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Our View: Don't play games

A few words of advice for the Jackson County Board of Commissioners when they choose an interim replacement for state Sen. Alan Bates, who died suddenly Aug. 5: Make your decision based on the best interests of District 3 residents, not on politics.

Bates was a Democrat in a swing district who had to fend off strong challenges. He wasn't on the ballot this year, but his seat is now. Whoever is elected Nov. 8 will take office in January, then have to run again in 2018 to keep the seat.

The commissioners will choose an interim replacement — to serve until January — from among three names submitted by the county Democratic Party. One of the three is Medford attorney Tonia Moro, who was chosen last week to be the Democratic nominee on the November ballot; the other two are former Talent Police Chief Mike Moran and Kevin Talbert, former chief information officer for Southern Oregon University.

The commissioners, all Republicans, could be tempted to choose based on what would most help the GOP candidate on the November ballot. That would be cynical and short-sighted.

In 2004, when Republican Sen. Lenn Hannon resigned to take a state job, County Commissioner Dave Gilmour, a Democrat, said he voted to appoint someone he considered a weak candidate to help the Democratic nominee's chances in November. He got points for honesty, but not for serving the public.

The commissioners should choose the best person for the job, and refrain from playing games.