By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Countdown starts for another election

Counting this week, there are 10 Viewpoints sections before election day, so get ready for a steady stream of letters, editorials and commentary about candidates and issues on the November 8 ballot.

When newspapers make political endorsements, some readers respond: “Who cares what you think?” But they miss the point; newspaper editors care what you think. Actually, they don’t so much care what you think as they care that you think.

The prime directive for newspaper editorial sections is to provide a diverse community forum with disparate ideas for readers to consider. For that, we need your help and encourage your participation.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

Thus far, we haven’t seen significant excitement about campaigns for local candidates and measures. The state representative race between Ron Noble and Ken Moore should draw high interest, and several cities are proposing taxes on marijuana. Other area ballot measures will engage voters in individual communities, but don’t expect much controversy in local elections.

Statewide, Oregonians have important races for treasurer, secretary of state and, especially, governor. Decades of control by Democrats could be threatened by Dennis Richardson and Bud Pierce in the state and gubernatorial elections, respectively, but only if they can cut into the heavy Democrat pluralities in Portland and Eugene.

Seven statewide ballot measures mostly are yawners, but there will be enough fireworks from Measure 97 alone to make voters take notice. If approved, a tax on sales generated by large companies would provide an estimated $3 billion in annual state revenue — enough, perhaps, to pay the rising cost of public pensions.

If you want to start preparing early for the heated 97 debate, you can check out campaign websites at and

Primary and general election ballot measures often provide the highest interest and greatest controversy among Oregon voters. In my years of writing about Oregon politics, I count 372 statewide measures of every size and shape, the most contentious involving taxation and land use.

I guess that about covers the 2016 election, unless I’m missing something. Oh, of course, I understand there is a presidential election this year that might draw some attention.

Thinking back, this will be the first presidential election since 1968 I haven’t spent as editor of a newspaper, making it somewhat of a mental vacation. It turns out to be a good time to have made that change, since I don’t think I could support either Donald or Hillary in November.

Gary Johnson, anyone?

Jeb Bladine can be reached at of 503-687-1223. 

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