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MailTribune.com
  • Judge Bloom to remain behind bench

    Incumbent holds strong lead over challenger Orr
  • Jackson County Circuit Judge Benjamin Bloom has held his seat at the bench handily over his challenger, county prosecutor David Orr.
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  • Jackson County Circuit Judge Benjamin Bloom has held his seat at the bench handily over his challenger, county prosecutor David Orr.
    In a 10:24 p.m. results release, Bloom had approximately 54 percent of the total 59,308 votes counted. Orr had 46 percent, or 27,334.
    Bloom spent election evening with supporters in Medford and expressed his gratitude to voters for the win
    "Obviously I am pleased," Bloom said. "I am grateful I can continue serving the people of Jackson County."
    Bloom, 46, benefitted from broad-based support from the local legal community, police agencies and judicial members.
    "I'm just doing my job treating everyone equally," Bloom said. "I know when someone comes to court it is the most important day for them, and I treat them that way." (Correction: See below.)
    Bloom also acknowledged his opponent, Orr, late Tuesday night.
    "I want to thank Mr. Orr for running a spirited campaign," Bloom said. "And I look forward to seeing him in court on a regular basis."
    Orr, 48, spoke out in his campaign against judicial candidates accepting contributions from lawyers and against the usual practice of governor-appointed judges.
    "Regardless of the final tally, I will continue with my mission to end the practice of judges taking campaign money from lawyers," Orr said.
    Orr accepted no campaign donations. If he had won this race, he said, it would "signal the end of lawyer-funded campaigns in Jackson County." (Correction: See below.)
    Orr said he was encouraged voters "are now aware of how law firms install and maintain judges, and that this not in the best interest of the community."
    "More voters are realizing the importance of judicial elections, and far fewer are casting their votes on the basis of endorsements from politicians. Jackson County is waking up," Orr said.
    "I'm encouraged, because I believe this trend will continue," he said.
    Bloom countered that Orr's issues with the current system only arose after Orr had failed to win the judicial appointment.
    Bloom has served two years on the bench since his 2010 appointment by then-Gov. Ted Kulongoski. A former partner at the Medford law firm of Hornecker, Cowling, Hassen & Heysell, Bloom practiced civil litigation since 1993 with a focus on professional negligence defense.
    Orr began his 17-year career as a public defender, later served as a civil lawyer, and has been deputy district attorney for 12 years.
    Orr said the governor erred in appointing former civil attorneys Bloom and Tim Gerking to the bench over a pool of 20 candidates, including himself and two other local prosecutors
    Bloom said his civil experience as a plus for the court. Local attorneys on both sides of the courtroom supported his campaign because he is well-respected for his character and for his judicial temperament, Bloom said.
    Bloom also argued removing potential donors from judicial campaigns means only those with adequate financial means will be able to mount a campaign.
    Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.
    Correction: Typographical errors have been fixed in this story.
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