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Hot Telfer-Knopp Battle Enters Final Stretch


Republicans have only two contested positions in the May Primary but the one that’s garnered the most attention? The race for Bend’s state senate.

Incumbent Chris Telfer faces former state representative Tim Knopp.

And much like the start of the race, Telfer and Knopp are still hammering away at each other.

“This campaign has been one of my opponent making lots of accusations about myself, my character and what I have and haven’t done,” Telfer told a weekend Republican candidates’ forum.

Since the beginning of the primary campaign, it’s been a heated battle.

Telfer is trying to hold onto the seat she was elected to four years ago, but Knopp, who is no stranger to politics, is challenging her.

“I want to give you a choice in this election — an opportunity to vote for somebody with a track record of success as it relates to limited government,” Knopp said.

Knopp, the former Oregon House majority leader, has attacked Telfer on a variety of topics in radio, TV and print ads and in person, including the fact that she’s switched parties, from Democrat to Republican.

“Like Ronald Reagan I at one point was a Democrat,” Telfer said. “I don’t remember people beating up on Ronald Reagan when he converted to being a Republican.”

He’s also criticized her support for a gas tax bill in 2009.

“I had the opportunity to weigh in and vote yes on that bill,” Telfer said “And I brought in $40 million to this community, to jobs and economic development.”

The two have also sparred over the state’s kicker law.

Knopp says that in 2007, the kicker returned $1 billion to the taxpayers.

“I want to make sure that it stays there and continues to protect you,” Knopp said.

Telfer said the kicker proposal she supported was nothing but a cap on spending — and the voters would have had the final say, anyway.

“What the bill did was, it capped spending at the same time,” Telfer said. “It tried to smooth out the volatility of our revenue by having a savings account.”

It’ll be interesting to see the race’s impact on the Deschutes County Republican Party and down the road, on relations between Bend’s state senator and his or her colleagues in Salem (several of whom have endorsed the challenger in this race).

The primary winner will face Democrat Geri Hauser, a geographic information systems analyst, in November.

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