A former candidate for the Oregon Secretary of State says getting good candidates to run in state and local elections is getting harder to find and there needs to be some changes.
Dr. Knute Buehler lost his bid for the office to the incumbent, and says the entire ordeal taught him some valuable lessons; especially when it comes to how districts are drawn. "I think there's a number of factors. The districts get more and more “safe” from the districting process. So that means when they draw up these legislative districts, the parties do it and the incentive is to create safer and safer districts, which make them more and more extreme, so one party has an overwhelming advantage over the other, so it discourages people from participating."
Buehler says 85% of elections are no longer competitive in Oregon, although historic amounts of money are being spent.
Buehler says he has some definite ideas on election reform that he believes Governor Kitzhaber is willing to hear. "And it's important for Oregon, because we're a step behind our neighbor to the north and south has done many of these election reforms, namely independent redistricting and opening up their primary process. And it's a little disheartening to me. Oregon used to be that shining star in the west for good government, and being a step ahead of other states, and now we're falling behind. And for someone who grew up in Oregon and loves Oregon, that's painful to see. So we need to change that."
He says another change he would like to see is an open primary in Oregon.
He may not have won his race for Secretary of State last November; but he says he certainly learned a good lesson.
Buehler says the hard fought November election loss is just still to fresh for him to consider running again - but he wants to stay politically active.