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Four for three seats in the House
Send Garrett, Kahl, VanOrman and Lindland to the general election
Friday, April 18, 2008

T hree Portland-area seats in the Oregon House have opened to newcomers because of retirement or because the incumbent is seeking a higher office. In the four contested primaries for those three seats, we recommend that voters choose Chris Garrett, Nick Kahl, Suzanne VanOrman and Matt Lindland as their parties' nominees. Garrett, Kahl and VanOrman are Democrats running for the nomination in Districts 38, 49 and 52, respectively. Lindland seeks the Republican nomination in District 52. In District 38, which covers Lake Oswego and parts of Southwest Portland, incumbent Democrat Greg Macpherson is running for attorney general. Lawyer Chris Garrett, 34, and schools activist and board member Linda Brown, 56, are vying to replace him. Each brings considerable strengths and passion to the campaign, and each has generated significant contributions and endorsements. We think Garrett will add value to the Legislature on a range of issues, and he's a solid successor to Macpherson and a better match for the Republican lawyer, Steve Griffith, he'll face in the fall. In the 49th District in East Multnomah County, the seat opened by the retirement of Karen Minnis, the Republican former speaker, real estate agent Barbara Kyle, 59, is running against law student Nick Kahl, 30. Kyle is a charming person with an independent streak, but Kahl has energy, lifetime roots in the district and a plethora of sensible ideas for leveraging jobs and

capital projects for his constituents. While Kyle was approached by the Democratic caucus to run, Kahl is out-hustling her and has gained considerable momentum heading into the primary. We think the Legislature needs him. The 52nd District, which takes in Sandy, Cascade Locks and Hood River, is wide open after the retirement of Republican Patti Smith of Corbett. Registration is roughly evenly divided between Democrats, who will choose between educator Suzanne VanOrman, 68, and lawyer and peace activist Steve Richkind, 53, and Republicans, who face a choice between bed-and-breakfast owner Phyllis Thiemann, 53, and mixed-martial-arts fighter, promoter and former Olympic wrestler Matt "The Law" Lindland, 37. On the Democratic side, VanOrman is the most credible choice. Richkind is campaigning with no money on a platform of peace and decency. He is a very likable guy, but no match for VanOrman, a longtime head of the Mid-Columbia Children's Council who built up the Head Start program in the area. She almost defeated Smith the last time around and will have another chance to capture the seat in the fall. The Republicans have a fascinating choice between the athlete, Lindland, who is better known around the world than he is in his own district, and Thiemann, the bed-and-breakfast owner. Lindland, who is making his first run for public office, is a true conservative who thinks state government takes too much out of the pockets of families and generally interferes too much in their lives. He scrambled for a while to get on top of the heavy duties connected to running a campaign, but now has out-raised Thiemann, who offers more moderate views and promises to work across the aisle with Democrats. We suspect district Republicans will be hungry for the kind of resolve Lindland brings to the race.

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