By Don Iler • News Editor • 

GOP dominates Independent Party process

Kitzhaber won the Independent nomination in 2012. This time around, however, Oregon Right to Life and other Republican-aligned groups lobbied registered Independents successfully enough to secure the nomination for Richardson, a state representative from the Southern Oregon community of Central Point. 

Sal Peralta, Independent Party secretary, said the nomination seems to go back and forth depending on the money and effort invested in the campaign by groups aligned with the major parties. He said Richardson’s campaign and other Republican groups spent a lot of time calling Independent party members lobbying for votes, and it paid off for them. 

In other local races, Republican Beth Jones, a Dallas city councilor, won the Independent nomination for House District 23. However, Jones informed Independent party officials she was withdrawing her candidacy. 

Jones would have faced fellow Republican Mike Nearman in the general election. Nearman won the GOP nomination over incumbent Jim Thompson, buoyed by more than $90,000 in contributions from Oregon Right to Life and the Oregon Family Council. 

Ken Moore of McMinnville won the Independent Party nomination in House District 24. Moore, who won the Democratic nomination in the May primary, will face incumbent Republican Jim Weidner in the general election in November. 

Chuck Lee, who is running as an Independent-only candidate, won the nomination in House District 25, which includes Newberg. Lee will face conservative talk show host Bill Post, who won the Republican nomination.

The seat is currently held by Republican Kim Thatcher, who gave it up to mount a state Senate bid. 

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