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Former state rep launches bid for seat in Senate

Although it came down to the wire, it turns out that state Sen. Bruce Starr will have an opponent for his re-election bid after all — and it will be a familiar one.

With a March 11 deadline on filing to run for the office, Chuck Riley — a Hillsboro resident and former three-term Oregon state representative — waited until the morning of March 10 to jump into the race against Starr, who has served as the 15th Senate District’s senator since he was first elected in 2002.

The 15th District covers western Washington County, including the cities of Hillsboro, Forest Grove and Cornelius.

Riley, an Air Force veteran and former small business owner, faced off against Starr in 2010. Starr won, but the margin was relatively narrow: Starr carried 52.1 percent against Riley’s 47.6 percent.

Riley was first elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2004, and he served three terms. In the middle of his third term, he decided to run for a seat in the Oregon Senate against Starr.

Riley said there were several reasons why he decided to launch another campaign this year.

“We’re not treating education well, and we need to work on that,” Riley said. “One of my goals is to get that done. That and working on getting good paying jobs.”

Starr said he was not surprised he had a challenger.

“I look forward to having the opportunity to talk to voters over the next several months about the things I’ve done to support jobs in the county and to fund schools to the level they need to be,” Starr said. “We’re going to talk about growing the economy and leading efforts to fund infrastructure projects for Washington County. These are things I fought for and will continue to fight for.”

Riley said that because of political trends, he believes the district is ripe to flip from the Republican column.

“We have two Democratic representatives in the district and a Democratic registration edge,” Riley explained. “I absolutely think I have a good shot at winning this one. 2010 was a very tough year for Democrats, and I only lost by about four percentage points. The world has changed. I think Starr is the most vulnerable senator in the state.”

Starr, however, expressed confidence in how voters would respond when they looked at his record of service to the district.

“If he wants to have another go-around, I look forward to it,” Starr said.

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