Four no-new-taxes conservatives were nominated Saturday by Marion County Republicans to the Oregon House seat left vacant by the resignation of Dan Doyle.
The four nominees, all from Salem, were:
Chris Bishop, 31, a lawyer in the Salem firm of Kevin Mannix, the current state Republican Party chairman and a former legislator.
Kevin Cameron, 48, owner of Cafe Today, which has restaurants in the basement of the Capitol and other locations.
Kristina McCall, 34, co-owner of MSB Communications, a telephone campaigning firm, with former state Sen. Marylin Shannon of Brooks.
Stacy Pannas, 23, legislative assistant to state Rep. Susan Morgan, R-Myrtle Creek, in the 2003 and current sessions.
They were chosen by 55 Republican precinct committee people from a field of nine candidates in House District 19, which covers part of South Salem, Aumsville and Turner.
The party members cast weighted votes based on registered Republicans in each precinct.
Marion County commissioners are scheduled to interview the finalists Tuesday and choose Doyle’s replacement Wednesday. All three commissioners were present Saturday, and Commissioner Janet Carlson, who lives in South Salem, was one of the participating precinct committee people.
All four nominees were endorsed by two political action committees critical of higher taxes. They are the Taxpayer Association of Oregon and Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy, which is affiliated with the national group FreedomWorks.
“We would be happy with any of these four,” said Russ Walker of Keizer, Oregon director of Citizens for a Sound Economy. “We just want to make sure taxpayers are represented in this group.”
The state party recommended that District 19 Republicans nominate the legal minimum of three candidates, but Republicans decided to go with four. State law allows a maximum of five.
Among the also-rans were Brent DeHart, a Salem city councilor, and Krina Lemons, a Salem-Keizer School Board member. Both had supported a city measure, which voters rejected last year, to impose a fee to provide for more police officers and support after-school programs.
DeHart said afterward that the finalists are good candidates, but he was a little surprised by the outcome.
“I doubted that my public-policy views were going to be all that different from the others in the room,” said DeHart, a gasoline dealer who was elected to the council last year.
“Because Krina and I were elected, and we have a track record; I think they knew a little bit more about us. I was a little surprised that my depth of experience was deemed less worthy of me being on the list, compared with a 23-year-old legislative aide.”
Also in the running were Joel Mathias, a former Aumsville mayor; T.J. Schaffer of Turner, a candidate for Marion County treasurer in 2002, and Theodore Lange, a retired timber appraiser for the Bureau of Land Management.
Each candidate spoke for three minutes. Then they answered written questions submitted by precinct committee people, some of whom had pointed queries to specific candidates about abortion, gun ownership, marriage, property rights and taxes.
The party meeting lasted almost four hours in an unheated gymnasium at Sumpter Elementary School in Salem. It was conducted by Vance Day, a Salem lawyer who is vice chairman of the state Republican Party.
“I think it speaks well of our party that we had 55 people show up to pick four strong candidates, any one of whom could step in and do a great job,” said Ross Day of Keizer, chairman of Marion County Republicans, who is not related to Vance Day.
Also in attendance were Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, whose district includes House District 19, and Reps. Vicki Berger of Salem, Brian Boquist of Dallas, Jeff Kropf of Sublimity, and Mac Sumner of Molalla.
Although none of the four finalists has held public office, several have worked in campaigns.
Several expected tough questions from the county commissioners, all of whom are Republicans — and two of the three are former lawmakers.
Bishop: “The questions will be harder, and we’ll definitely have to be prepared to answer some of the tougher ones. I also hope it’ll be a little warmer inside.”
Pannas: “It will be a little more in-depth then. We’ll probably have more time than we had here.”
McCall: “I think we all will need to do a little research. But I think we are all fairly similar in terms of our values.”
Doyle, a Salem Republican, resigned Jan. 31 after the state Department of Justice opened an investigation into discrepancies in his 2004 campaign-spending reports and whether he had falsified statements on those reports.
He was in his third term and had been co-chairman of the Legislature’s joint budget panel, a position he quit Jan. 26.
State law requires his replacement to be a Republican. The appointee would have to run in 2006 to retain the seat.
Doyle’s name was mentioned publicly only once — in the opening invocation. But his shadow hung over Saturday’s proceedings.
“His silence spoke volumes,” said Wayne Brady of Salem, a precinct committee person.
Cameron said that because of the events that triggered Doyle’s resignation, “I want to make sure that everything is aboveboard, including what I say and do.”
pwong@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6745
How they ranked
How the nine Republican candidates fared in weighted voting for nominations in House District 19. Only the top four names are forwarded to Marion County commissioners:
Kevin Cameron: 10,671.93
Stacy Pannas: 8,740.72
Chris Bishop: 8,291.02
Kristina McCall: 6,519.58
Brent DeHart: 2,155.78
Joel Mathias (Aumsville): 1,387.57
Krina Lemons: 1,141.50
T.J. Schaffer (Turner): 458.20
Theodore Lange: zero