The Washington County Democrats have sent out a press release indicating that Monday, October 29, will be the date of the convention to pick nominees for Senate District 14, which Sen. Ryan Deckert is vacating to serve as the Oregon Business Association President.
According to the Washington County Democrats website, Sen. Ryan Deckert intends to tender his resignation, which will become effective October 28, 2007. The website also stipulates the general process for the convention:
All current Senate District 14 Precinct Committee persons are eligible to cast nominating votes [. . .] You must be physically present to cast your votes and may not designate a substitute.
For 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 a group of local Democrats actively seeking appointment to Sen. Deckert’s seat. According to sources in and close to Washington County politics, the following are likely to jump into the nominating contest on Oct. 29:
- Betty Bode, current City of Beaverton councilor and health/human rights advocate
- Mike Bohan, former candidate for the Democratic nomination in House District 27
- Mark Hass, former state representative in House District 27
- Jennifer Warren, former county party officer
If those four are the only nomination-seekers at the convention, it’s possible that the precinct committee people of Senate District 14, which also includes a small chunk of Multnomah County, will all receive a nomination. Oregon election law allows the party nominating convention to pick between 3 and 5 nominees. The Boards of Commissioners for Washington and Multnomah County will select the replacement from among those nominated by the party, and proportionate to population of the district, the Washington County commissioners (3 Republicans, 2 Democrats) will have a lot more weight than their Multnomah County counterparts (4 Democrats, 1 non-affiliated).
One interesting factor in this race is Mark Hass’s candidacy in the May 2008 primary for this very seat. He is seeking to hold the seat both by interim appointment and by popular election. It seems that if for some reason former Representative Hass is not selected by the commissioners, he will run for the seat anyway, presumably against whoever else is selected. According to Washington County sources, it seems that it’s a possibility that Hass might not get the nod, though he’s by no means the underdog. That he has filed his candidacy for the office in 2008 is proof of this enough–but it does seem a shrewd move on Hass’s part to get the commissioners to acknowledge his name recognition and popularity among his former constituents.
The nominating convention itself probably won’t generate much excitement if the only contenders are those four above. If that’s the case, then look to the joint meeting of the commissioners as a rare moment in local politics: for one of the few times so far in Oregon’s history, Washington County’s decision will significantly outweigh that of Multnomah County.