Editorial: May ballot gives voters choices

In Central Oregon, May 20 ballots will include a mixture of nonpartisan races, party primaries and local measures.

The May election generally gets less attention than November’s, but critical decisions will be made and candidates elected. April 29 is the deadline to register to vote or to change party registration, and ballots will be mailed May 1.

Although we won’t list every candidate in this column, we will interview them all before making our endorsements. If you have questions you’d like us to ask them, please send them to Editor of Editorials Richard Coe at rcoe@bendbulletin.com.

On the statewide level, six candidates are seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination, while incumbent John Kitzhaber has only one opponent in the Democratic primary. For Congressional District 2, incumbent Greg Walden has one opponent for the GOP nomination, and three candidates are running on the Democratic side. Incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley has two opponents for the Democratic nomination. Jason Conger and Monica Wehby are the most prominent of the five candidates seeking the GOP nomination in that race.

In Deschutes County, the most well-known case is John Hummel’s challenge to incumbent District Attorney Patrick Flaherty, while incumbent County Commissioner Tony DeBone faces a challenge from Richard Esterman for the Republican nomination for that seat. Voters will also cast ballots for a Circuit Court judge in a nonpartisan race that has drawn three candidates: Steven Kurzer, Randy Miller and Thomas (T.J.) Spear. Bend-area voters will decide if they’re willing to pay 20 cents per $1,000 assessed value to support fire fighting and emergency services.

Crook County voters will decide if they want their county commission to be nonpartisan in the future, and the GOP will choose incumbent Commissioner Seth Crawford or challenger Jack Seley as their nominee for Crawford’s seat.

Jefferson County has two competitions for its County Court, or commission. Tom Brown, Mae Huston and Mike Throop are competing for position 1 and Mike Ahern and Floyd Paye seek position 2.

For the Oregon Legislature House District 59, Rep. John Huffman is being challenged for the GOP nomination by Britt Storkson.

Some voters who feel their vote doesn’t count for much in bigger elections — a view we don’t share — should consider their much larger impact in these more localized elections.