By editorial board • 

All that glitters isn’t gubernatorial

On the state level, the governor’s race probably will earn top billing in the general election. However, not so much in the primary.

We’ve not been overly impressed with Democratic incumbent Kate Brown. In the main, her positions have proven cautious, conventional and predictable. She seems to reliably align with the party’s campaign underwriters, notably the state’s powerful public employee unions.

However, her May 15 challengers, Ed Jones of Redmond and Candace Neville of Eugene, don’t have a prayer of taking her down. The purpose of the primary is to let the party faithful select the best candidate to represent them in the fall, and Brown is clearly her party’s choice to continue a decades-long domination of the office.

Gubernatorial balloting is only slightly more interesting on the Republican side. There are 10 contenders, but only three of note — favored moderate Knute Buehler of Bend and far right rabble-rousers Sam Carpenter of Bend and Greg Wooldridge of Portland.

Buehler, a Rhodes Scholar who earned his medical degree at prestigious Johns Hopkins, represents the GOP’s only realistic hope. It would be folly for the party to turn to a fringe candidate lacking any crossover appeal.

Down ticket, three non-partisan races are drawing scant attention. However, they stand to be settled in May balloting and arguably make a bigger difference in the long run.

Union County Commissioner Jack Howard, Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden and former House Majority leader Val Hoyle of Eugene are competing for commissioner of the state Bureau of Labor and Industries, commonly known as BOLI.

Hoyle’s lifelong allegiance to the labor movement and Democratic Party make us hesitate. However, she’s far better qualified to manage a major state agency than her opponents, which tips the balance for us.

Longtime Oregon jurist Meagan Flynn, promoted from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court early last year, is facing a challenge from Salem lawyer Van Pounds, who moved his practice in 2011 from Missouri to Oregon. The other two justices up this year run unopposed.

After earning degrees from Willamette and Gonzaga, Flynn clerked for the Oregon Court of Appeals from 1992 to 1994. She went on to specialize in appellate advocacy before being named to an appellate court judgeship herself. In our estimation, her credentials far outweigh those of Pounds.

Six terms are up on the Court of Appeals, but only one seat is being contested — that of veteran Rex Armstrong.

A 1977 graduate of the Univesity of Oregon School of Law, Armstrong clerked for Oregon Supreme Court Justice Hans Linde, then established a practice in civl litigation and appellate work in Portland. He was elected to the Court of Appeals in 1994 and re-elected in 2000, 2006 and 2112. We see no reason to replace him with challenger Kyle Krohn, a 34-year-old public defender from Salem.

We feel voters would be best served by sending Brown and Buehler to a November showdown, giving Hoyle the nod at BOLI, and retaining Flynn and Armstrong on the appellate bench.

Comments

Don Dix

From the article --'We’ve not been overly impressed with Democratic incumbent Kate Brown. In the main, her positions have proven cautious, conventional and predictable. She seems to reliably align with the party’s campaign underwriters, notably the state’s powerful public employee unions."

I can't think of anyone who should be impressed with Brown, with exception to the unions. She doesn't 'govern', she does as she is told (by those unions). Remember she was going to tackle the PERS situation? -- infrastructure? -- poor grad rates? Nothing!

But just wait -- as the election approaches, the same old, tired and unfilled promises will be forefront. Brown has had a complicit legislature and still gets nothing done but union demands.

For over 30 years, Oregon's government has had little interest in representing the state's best interests, and used the various government platforms to keep the status quo protected. Until Brown and others can survive without the money from unions, Oregon's unfunded debt (presently over $20B) will expand and grow even more out of control.

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