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The race for the state's highest office drew six Democrats, five Republicans and two Independents



PARIS ACHEN - Gov. Kate Brown files for election Tuesday to complete the rest of former Gov. John Kitzhaber's term.Gov. Kate Brown was the last of a field of Democrats and Republicans to file for election for governor Tuesday, the deadline for the primary.

“I am certainly honored to have the opportunity to help make sure that every Oregonian has an opportunity to thrive and that we continue to grow the economy in every single corner of the state,” Brown said Tuesday.

By Tuesday’s deadline, the field of candidates included six Democrats, five Republicans and two Independents.

Brown is anticipated to be a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination, according to political analysts. The other Democrats who have filed for the May 17 primary include Ashland physician Julian Bell, Springfield professional driver Chet Chance, Walmart produce team member Kevin Forsythe of Newport, Portland home care worker Steve Johnson and Portland environmental engineer and attorney Dave Stauffer.

In the Republican primary, Lake Oswego businessman Allen Alley and Salem oncologist Bud Pierce are the frontrunners in the Republican field, according to political analysts.

Other Republicans who filed are Lyons real estate broker Bruce Cuff, state worker Bob Forthan of Portland and Tigard engineer Bob Niemeyer.

Independents Cliff Thomason, president Orhempco Inc., of Grants Pass, and certified nursing assistant Patrick W. Barney, of Gresham, also are vying the state’s highest office.

Jim Moore, politics professor at Pacific University and director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation, said Alley has the best chances in the Republican primary.

HANDOUT - Lake Oswego businessman Allen AlleyAlley, a technology investor and former CEO of Pixelworks, is a familiar face in Oregon politics. He served as deputy chief of staff in the administration of Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski. He sought the Republican nomination for governor in 2010 but lost to Chris Dudley.

In 2008, he launched a successful bid for the Republican nomination for state treasurer in the primary and lost to Democrat Ben Westlund in the general election.

“Alley is an economic conservative. Social conservatives have virtually no chance at winning Oregon statewide elections,” Moore said. “Alley’s business experience and ideas for policies will make him a stronger candidate than any of the other Republicans.”

Pierce is counting on a national climate of dissatisfaction with career politicians — as demonstrated by support for presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump — to give him an edge in the race. While Alley has been out of the spotlight for several years, Pierce said Alley is an established politician.

“There is corruption and failed public policy in state government,” Pierce said. “This is a time when people are looking for different kinds of leaders, and career politicians need to step aside.

“I believe I can win and the time will come when Oregon voters will say they don’t want to vote for the same people,” Pierce said.

Whoever is the Republican nominee, he will struggle to topple Brown, Moore said.

“Brown is a formidable opponent,” Moore said. “Alley will have an uphill battle to break through the Democratic advantage in registration, especially in a presidential year when turnout is a higher and higher percentage of Democrats votes than in the off-year elections.”


By Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau Reporter
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