By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

State Rep. Nearman bests Jaffer in HD 23

Danny Jaffer knew he faced formidable odds in unseating incumbent Republican State Rep. Mike Nearman in House District 23.

Still, he was stunned by the 8.84 percent lead Nearman had Tuesday evening, eliminating any chance he had for victory.

"There are apparently people in the district who don't mind voting for an avowed racist," said Jaffer.

Nearman has historically taken a hard-line toward immigrants during his two terms, leading efforts to require voters prove their U.S. citizenship and compel local police to assist in immigration enforcement.

His views clearly rankled Jaffer.

"I'm trying to be nice about it, but I really am just amazed," he said. "We have a president who says those sorts of views are OK."

Jaffer said he and his volunteers worked hard to give the district's voters, mostly in Polk County with a small piece of Yamhill County, an alternative.

"We worked harder than anyone ever has in the district," he said. "We did a lot of things. We pushed the needle, but we obviously didn't push it far enough. It means two more years of the district not having representation and dealing with obstructionism."

Nearman, who has repeatedly ignored requests to talk to news media, did not return phone calls placed on election night.

Jaffer, who ran unsuccessfully for Polk County commissioner in 2010 and 2014, was born and raised in Monmouth and now lives south of Independence.

After graduating from Oregon State University, he served for 20 years as a Navy pilot and served in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm as well as the war on terrorism.

Before being elected to the Legislature, Nearman served as chairman of the Polk County Republican Party. He is on the board of directors of Oregonians for Immigration Reform.

Districtwide, Jaffer had 11,304 votes and Nearman with 13,304. Libertarian Mark Karnowski trailed with 484. Among Yamhill County, Jaffer had 1,894 votes and Nearman had 2,585 votes. Karnowski had 114.

In Polk County, the nucleus of the district, Jaffer had 4,949 votes and Nearman had 6,442. In Benton County, Jaffer was in the lead with 54.41 percent of the vote to Nearman's 43.79 percent.

He had 3,511 Benton County votes to Nearman's 2,826 votes. Karnowski had 113 votes in Benton County for 1.75 percentage of the county's vote.



To Danny Jaffer: Hang in there. Nearman and his followers' days are numbered. Bigotry and racism will eventually lose out. Change does not come easily, but it does come.

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