Democrats Tap New Nominee In Salem-Area State Senate Race

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Democrats have a new nominee for what’s expected to be a hard fought state Senate race.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that in a meeting Thursday, local party officials tapped attorney Rich Walsh over two other candidates seeking to represent Senate District 11. The former Keizer City Council member will face Republican state Sen. Kim Thatcher in November.

Walsh beat out state Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon, D-Woodburn, and Anthony Rosilez, director of the state’s Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, for the nomination.

In mid-June the initial Democratic nominee, Woodburn Mayor Eric Swenson, announced he’d decided not to pursue the seat despite defeating both Walsh and Rosilez in the May primary.

That meant that party officials within the district, rather than Democratic voters, got to choose Swenson’s replacement.

Senate District 11 stretches from Salem up Interstate 5 to Woodburn. The district is currently held by Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat and the longest-tenured lawmaker in Oregon history.

But Courtney is retiring this year, and after last year’s redistricting process the district now includes Keizer, Thatcher’s long-time political home.