BEND, OR -- With the Presidential election still on center-stage, local political experts say overall frustration and fatigue over the race for the White House is not likely to negatively impact local campaigns.
KBND political analyst and former state Representative Jason Conger (R-Bend) says there is one area that could be influenced. "Voter registrations: there are almost 4500 more Democrats registered in Deschutes County now than there were in February. There’s a huge upswing. And, there’s about a 2,000 increase in Republicans." He says that narrowing of the gap between the two parties could mean success for Democrats in countywide races, like Alan Unger, who is running for a third term as a Deschutes County Commissioner. He faces local businessman Phil Henderson, in November.
Conger adds, "What would be interesting is to figure out how many of those voters were motivated to vote in the primary for Bernie Sanders, who won Deschutes County, by the way. And if they don’t vote in the general election, that gives Phil Henderson a boost compared to just looking at the raw numbers."
But, former Democratic lawmaker Judy Stiegler says that theory cuts both ways. "I think there could be that tendency on the Republican side because there could be a lot of Republicans who just say ‘I’m staying home,’ because they’re not very enthusiastic about the choice at the top of the ticket, Mr. Trump."
Stiegler says the increasing negativity in national races shouldn't impact local ballots, too much. "I do tend to believe at the local level, like that, there’s less of an impact from national politics and the rhetoric. People tend to gear down to ‘what are the issues that we’re facing?’"
To hear our full conversation with Jason Conger and Judy Stiegler, visit our Podcast