The filing deadline for anyone wishing to run for the state Legislature in the May, 2002 primary is March 12. Already at least two Crook County residents have announced their intent to file and another has decided not to. A Jackson County man considering the race has also been reportedly interested.
>Both the Republican and Democrat parties have been busy, contacting people they think would make viable candidates for the newly created legislative district
As of Dec. 15, the newly created House District 55, which includes all of Crook and Lake counties and parts of Klamath and Jackson counties, will be represented by an appointed member of the state House of Representatives. The new Senate district, Dist. 28, will be represented until the Nov. 5, 2002 general election, by Sen. Steve Harper of Klamath Falls.
Both of these men were appointed as part of the statewide redistricting of legislative districts. Neither of the two legislators reside in their appointed districts and will not be eligible to file for those districts.
Rep. Tim Knopp (R-Dist. 54) said he had talked with George Gillman, a resident of Eagle Point in Jackson County. Gillman served one term in the House in the 1980s and is now retired.
"This is one of the more difficult districts created by (Secretary of State Bill) Bradbury," Knopp said. "George told me he drove from Eagle Point to Prineville and back and that it)s about 750 miles round-trip. It'll be a very difficult district in which to campaign."
Locally, a number of people have talked about the possiblity of running for the House of Representatives. Both Prineville insurance agent Chet Petersen and former county judge Fred Rodgers have been on that list. Both, for different reasons, have decided not to continue.
One potential candidate made his intentions known at a morning meeting Tuesday, while introducing Bend Rep. Tim Knopp. Mike Lunn, a retired US Forest Service forest supervisor, has been active with the Chamber of Commerce since relocating in Crook County.
Lunn was a member of the committee formed to investigate the proposal that would have combined the Ochoco National Forest with the Deschutes National Forest and now operates as an independent consultant. Lunn said he will file as a Republican.
The Democratic Party has been busy trying to find a viable candidate, also. A former member of the Prineville city council said she has been contacted by Democrats in Salem and asked to think about running for the House. Karole Stockton, an employee of Crestview Cable, said she is thinking about it.
Petersen said he is backing out of contention. "When there didn't appear to be someone I could support, I thought I'd give it a shot. But with Lunn's announcement, I have changed my mind."
Former Crook County Judge Fred Rodgers has also been thinking about making a run for the House. However, after talking to a number of those who are either in the office or have been there, and thinking about the limitations such a move would make on his retirement plans - he has decided not to file.
With almost four months before the filing deadline, and other parts of the district yet to be heard from, the race for the primary has only begun.