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What a way to run an election

As I was researching the local candidates on the Oregon secretary of state's website, I noticed that all the incumbent Republicans who are running unopposed are registered as Democratic write-in candidates. Do you know what the strategy is behind that?

— Connie S.,

Central Point

Just covering their bases, Connie, and keeping their campaign expenses down.

What you've seen on the secretary of state's site is a list of the candidates and the parties they were nominated by in the May primary. Hard as it may be for some to believe, Democrats nominated those Republicans to represent Democrats on the November ballot.

OK, it's not quite as weird as it sounds. In races where there are no challengers, candidates often ask registered voters in the other party to vote for them as write-in candidates. Assuming they get the most write-in votes, that means when the general election rolls around, they are guaranteed to have no opposition from the other major party.

Locally, state Reps. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, and Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, were winners in both the Republican and Democratic primaries.

The practice is not limited to Republicans or to major parties, for that matter. In the secretary of state race, incumbent Kate Brown is the nominee of the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party, while her opponent, Knute Buehler, is the nominee of the Republican Party and the Independent Party (not to be confused with independents, who are listed as non-affiliated candidates). That may help them avoid having votes siphoned off by third-party candidates.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.