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Third candidate jumps in House District 54 race


A third-party candidate is hoping to secure enough votes to win Bend’s Oregon House District 54, a seat currently held by Republican Knute Buehler, who is running for governor.

Amanda La Bell, will be jumping into the race, running as a Working Families Party Democrat.

La Bell is not holding back.

She said she’s the alternative choice besides Nathan Boddie, the Democrats’ nominee who she says is unfit for elected office, and Republican challenger Cheri Helt, who she says has never been a champion for working families.

La Bell is no stranger to the Bend community. She is the founder and executive director of the Rebecca Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to supply reusable cloth diapers to families in need.

According to the Working Families website, La Bell is running as a second choice for Democrats, as Boddie remains on the ballot despite calls for him to step aside.

Boddie was accused earlier this year of past sexual harassment and discrimination. He denied the allegations, but critics said his comments about his accuser were personal attacks, causing him to lose supoport

Political analyst Judy Stiegler, who held the House seat in 2008, told NewsChannel 21 on Tuesday that La Bell will have an uphill climb to secure a win in November against Republican candidate Cheri Helt, but she said La Bell will pick up voters who are no longer supporting Boddie.

“Amanda La Bell coming in as a Working Families (Party) candidate will pick up a lot of those voters,” Stiegler said. “She will succeed in picking up those voters. The big issue is, can she pick up enough voters to be an active opponent, to be a realistic opponent for Cheri Helt?”

Helt spoke to NewsChannel 21 by phone Tuesday and said she welcomes La Bell to the race and will continue to focus on her campaign and not on the other candidates. She said if elected, she will work to fix Oregon schools.

Stiegler said District 54 has other issues than just schools.

“Education is a big issue obviously, but it’s not the only one, and you have to be able to and prepare to address multiple issues in a run for a state office like this,” she said. “There will be a multitude of issues that are going to be facing the Legislature this coming session. So she’s got to be prepared to address those issues as well.”

Ballots for the Nov. 6 election will be mailed out by Oct. 16.

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