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Presidential candidates disappoint Rep. Johnson

Oregon Republicans divided on support of party nominee

COURTESY PHOTO - GOP nominee Donald J. Trump is not thrilling every Republican officer holder in Oregon. Some say they don't support him.Last week, Bill Bryant, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Washington, announced he is not supporting Donald Trump.

This came on the heels of similar announcements by prominent Republicans across the country, including some right here in Oregon. Locally, Rep. Mark Johnson, a Republican elected to House District 52 serving Sandy and the mountain commuities, has said he is disappointed with the choices in the race for the White House.

Just down the road, Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, an avowed Republican, has taken a strong anti posture with the GOP nominee, while other prominent local members of the Grand Old Party are either less outspoken or fully on board the Trump train.

In the last week, the Pamplin Media Group reached out to nearly 100 Republicans holding elective office, seeking office or otherwise currently or formerly involved with party politics. What we found was a wide range of opinions.

Republican Kevin Mannix, for example, a former gubernatorial candidate, is bullish on Trump, while Kerry Tymchuck, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, is so upset with the GOP nominee that he quit the party and will vote for Hillary Clinton.


• Who are you supporting for president?

• If not Donald Trump, why not?

• If you are supporting Trump, to what extent? Specifically:

• If invited to attend his upcoming events in the Northwest, would you appear with him?

• If he offered his endorsement, would you accept and promote it in campaign materials?

• Given the current polling, do you think the Republican National Committee should devote its typical share of campaign funds on the presidential race or put more money into Congressional candidates?

• Anything else you’d like to add?


Mark Johnson

FILE PHOTO - Rep, Mark JohnsonState Representative, District 52, which includes Sandy, mountain communities, East Gresham, Corbett, Columbia River Gorge and a portion of Boring.

Supporting: Not saying

Comment: I think that if we’re being honest most of us wish there was a ‘none of the above’ box on our presidential ballot. Rather than dwelling on the mess that our national political scene has become, I’m staying focused on what I can do to serve my district and be a positive influence in our state. I have not endorsed any of the candidates for president (as I never have in the past) and don’t have any future plans to do so.

Shane Bemis

Mayor of Gresham

Supporting: Won’t say (but not Trump)

FILE PHOTO - Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis.Why not Trump? I grew up in the era of Ronald Reagan, who united the Country and won a staggering 49 states in 1984. I admired his leadership and ability to communicate and inspire people with an optimistic, patriotic message. I cannot imagine a more staggering contrast to Reagan’s approach than that embodied by Donald Trump. He is attempting to win the election by dividing people with hateful rhetoric and scaring people into submission through a distorted, extremely negative worldview. I would harshly punish my children if they remarked on women, immigrants, and people of non-Christian faith like Trump does. How could I support a candidate who demonstrates such a blatant disregard for traditional American liberties and values?

Endorsement offer? I would immediately take a bath, and then I’d patently reject his endorsement.

RNC advice? Spending money on Donald Trump is like buying coffin nails by the crate. I think the RNC should invest in a message that reflects our constitutional values, inspires promise and optimism, and offers an intellectual alternative to the Democrats’ pattern of deficit-spending and new guaranteed entitlements. In this election, that would mean making investments much further down the ballot.

Sonny Yellott

Member of the Mt. Hood Community College Board and candidate for House District 48

Supporting: Trump

Endorsement offer? Certainly

RNC advice? Just carry on. It seems to be working

Comment: Donald Trumps the rest!

Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Mayor of Happy Valley and candidate of House District 51, which includes a portion of Damascus and neighborhoods on the south side or Gresham.

Supporting: Not saying

Comment: Donald Trump has not earned Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer’s endorsement.

Bill Kennemer

State Representative, District 39 (Estacada, Eagle Creek, and portions of Boring and Damascus)

Supporting: Not saying

Alan Olsen

State Senator, District 20, which includes portions of Boring and Damascus.

Supporting: Trump

Comment: I whole heartedly support Donal Trump. I will endorse him. I will show up at any event he’s got going that I am invited to.

RNC advice? The RNC should put their money in the presidential race. It’s critical. It’s key. We cannot have Hillary Clinton as president. She will destroy America.


Daniel Zene Crowe

Candidate for state Attorney General

Supporting: Donald Trump.

Comment (about his personal vote): We have a couple of months before I make my final decision. Of course I am concerned about some things Mr. Trump is reported to have said — no leader should get a free pass. I will be watching both candidates closely to assess whether Mr. Trump can discipline himself and whether Mrs. Clinton suddenly becomes honest. Mr. Trump’s focus on protecting the liberty and job of every American regardless of race, creed, or political affiliation is refreshing.

RNC advice? Instead of focusing on a small number of malcontents intent on advancing their own races, I would instead focus on the thousands of loyal Republicans who are supporting our nominee and opposing Mrs. Clinton’s demonstrated track record of cronyism, corruption, warmongering and lying. I believe that’s why thousands of Bernie supporters are going to be voting for Mr. Trump in this election. Oregonians are as sick of corruption as I am.

Bud Pierce

Candidate for Governor

Supporting: Trump

Trump event? I am focused on my own campaign and sharing my vision of unity, inclusiveness, and respect based around the dignity of work, and would not appear at any events.

Endorsement: I would like the voters of Oregon to judge me as a candidate based on my own merits and policy ideas on how to better improve the lives of our citizens.

Comment: I am concerned about the lack of unity and inclusiveness from our nominee, but would cast a ballot in his favor due to the fact that I am unable to support Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. I am a Republican, and our nominee was chosen democratically through the primary process, in contrast to Hillary Clinton who was only able to clinch the nomination from insider super delegates like Kate Brown and action by corrupt officials in the DNC. As governor of the State of Oregon, my administration will strive to set a standard of inclusion, respect and unity. I am deeply concerned by the behavior of the Republican nominee, and while I am supporting him because I cannot trust Hillary Clinton, it is becoming harder and harder everyday to maintain that support.

Jeff Gund

Candidate for Oregon State Treasurer

Supporting: Undecided

Why not Trump (yet)? I was a strong supporter of Governor Kasich in the primary, but have yet to make a decision in the general. I have heard great things about Gary Johnson, but I haven’t been able to devote any time to it as I’ve been entirely focused on the Treasurer’s race.

Endorsement offer? If it is offered, I will consider it.

Dan Lavey

Staffer for former U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, now runs a Portland consulting firm

Supporting: Libertarian Gary Johnson

Why not Trump? I’m not supporting Trump because he is both a lousy candidate and completely unsuited to be president and Commander in Chief. He’s a narcissist and has zero principles or vision for the country - other than ‘elect me.’ He’s a political clown.

Comment: Hillary is awful and a phony. She has no principles other than ‘elect me’ and grow the government even bigger than it already is. I’m voting Johnson/Weld. Two successful former GOP governors from blue states. Both are qualified, inclusive, tolerant and believe in limited government.

Kevin Mannix

Former state lawmaker, former state GOP chairman, Republican candidate for governor (2002)

Supporting: Donald Trump

Comment: I am supporting Donald Trump for president because he will appoint justices to the Supreme Court, and the other federal benches, who will not engage in progressive judicial activism; he respects both the First and Second Amendments and will not undermine them; and he is Pro-Life. As to all of these substantive factors, he is the opposite of Hillary Clinton.

Dennis Richardson

Former state representative, 2014 candidate for governor, currently running for Oregon Secretary of State

Supporting: Not saying

Comment: The Secretary of State’s office requires impartiality and as I hope to be head of the Elections Division, I have refrained this cycle from endorsing any candidates.

Jack Roberts

Former state labor commissioner

Supporting: Undecided (but not Trump)

Why not Trump? I don’t believe Trump has the knowledge, temperament or experience to be President. I also strongly disagree with his views on trade, immigration and foreign policy. I will probably write-in someone or perhaps vote Libertarian.

RNC advice? I think it is too early to make that decision. Even though I personally don’t support Trump, I don’t know whether failing to spend money on that race will hurt turnout for Republican congressional candidates more than increased spending for those candidates directly will help.

Gordon Smith

Former U.S. Senator, now CEO of National Association of Broadcasters

Supporting: Not saying

Kerry Tymchuk

Former speechwriter for Senator Bob Dole and U.S. Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole, state director for U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith

Supporting: Clinton

Comment: I supported Gov. Kasich in the presidential primaries. After it became apparent that Trump would be nominee, re-registered as “unaffiliated” and will be voting for Secretary Clinton. Working for Elizabeth Dole and Bob Dole for eight years and Gordon Smith for 12 years provided me with a bird’s eye view of government at its highest level and the personal attributes of effective leaders. It has long been clear to me that Donald Trump lacks any of those attributes. I decided that as long as Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party, then I cannot in good conscience be a member of that party.