.

It’s a good start toward breaking the record of $16 million spent in the 2010 governor’s race in which John Kitzhaber beat former NBA player Chris Dudley. Now, a few notes from around Planet Salem and beyond:

Guns (R) Us:

The Multnomah County Republican Party, which includes the city of Portland, will hold a raffle for a Smith & Wesson M&P-15 semi-automatic rifle that comes with a clip capable of holding 30 5.56 mm bullets, known as “the NATO round” for its use by military forces in Europe. The M&P stands for “Military & Police,” according to the Smith & Wesson website.

Republicans make up 15 percent of registered voters in the county, and the party has used weapons auctions as fundraisers before. According to Willamette Week, an earlier raffle was themed to Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln — because they supported Republican causes, the group said, not because they were shot to death.

The group will sell 500 of the raffle tickets, which cost $10 each. The M&P-15 has a suggested retail price of $1,269 — though some versions are sold for as low as $599.

The winner will be required to go through all the legal steps to obtain a firearm before the rifle is handed over. The Smith & Wesson online catalog says the M&P-15 is good for “Home Protection, Hunting, Recreational Shooting.”

Vote early and with neighbors

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Wednesday to move California’s primary from June to early March. Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson is asking political leaders here to move the state primary from May to sometime in late winter in time for the 2020 presidential race.

Options include moving just the presidential primary to early in the year, but keeping the primaries for state offices and initiatives in May. Or hold a “Pac-12 Primary” early in the year involving the states in that athletic conference: Oregon, California, Washington, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

Proponents of the move say the West Coast has had to watch the rest of the country, including small states, have an outsize impact on the election so that so many candidates drop out by the time of the West Coast primaries, that all the region gets to do is rubber-stamp the outcome.

Blue to Red

The Democrats are coming in force next month to one of the most reliably Republican areas of Deschutes County. The Sunriver Resort will host the 2017 Oregon Summit from Oct. 20-22. Brown and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley will be among the top state Democrats on hand.

The keynote address will be given by one of the party’s new stars, two-term U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu from Torrance, California. A former state lawmaker, the extroverted Lieu was named assistant whip for the Democratic minority in the House. Lieu keeps up a constant barrage on President Trump’s favorite social media — Twitter, much of it retorts to the White House.

Workshops at the Sunriver event include core Democratic issues: the “economic justice,” clean energy jobs, criminal justice reform, gender issues, affordable housing, voting rights, health care, public education and a session titled “IUDs, Ovaries, and Vasectomies: Oregon Leading the Way on Reproductive Health Care.”

More ominous for the GOP are sessions on building the party in the district of U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, and “A Winning Record: How Oregon has maintained Democratic Majorities during the Red Waves.”

Ranking

Oregonians evidently don’t know their assets from a hole in the ground. The financial website WalletHub ranks Oregon residents a dismal 32nd among states for financial savvy in a study released Wednesday. Best was Massachusetts and worst was Mississippi.

The website rankings were based on debt and spending, financial literacy, amount of savings and credit ratings. The state didn’t fare much better in the new Wall Street Journal list of the top 200 colleges. Neither of the state’s big public schools, Oregon State and University of Oregon, made the cut. Reed College is No. 130, Willamette University was No. 136 and Linfield College’s McMinnville Campus was No. 166. Overall, Harvard was No. 1, followed by Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and Duke University.

Quotable

“Decades of one-party rule have left Portland under the control of what amounts to the gang that can’t shoot straight, wasting taxpayer funds hand over fist and covering up their malfeasance.”

— Multnomah County Republican chair James Buchal, quoted in Willamette Week on why the group was raffling a semi-automatic rifle as a fundraiser.

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

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