Every election features a race or two that aren't really races — a seasoned incumbent is challenged by an unknown newcomer with little money or support, or a party puts up a write-in candidate in the primary because no one filed for the office. This year, there are several of these contests. Here's a rundown, with our recommendations:
The appointed incumbent and the Democratic nominee, former Appeals Court Judge Ellen Rosenblum, faces a challenge from James Buchal, a Portland attorney who mounted a last-minute write-in campaign in the primary when no Republican filed for the office. Buchal received 12,816 write-in votes after the state GOP sent postcards to selected voters asking them to help.
We recommend Rosenblum.
Incumbent Democrat Ted Wheeler was unopposed in the primary, and no Republican filed. A last-minute write-in effort from Republican Thomas Cox generated about the same number of votes as Buchal received.
Cox, a former Libertarian candidate for governor in 2002, is a business leadership consultant. His top issue is reforming the state Public Employee Retirement System — a laudable goal, but the job of the Legislature, not the treasurer.
Wheeler has performed effectively as treasurer, and we recommend voters re-elect him.
State representative, District 4
Incumbent Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, was unopposed in the primary, and no Democrat filed for that party's nomination. That's not surprising, given that the district is heavily Republican and the last few Democrats to challenge Richardson have been trounced.
What is somewhat surprising is that Richardson, House co-chairman of the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee and a strong fiscal conservative voice in the Legislature, faces a general-election challenge from the right.
Constitution Party nominee Rick Hake's website doesn't mention Richardson, but rails against lawyers (Richardson is an attorney) in the Legislature wasting time balancing the budget — he say's it's easy — while passing unconstitutional laws, which he does not identify.
We recommend District 4 voters re-elect Dennis Richardson.
State representative, District 5
Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, is, like Richardson, House co-chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee and a respected legislator. He is challenged again this year by Republican Sandy Abercrombie, who has no elective experience.
Abercrombie, a retired computer specialist with the U.S. Forest Service, is a personable candidate, but offers simplistic solutions to complex problems. We recommend District 5 voters re-elect Peter Buckley.