As of Friday, November 3, 2017
The Wasco County Republican Central Committee is seeking nominees to fill the House District 59 seat vacated Oct. 28 by Oregon Rep. John Huffman, who makes his home in The Dalles.
In July, Huffman announced he would not run for re-election in 2018 because he would have fulfilled his goal to serve for 10 years.
He was unable to be reached for comment about why he resigned a year earlier than planned.
Betsy Hege, chair of the local Republican Party, said Huffman wanted to pursue another career opportunity and the GOP wishes him well in that endeavor.
“He will be missed because he did an amazing job of being a full-time representative for all of his district,” she said.
On Thursday, House Republican Leader Mike McLane commended Huffman for his years as a state lawmaker:
“John Huffman is a people first, political second, public servant who has worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents for more than a decade,” he said.
“It has been a great privilege to serve alongside him, learn from him and watch him represent House District 59 with humility and class. John will always be a great friend, and I wish him all the best as he continues his career.”
District 59 includes more than 63,000 people living in western Wasco, Wheeler, Jefferson and northern Deschutes counties.
Republican precinct committee people in the four counties are now searching for three to five qualified nominees to fill Huffman’s vacancy.
If less than three are found, Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, will appoint the replacement, said Hege.
“We have been looking for people who are interested in running next year since John announced his plans to step down,” she said. “By leaving early, he has presented us with an opportunity to get someone in place and up to speed on the issues before next year’s short session.”
She said Huffman has offered to help his replacement with the transition.
County commissioners from District 59 will choose Huffman’s replacement Nov. 11 at a conference in Madras.
The replacement must be appointed within one month of Huffman submitting his letter of resignation to Secretary of State Dennis Richardson.
Traditionally, Hege said the representative for the district has come from Wasco County and she would like to find the right person from this area to fill the vacated seat. Two Republicans have stepped forward from Deschutes County.
“This is a pivotal moment; we’re going to lose connection to our representative if we don’t get someone from Wasco County,” she said.
To qualify for consideration, Hege said the individual must live in District 59 and be a registered voter. He or she must have been a member of the
Republican Party for six months prior to the date of the vacancy.
In addition, the state constitution requires that the appointee be an inhabitant of the district for at least one year prior to the date of the appointment.
When the county commissioners convene, they will have one vote for each 1,000 of his or her electorate or major fraction of 1,000 (more than 500 registered electors, but less than 1,000) residing within the district at the time the vacancy occurred.
That means Wasco County will have 15 votes for a nominee, Deschutes 16, Jefferson, 14 and Wheeler, 1, according to Richardson’s office.
Hege invites local Republicans interested in representing citizens of House District 59 to call her at 541-370-2669 to learn more about the duties of a state official.