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Line Forms To Replace Bates In Oregon Senate

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

The sudden death of State Senator Alan Bates (D-Medford) created a vacancy and an election in Oregon Senate District 3.

Twelve Democrats have expressed a desire to fill the position, either short or long-term.  They'll be considered in a county Democratic convention on Friday (August 19).

Nine people want to fill the seat in the interim and be nominated for the general election:

Three additional candidates seek only the interim position until the election: Bernard Spera of Ashland, John Darling of Ashland, and Mark Soderstrom of Phoenix. 
Candidates and Democratic party members will gather at the Medford Library Friday at 6 PM to hear the candidates speak.  Voting will follow, in at least two rounds:

  1. To pick three to five names to submit to Jackson County Commissioners.  They will pick the interim senator from that list.
  2. To choose a party nominee for the November election, to fill the remaining two years of Bates' term.
  3. If Mike Moran is chosen as nominee, a third vote will be held to replace him in his current race, for Oregon House District 6, currently held by Republican Sal Esquivel, who is running for reelection.

Republicans will hold their own session on Tuesday (August 23) at the Inn at the Commons in Medford, to pick their nominee for the November election.  Procedures and candidates have yet to be announced.
Bates, a Medford physician, served in the legislature--house, then senate--since the 2000 election.  He died suddenly at age 71 on a fishing trip August 5th.

Senate District 3 is generally the southern half of Jackson County, including all of Ashland and most of Medford.

Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.