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High Desert May primary races set


There was only one filing-day surprise in Central Oregon for the May 20 th primary election, and it was in Crook County.

Tuesday at 5 p.m. was the filing deadline, and on the last day, Prineville City Councilor Jack Seley filed to take on county Commissioner and fellow Republican Seth Crawford.

In Deschutes County, Commissioner Tony DeBone faces fellow Republican Richard Esterman in May, and the winner will move on to face Democrat (and Bend City Councilor) Jodie Barram in November.

No one filed to run against county Commissioner Tammy Baney this year, but DA Patrick Flaherty faces challenger John Hummel in likely the highest-profile local race of the spring campaign.

In another non-partisan race, Randy Miller and T.J. Spear are seeking the Deschutes County Circuit Court judgeship held by retiring Barbara Haslinger.

In Jefferson County, Tom Brown, Mae Huston and Mike Throop will square off for the county commission seat being vacated by John Hatfield, while Commissioner Mike Ahern has drawn a challenger, Floyd Paye.

Two ballot measures are on tap, one being the city of Bend’s five-year local option levy for fire and EMS services.

Crook County voters, meanwhile, will decide on a measure submitted by county leaders that would make the county judge and commissioner’s offices non-partisan, starting this fall.

As state Rep. Jason Conger, R-Bend, leaves that post as one of five Republicans to run for the U.S. Senate, Republican Knute Buehler and Democrat Craig Wilhelm are seeking Conger’s House District 54 seat. In House District 55, Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, will face a fall challenge from Democrat Richard Phay.

Other county positions around the High Desert have the incumbents running unopposed on the ballot in either May or November, as dictated by state law.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., has a GOP challenger in Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum, while three Democrats – Aelea Christofferson, Barney Spera and C.F. (Frank) Vulliet – square off for that nomination.

At the state level, Gov. John Kitzhaber, seeking re-election, faces Ifeanyichukwu Diru in the Democratic primary, while a half-dozen Republicans — Tim Carr, Gordon Chailstrom, Bruce Cuiff, Darren Karr, Mae Rafferty and Dennis Richardson – vie to take him on in the fall.

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