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place, politics and power in oregon

SD 14: Return of the Hass, or A New Hope? August 14, 2007

Filed under: Oregon Senate,Washington County — taoiseach @ 4:34 pm

Ryan DeckertThere were rumblings among the Democrats in the Oregon House of Representatives late in the legislative session about the prospects of Senator Ryan Deckert (D-Beaverton). Elected for a fourth term to the legislature in 2004, two of which were to the Senate and two to the House, Deckert would have had to face re-election in 2008 should he want to retain his seat. And, judging from past election returns, this would have been a relatively easy feat: he narrowly ousted Eileen Qutub in 2000 and four years later easily held back Republican challenger Jay Omdahl. Many expected the young senator to run for state Treasurer, as the office’s current occupant, Randall Edwards, is barred from another term.

At the close of the session, though, Capitol insiders heard rumors of a different path for Deckert, which was confirmed August 1, when he announced his resignation from the legislature to serve as the head of the Oregon Business Association.

The obvious next question: Who takes Deckert’s seat?

The answer lies in a complicated equation of territory and past incumbency. Senate District 14 encompasses the southern parts of Aloha and Beaverton, reaching past Raleigh Hills into the Sylvan Highlands. Like all other Oregon Senate seats, it is divided into two seats in the House of Representatives, House Districts 27 (to the east) and 28 (to the west), which are occupied by Rep. Tobias Read and Rep. Jeff Barker, respectively. But perhaps most interestingly, it is the Senate District where Read’s predecessor, Mark Hass (D-Raleigh Hills), resides.

Mark HassHass served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2001 to 2006 and prior to that worked as the legislative correspondent for KATU Channel 2. During his second term he made a bid to replace outgoing Minority Leader Deborah Kafoury, but ultimately lost to Rep. Jeff Merkley, who served as Speaker during the 2007 Session and is now off challenging Sen. Gordon Smith. After the 2005 session, Hass ruled out a fourth term in the House so that he could spend more time with his family.

But suppose for a minute Hass left because he didn’t like where Merkley was taking the caucus at the time? With Merkley giving up his seat for a run at the U.S. Senate, and a vacancy for a seat in an entirely different chamber, it’s entirely likely that Hass will become interested in the legislature again. One clue is the upcoming Washington County Democrats‘ meeting agenda, which features DNC Committeeman Wayne Kinney explaining the process for appointing a new legislator in a vacancy.

Assuming Hass is in, who are the other possibilities? There is, of course, Tobias Read, but then again Read owes part of his extremely-narrow primary victory over Mike Bohan to Mark Hass, who endorsed Read in the primary. So a campaign by Read against Hass is unlikely. Furthermore, Barker seems comfortable in the House and is probably close to finishing his legislative career. Another four years may be longer that the commitment he’s willing to make.

Since 95% of the Democrats of SD 14 reside in Washington County, with the remainder in Multnomah, the slate of 3 to 5 nominees submitted to the two Boards of Commissioners will likely be full of Democrats from the Washington County side.

But will Mark Hass be on that slate? And if so, will the Washington County Commissioners give him another chance to serve their interests in Salem?

Perhaps we will find out at the next Washington County Dems meeting.

UPDATE: Michelle Cole at the Oregonian has posted an article to the ‘Politics Blog’ with comments from Hass about his announcement.

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14 Responses to “SD 14: Return of the Hass, or A New Hope?”

  1. David Says:

    Hass is doing something. I got a card from him inviting me to a “Political Announcement” for him on 8/29 in Griffith Park. I can’t think it would be anything but for State Senate.

  2. Glen HD28 Says:

    Hi Tao,
    Congratulations, mazol tov and best wishes on the new site. Kudos for the excellent summary of the impending change of SD14 . Yesterday I had a postcard in the mail from Mark Haas, inviting neighbors to attend a political announcement on Sat at Griffith Park. I wonder what it could be?
    There are indeed a few others considering a bid for the Senate seat, but nobody I can confirm at this time. I imagine announcements will appear at future WashcoDems meetings, and our http://www.washcodems.org (full disclosure: I’m a Precinct Person, House District Leader in HD28, and Associate Webmaster for the party. Any opportunity to plug the site will be taken without hesitation!)
    I also wanted to inform you that the Link to the Washington County Democrats does not seem to work, the destination should be http://www.washcodems.org
    Good luck,
    Glen

  3. Liz Says:

    As an old friend, I would love to see Mark Hass return to politics. As someone who has been part of the replacement process more than once (as a pct. person) it will be interesting to see what develops.

  4. taoiseach Says:

    Thanks David, Glen and Liz. I used to live in HD27/SD14 but moved after college to Portland, so I didn’t get anything from Mr. Hass.

    For what it’s worth, there have to be at least two others nominated to a slate. Who do you think it will be? Glen, you live in the district, would you accept a nomination?

    Go WashCo Dems!

  5. David Says:

    I also live in the district and I think the following are possible:

    1. Hass.
    2. Mike Bohan (Read’s opponent in the HD 27 primary whom he beat by about 100 votes).
    3. Barker, not surprisingly.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a placeholder (ala Joe Smith in 2004) to allow for a primary. Still, the Wash Co Commissioners are generally D favorable now, so I think they’d follow the party’s lead.

  6. WashCo_Blue Says:

    As a Beaverton resident, all I can say is that we would be lucky to have Representative Hass run for this
    Senate seat. He has a lot of experience, has worked very hard to help the working people and knows the ropes.
    I met him at the Neuberger Banquet last year, and I was very impressed with him.

    I can’t imagine anyone more qualified than Representative Hass.

  7. James X. Says:

    What might Hass not have liked about Merkley’s leadership? How much daylight is between them on the issues?

  8. Lyndon Ruhnke Says:

    I might be mistaken, but I don’t think Hass left the House because of any problems with Merkley. I think he had some serious family issues to deal with and needed to tend to those issues. He is without a doubt a fine individual and a serious policymaker. I can’t imagine a better person to represent Washington County in the Senate. I ran Mark’s first campaign and recall that his understanding of the issues and his district were amazing. Before any speculation regarding the reasons for his exit from the legislature begins to bubble I hope someone will ask him.

  9. Glen HD28 Says:

    Tao,Thanks for the kind thought but I am not interested (or likely qualified) in running for a Senate seat. I’m currently an elected PCP & HD Leader, and serve on some county party committees, that’s the most I can deal with for now. Let the really smart folks run and I’ll just cheer from the sidelines.
    I’m not so sure about Jeff Braker moving to the Senate, I have read comments by others saying more likely one more term in the Hizzouse (but ya never know!) and there’s this from the O yesterday:
    http://blog.oregonlive.com/politics/2007/08/prediction_hass_will_run.html
    And yes I do know of other possible names but am sworn to secrecy under pain of death.
    Mark’s Big Announcement at Griffith Park will be on Saturday the 25th, I think around 11AM (not the 29th)
    Next weeks WashcoDems meeting will feature an explanation of the procedure to replace a State Leg mid-term. Be there, in Aloha. Click my name for link.
    Last of all, I suspect I know both Tao & Washco_Blue but can’t quite decide who they are yet. Hmmm….

  10. taoiseach Says:

    Of course, the only person who knows why Mark Hass left the legislature is Mark Hass. But the timing is interesting. Mark Hass well could have been Speaker if he had won that Minority Leader race, assuming that he would have done as fine a job as Merkley in running the caucus in the 2006 election.

    Bohan seems almost sure to get in at this point.

  11. […] a more in-depth look at the process, look here. As referenced in the Boundary’s first substantive post way back in August, there is already […]

  12. […] SD 14: Return of the Hass, or a New Hope?   […]

  13. […] SD 14: Return of the Hass, or a New Hope?   […]

  14. Liz Says:

    Return of the Jedi!


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