State Rep. Vic Backlund (R - Keizer) was surprised in mid-March, shortly after the deadline to file to run for office, when another Republican entered the bid for District 25, saying, “I didn’t expect that.”
After the May 18 primary, Backlund’s unexpected contender, Kim Thatcher, was the victor. Thatcher won the Republican bid for District 25, which covers Newberg, St. Paul and Keizer, with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
“I just really was so humbled, grateful, for the suport that was shown to me by my fellow Republicans,” said Thatcher, a Salem contractor. “And I hope we can succeed in carrying the Republican message through the general election.”
Thatcher collected 1,625 votes in Yamhill County, 987 more than Backlund’s 638 votes in the county. Considering Thatcher had 2,321 votes to Backlund’s 2,079 in Marion County – a difference of 242 votes – Yamhill County proved to be the swing vote.
Thatcher will face Democrat Roger Pike of Gervais in the Nov. 2 general election.
Like the Thatcher-Backlund matchup, the rest of the voting decisions made in Yamhill County occurred on the Republican ticket. The Yamhill County Clerk’s Office reported 17,786 Republican voters submitted mail-in ballots.
State Rep. Donna Nelson, the Republican incumbent from McMinnville, beat out two challengers for the opportunity to run again for District 24, which includes Dundee but not Newberg.
Nelson received 3,818 votes in Yamhill County, more than doubling McMinnville police officer Frank Butler’s 1,532 votes. Former Yamhill Mayor Charles Mitchell received 380 votes.
Nelson will face Democrat Tim Duerfeldt of McMinnville in the general election.
As the only Republican on the ballot for state senator of District 12, Gary George of Newberg won the nomination handily, with 5,122 votes from Yamhill County. He will face Democrat Hank Franzoni of McMinnville in the general election
Yamhill County Republicans were in sync with the rest of the state in selecting Goli Ameri to face incumbent U.S. Rep. David Wu in the general election for the 1st Congressional District.
Yamhill County Republicans gave 3,847 votes to Ameri, a telecommunications consultant from Tigard. Jason Meshell came in second in the county with 2,309 votes, and Tim Phillips took third in the county with 1,884 votes.
Weighing in on the race for U.S. Senator, Yamhill County Republicans gave 1,911 of their votes to Al King, who won the nomination. Thomas Abshier took the second most votes in the county with 1,686 and Bruce Broussard had the third most with 1,515.
King will face Democrat incumbent Ron Wyden in the general election.
Getting this far for a lot of candidates meant spending a lot of campaign money; the intra-party race between Thatcher and Backlund was no exception.
Thatcher had $58,682 in contributions to fuel her campaign against Backlund, according to contributions and expenditures (C&E) reports on the Oregon secretary of state’s Web site. The biggest contributor to Thatcher’s campaign was Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy, an anti-tax organization that helped defeat Measure 30 this spring. OCSE made more than $27,000 in contributions.
“I think that I’m a good candidate; it happens to be I carried a lot of the same message these tax groups carried,” Thatcher explained. “And that’s why they backed me.”
Thatcher’s policical committee, Friends of Kim Thatcher, spent the most campaign money — $13,585 — with George Advertising, a Tigard company owned by Larry George, the son of State Sen. Gary George and County Commissioner Kathy George.
Backlund’s campaign contributions had topped out at $18,750 by May 14, according to the C&E reports. What his political party, Vic Backlund for State Representative, spent on campaigning, however, more than doubled his contributions, at $42,641.
Oregon requires candidates to disclose their contributions that exceed $500 and expenditures that top $1,000. The numbers in this report reflect the filings as of May 14.
Backlund said the issue that did him in was taxes, but he chalked his loss up to a failure on his campaign’s part to respond to accussations made by the Thatcher campaign, accussations he characterized as half truths and misrepresentations.
“So the public, I think, believed what the hit pieces said,” Backlund said, adding that he enjoyed representing Newberg.
Backlund and Thatcher hadn’t spoken to each other about joining forces to campaign for the November general election, but Backlund said it’s tradition for the party to reunite after the primaries and Thatcher said she’s hopeful Backlund will come to her aid.
Thatcher said she her campaign for the general will remain the same as it was in the primary — fiscal responsibility and taking a closer look at the programs receiving money from the state budget.
“I’m not targeting any programs,” Thatcher said. “They just need to be re-evaluated.”