By editorial board • 

Presidential election mayhem fuels urge to focus on local ballot items

The U.S. presidential race has provided daily reminders through the summer months of the pending November election. It’s been a nonstop political circus of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, with periodic splashes from minor party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.

At times, it has appeared more reality show than government election, thanks mostly to reality show actor Trump. And that has left us eager to turn our focus toward issues and candidates closer to home.

Labor Day, usually the unofficial kickoff, is still weeks away. The ballot lineups at the local level are just beginning to be decided, starting with Carlton. But the election at the state level is now solidified.

Voters in House District 24, covering much of the county, have an interesting race to consider. Local handyman, volunteer and TV show host Ken Moore is making a second bid on the Democratic ticket, but his opponent this time won’t be Jim Weidner, who’s stepping aside after four terms. Instead, it is former McMinnville Police Chief Ron Noble, who Weidner anointed as his GOP successor upon announcing his retirement.

We have high hopes for the race, as Moore and Noble are both known for character and integrity.

There are sure to be major divisions in the candidates’ platforms. Hopefully this election provides a less obstructive opportunity to discuss the needs of our state and communities without much of the bombast associated with other choices on the ballot.

The election for governor has been quiet. But challenger Bud Pierce, a Salem oncologist, has been building ground support through the state as he tries to become the first Republican governor since Victor Atiyeh served from 1979 to 1987.

Appointed incumbent Kate Brown has avoided the campaign trail. But her recent endorsement of Measure 97 has lit a fire under this race.

Measure 97, a proposed gross receipts tax, has been widely publicized and criticized in editorial pages like our own, and that will continue through election day. It’s expected to produce the most expensive ballot fight in state history.

Spoiler alert: The News-Register will be recommending an emphatic and resounding no vote.

Elsewhere, there are less contentious but still important measures, including one to designate state money for career ed and another to reallocate money from economic development to Outdoor School.

Those measures will lack in major headlines. But with the suffocating presidential race, it might be pleasant to debate Outdoor School this fall.

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