Local government

The race starts – Thursday is first day to file for key public offices

VALE – The first day for candidates to file for the May 21, 2024 primary election is this Thursday, Sept. 14.

The deadline to file for the election is 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 12.

Potential candidates can pick up filing forms at the Malheur County Clerks office in Vale or go online to https://sos.oregon.gov/elections/Pages/electionform.aspx.

Following are local offices that will be on the ballot, and the current office-holders. Candidates can file with the clerk’s office.

  • County commissioner, Position #2 (four-year term) – Ron Jacobs, Republican.
  • Malheur County Sheriff, (four-year term) – R. Travis Johnson, non-partisan.
  • Malheur County Assessor (four-year term) – David Ingram, non-partisan.
  • Justice of the Peace (six-year term) – Margaret (Margie) Mahony, non-partisan.

Candidates should file with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office for several other positions that will be on the ballot:

  • Malheur County Circuit Court Judge, Position 2, (non-partisan, six-year term) – now held by Lung Hung.

State Senator, District 30 (four-year term) – now held by Lynn Findley, Republican.

State Representative, District 60 (two-year term)– now held by Mark Owens, Republican. Owens has filed for office again, according to state Elections Division records.

Findley’s reelection bid is uncertain because of Measure 113 and a lawsuit recently to challenge it.

The measure, a state constitutional amendment passed by voters last November, was intended to curb walkouts by legislators during a legislative session by forbidding them from seeking reelection if they racked up 10 or more unexcused absences from a session.

A group of Republican legislators – including Findley – contend the language used in the measure and constitutional amendment does not mean what voters thought, and that it may not prevent legislators from running in the next election. The Republican caucus cites wording that legislators with at least 10 unexcused absences cannot hold office for the “term following the election after the members’ current term is completed.”

Elections in Oregon are held before the term of a legislator is finished. Republicans say that means the Constitution grants them the flexibility to serve other terms before they step down because of unexcused absences.

In August, Secretary of State La Vonne Griffin-Valade ordered the Oregon Elections Division to implement an administrative rule that Measure 113 bans legislators from running for reelection if they collected 10 or more unexcused absences during the 2023 Legislative session. Late last month the five Republican senators and the Oregon Department of Justice asked the Oregon Court of Appeals to send the issue straight to the state Supreme Court for a faster resolution.

Findley previously told the Enterprise he was not sure if he would run for reelection again.

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