BEND, OR -- With local candidates already lining up for 2024 - months ahead of the filing deadline, the election season is off to an early start.
City Club of Central Oregon Executive Director Kim Gammond says incumbents are also already in campaign mode, "The line between campaigning and policy work is pretty blurred." And, she says, that can make it difficult to bring speakers in for nonpartisan events, "Once someone is actively campaigning, if we had an issue we wanted to talk about and there was an expert in, say, the state House that had led conversation in that, once they’re in campaign mode, it’s a lot harder to have them come speak on that because it seems like a campaign event. And then, you’re not just inviting the other side - you literally have to invite the person they might be running against." She adds, "When an elected leader or candidate is in campaign mode, they behave differently and they’re looking to discuss and promote different things than when they’re in that policy-making phase."
Overall, Gammond tells KBND News, the time between elections seems to be getting shorter, "In our House, both at the state and national level, those are very short terms. They get in and they get to work for eight months and then they campaign for a year, and then they maybe have four months of transition."
But, Gammond says, the bigger concern is voter fatigue, which could mean the general public misses important information about candidates, "The more people are getting that constant information and campaign mode, by the time it comes for them to vote, they’ve already tuned so much of it out."
Listen to our full conversation with Kim Gammond, with City Club of Central Oregon: