In one of the most unusual races in the region, Republican Todd Kepple is running on the Democratic ticket against Republican Dennis Linthicum. Both men seek the Oregon Senate District 28 seat formerly held by Doug Whitsett of Klamath Falls. Kepple is the better choice.

Kepple, 56, is not tainted by the controversy that surrounded the retirement of Sen. Doug Whitsett and his wife, state Rep. Gail Whitsett, the day after the primary election filing deadline. Linthicum, 60, was.

He filed only moments before that deadline, and there’s indication from Whitsett himself that he notified Linthicum when he decided he was done. While what occurred may have been perfectly legal, it clearly denied voters a choice in the Republican primary election.

Linthicum is a software developer from Dairy, an unincorporated community east of Klamath Falls. He served one term on the Klamath County Commission and was trounced in the primary election two years ago when he ran against U.S. Rep. Greg Walden.

Linthicum does undeniably have a good understanding of many of the issues facing people in the district, such as state regulation of water. So does Kepple.

Kepple is a former reporter and editor for the Herald and News newspaper in Klamath Falls and currently manages three public museums in the county. Though he was an unaffiliated voter for years, he now describes himself as a moderate Republican who was drafted to run as a write-in candidate in the spring.

Kepple’s views fit that moderate definition and that’s a good fit for a diverse district. He would be a supporter of agriculture and timber in the district, which runs from Crook County to the northeast edge of Medford. To that end, he would push efforts to improve rangeland. He’s also been a strong supporter of public education.

Voters should choose Kepple when they cast ballots this fall.