Deschutes County GOP Candidates Speak

From BEND, Ore. -- Deschutes County Republican candidates in the May primary wanted to get their messages out to the public, so the candidates spoke at the Awbrey Glen Golf Club in Bend Sunday afternoon.

Every county GOP candidate in the May primary was there.

If you haven't received your ballot in the mail yet, you should receive it by Tuesday (or contact your county clerks' office).

But before you vote, the candidates wanted to make sure you were voting for the right candidate -- themselves.

One of the most-watched races in the state this primary season is for the state senate 27th District seat, between incumbent Chris Telfer and challenger Tim Knopp -- a rare challenger to an incumbent legislator.

"The unemployment rate is not just statistics on a page," Knopp told the audience. "It's not numbers on a page. It's 7,000 people who have names and faces, many of which I know I have seen and have suffered. I think we can do better, and I think we can turn this thing around."

"I have been able to bring thousands of jobs to this area, millions of dollars and numerous economic opportunities -- and yes, I think those will have an impact on unemployment," Telfer said.

Whoever ends up winning the primary will face off against Democrat Geri Hauser in November.

The other contested race is for circuit court judge, the seat for Andrew Sullivan. It's a non-partisan position, but all four candidates were on hand Sunday: Thomas Spear, Aaron Brenneman, Andrew Balyeat and Beth Bagley.

Also speaking at Sunday's forum were the two Republican candidates for Deschutes County Commissioner Position 2, Tom Greene and Phillip Henderson. The winner of that contest will face Democratic incumbent Allan Unger this fall.

State Reps. Jason Conger and Gene Whisnant are running for re-election, but don't have a Republican challenger. Conger will face Democrat Nathan Hovenkamp in November; Whisnant also has not drawn a Democratic foe.

Two candidates for Bend City Council also were there, though their races will be on the November general election ballot. Ed Barbeau plans to run for Mayor Jeff Eager's seat (he has announced he won't seek another term and Victor Chudowsky is running for Greene's seat.

The Republican candidate for secretary of state, Knute Buehler of Bend, spoke at the end of Sunday's forum.