More on the candidates

Websites, as listed by the secretary of state, of the candidates in the race for Oregon’s 2nd congressional district

Democratic Party

Eric Burnette: burnette4con gress.org

Michael Byrne: congressman byrne.com

Jim Crary: crary4congress.com

Raz E. Mason: repmason.com

Jamie McLeod-Skinner: mc leodskinner4or.org

Jennifer Nearhring: drjenni forcongress.com (web address not working)

Timothy S. White: timwhiteore gonCD2.com

Independent Party

Mark Roberts: shakeamillion hands.com (web address not working)

Republican Party

Paul J.Romero, Jr.: romero 4oregon.com

Greg Walden: gregwalden.com

SALEM — A retired merchant marine officer from Hood River. A stonemason from Parkdale. A retired supply chain manager from Ashland. A high school teacher from The Dalles. The retired government manager from Terrebonne. A physician from Bend. A retired Chrysler executive, also from Bend. A truck driver from White City. An appliance service technician from Prineville.

Nine people with one common goal: To replace U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, in the United States Congress.

One Republican, one independent and seven Democrats. And it is more than a month until the March 6 filing deadline.

The one name missing on the list of candidates for Oregon’s 2nd congressional district is the incumbent. Walden has yet to register with the Oregon secretary of state that he plans to seek another term.

“Yes, Greg Walden is running for re-election in 2018 and will formally file in the next month or so — well before the deadline,” Walden spokesman Justin Discigil said.

He will have plenty of company in the race to retain his seat. Though Walden has won all of his 10 general election races for Congress by at least 61 percent, he’s attracted a bumper crop of opponents for 2018.

They say this year is different. President Trump is setting records for his lack of popularity in the polls, and Walden has been criticized for hewing too closely to the Trump agenda.

“No one disputes that Greg Walden is a leader in the Republican Party,” said Molly Woon, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Oregon. “What’s unclear is how well he represents his own district. He continues to toe the party line and defend Donald Trump. It’s not surprising that there is a long line of Democrats ready to run against him.”

So far, the list includes:

• James Crary, a retired supply chain manager from Ashland who was the first Democrat to sign up, back in September. Crary was the Democratic nominee for Congress in 2016 and lost to Walden 72 to 28 percent. He was an avid backer of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the 2016 primaries.

• Tim S. White, a retired Chrysler finance director, from Bend. He says that through tax loopholes, corporations were already avoiding paying their “fair share,” even before the recent corporate-friendly tax cut was passed.

• Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the former city manager of Phoenix, Oregon, who lives in Terrebonne in Jefferson County. Among many issues, she has said Walden is wrong on supporting Trump’s move away from alternative energy.

• Michael Byrne, a stonemason from Parkdale in Hood River County. He has criticized Walden’s support for Trump’s immigration stands, saying if Republicans wanted to get tough, they would go after major businesses that employ undocumented workers.

• Raz E. Mason, a high school teacher from The Dalles, says on her website that she supports Democrat’s efforts to tie a federal budget resolution to ensure that children brought to the U.S. illegally in the past, dubbed “Dreamers,” are allowed to stay in the country.

• Jennifer Neahring, a physician from Bend, recently told the Portland Tribune that the high cost of health care and Walden’s key role in pushing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act spurred her into running for office.

• Eric Burnette, a retired merchant marine officer from Hood River, says Walden is a neighbor, who he once supported. Burnette has suggested a $15-per-hour minimum wage and that taxes should only be paid on amounts above the $15 per hour.

• The only Independent Party candidate is Mark Roberts, a truck driver from White City in Jackson County, who is looking to help break the two-party hold on national politics

• Paul J. Romero, Jr., of Prineville, lost the 2016 GOP primary to Walden, 80 percent to 20 percent. A Navy veteran who currently works as an appliance field service technician, he believes Walden has not been a true conservative throughout his time in Congress.

Ross Wordhouse, a creative director and inventor from Bend, entered the race in the fall but withdrew in November.

Beating Walden is a formidable political task. He’s served 10 terms in Congress, first winning election in 1998. Prior to that, he spent nearly a decade in the Oregon Legislature. He’s the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. His campaign war chest has topped $1 million.

In 2016, Walden won all 20 counties in his district. He is the only Republican among Oregon’s five House members. Reapportionment over the decades has given him a sprawling district that takes in all of eastern and central Oregon, plus a slab of the south end of the state. It’s largely rural and reliably Republican except for Democratic enclaves in Bend and Hood River.

According to fivethirtyeight.com, a non-partisan website that monitors Congress, Trump won Walden’s district by 20 percentage points. Walden has backed Trump’s position on every major piece of legislation — with the exception of Walden’s July vote for sanctions against Russia, North Korea and Iran, legislation Trump opposed. Congress voted 419-3 for the bill.

Walden’s Democratic challengers rarely receive significant financial resources from outside the district. But this year, a former political operative with ties to Bill Clinton, Claude Taylor, is getting involved.

Taylor says his Mad Dog PAC will include Walden among the congressional targets he wants to hit with negative-themed billboards. The signs with the slogan, “Greg Walden is selling out Oregon one vote at a time. Vote him out,” so far exists only in mock-ups. Taylor as of late last week had only one anti-incumbent billboard up — in Florida.

Walden has said his views and voting record reflect his district. After a raucous town hall in Bend last April, he drew a comparison with his liberal colleague, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Portland.

“I don’t think my district wants Earl Blumenauer to represent them, and I don’t think Portland would want me,” he said.

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

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