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Democrats pick 3 for House seat.

Byline: Joe Mosley The Register-Guard

In an ordeal jokingly compared to the chaotic process of crafting a constitution in war-torn Afghanistan, local Democrats spent nearly four hours Monday night narrowing a list of five candidates for an open seat in the Oregon Legislature to three nominees that will be forwarded to the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

Votes on eight separate ballots were required before delegates to the House District 8 nominating convention could agree on their top three choices to succeed former Rep. Floyd Prozanski, a south Eugene Democrat who resigned last month to accept an appointment to the state Senate.

Union activist Paul Holvey, University of Oregon student Randy Derrick and state Department of Justice case manager Mike Bonner ultimately were picked by the gathering of precinct committee people.

"I think it's time good wages become part of our economy," Holvey, the first nominee selected, said during an introductory speech to the delegates. "It's absolutely essential."

Derrick, selected second, told his audience that the "challenge and opportunity for reform are before us." And Bonner, the convention's third selection, promised a grass-roots campaign in what he called "a golden opportunity ... for the right Democrat who embraces the right policies."

The two candidates who did not make the list of finalists are retired educator Nancy Rose and lobbyist Doug Barber.

The tedious process of selecting the nominees led longtime Democratic activist Scott Bartlett to recall one of his favorite quotes of Will Rogers: "I don't belong to an organized political party; I'm a Democrat."

State Democratic rules required that each delegate present at the nominating convention be assigned a proportionate number of votes representing a total of the 15,023 registered Democrats in the House district. Only candidates receiving a majority of the representative votes could then move on to be nominees.

Each nominee position was decided separately, and each time no candidate received a majority of the weighted votes, the one with the lowest vote total was dropped from the list - but only for that position.

Late in the process, Lane County Democratic Party Chairwoman Pat Riggs Henson insisted that whomever eventually wins appointment to the Legislature must promise to change the nominating rules.

The county commissioners will have 20 days to select a finalist to fill the remaining year of Prozanski's unfinished House term. The district includes neighborhoods of south Eugene and outlying areas southwest of the city.

Prozanski filled a Senate seat vacated by Cottage Grove Democrat Tony Corcoran, who resigned last fall to accept an appointment by Gov. Ted Kulongoski to the Employment Appeals Board.Of the five who vied to be among the three nominees, Bonner and Rose indicated they will be candidates in the May primary, regardless of how the appointment process turns out.

And all five carry diverse political backgrounds.

Bonner, the Department of Justice case manager, has written books and articles on sports memorabilia and several books on sports and entertainment celebrities and civics for middle school readers.

Rose is a retired educator who has been active in a number of civic organizations. She serves on the Eugene Library Foundation, chairs the Jacobs Gallery Steering Committee and is on the board of the Oregon Festival of American Music.

Holvey is a representative of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 1273 and chairman of an apprenticeship training program. He ran last year for the Lane Community College board.

Derrick is co-chairman of the UO College Democrats and has served as an intern in U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden's office.

Barber was a long-time Eugene television reporter before going into lobbying for the Eugene-based Ulum Group.
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Title Annotation:Politics; The county commissioners will decide after the District 8 whittling process takes eight ballots
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 6, 2004
Words:606
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