Our Opinion: Republican voters should nominate Walden again; Democrats should choose Christofferson

Tea party challenger is out of step; Bend businesswoman is a serious contender

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden holds one of the safer seats in Congress. He's serving his eighth term representing Oregon's 2nd District, the state's largest and most heavily Republican. Every two years since 2000 he has won re-election by a comfortable margin.

This year, Walden faces a primary challenge from the right. Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum, who proudly proclaims himself a tea party candidate, rails against what he says is a Republican establishment in Washington that cares more about power than about what "the people" want.

Linthicum claims to know what the people want, but he's wrong, and the district's Republican voters should stick with Walden.

In the Democratic primary, Bend businesswoman Aelea Christofferson is running the strongest campaign and should get the nomination to face Walden in the fall.

Walden, 56, is now a member of the House leadership, elected in 2012 to head the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. That position carries some clout, especially in a chamber with a Republican majority that could get larger after the November election.

Linthicum is right when he says Walden is part of the Establishment — his website capitalizes the word — but he's wrong when he says "most Americans" want full repeal of the federal health care reform law. New polls show nearly 3 in 5 Americans want Congress to fix problems in the law rather than repeal it and replace it with something else.

Linthicum also calls for the ouster of House Speaker John Boehner for "lack of conservatism." That suggests he would be part of the tea party faction in the House that made it difficult for Boehner and the rest of the House leadership to govern effectively and nearly pushed the government to the brink of default last year.

We don't always agree with Walden, but he has represented his largely rural, conservative district responsibly. We recommend Republican voters nominate him.

On the Democratic side, Christofferson, 61, is running against Frank Vulliet, 72, a retired lawyer from Sunriver, and Bernie Spera, 83, of Ashland, a retired airline employee and former mayor of Milbrae, Calif.

Of the three, Christofferson appears to be running the most serious campaign. She is the founder of a telecommunications company that helps businesses make sure their toll-free numbers are reliable.

Christofferson also served on the board of Cover Oregon, which just announced it is abandoning the dysfunctional website after spending $248 million on it. That likely won't help her chances against Walden, but she insists the health care reform law needs to be fixed, not dumped, and she criticizes Walden for voting with House Republicans 49 times to repeal it.

" 'No' is not a plan for how to solve anything," she told the Bend Bulletin.

"No" is not the way to get things done in Washington, either. 2nd District Democrats should say yes to Christofferson's nomination.

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