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Jack Roberts candidate to join Supreme Court.

Byline: David Steves The Register-Guard

Eugene political figure Jack Roberts said Wednesday that he will run for election to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Roberts, a former state labor commissioner and Lane County commissioner, would be the third candidate for the nonpartisan position. Already declared for the Position 6 seat are Oregon Appeals Court Judge Virginia Linder of Salem and Pendleton attorney Gene Hallman, who has the support of the Oregon Trial Lawyers.

Roberts has headed the local economic development agency, Lane Metro Partnership, since losing his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2002.

He announced his candidacy in a news release and phone calls to reporters on Wednesday, with plans to formally kick off his campaign today in a noon news conference at Lane County's Harris Hall in Eugene. At the event, Roberts will be joined by Lane County Circuit Judge Karsten Rasmussen, a former Democratic legislator, and longtime Lane County District Attorney Doug Harcleroad. Roberts said in a news release that a major endorsement would be announced.

Roberts, 53, went public last fall with his interest in running for the Supreme Court seat being vacated by retiring Chief Justice Wallace Carson. He has said he thought his legal training and experience, along with his careers in politics and economic development, would bring valuable perspective to the state's highest court.

Roberts said last fall that the entrance of a woman into the race may cause him to reconsider campaigning for the job, calling it "disgraceful" that no women served on Oregon's high court. But he has since said he decided to go ahead with his candidacy despite Linder's entry, saying he had doubts about her ability to win.

Roberts would hardly be the first politician to translate statewide name familiarity into a campaign for the court. Gov. Ted Kulongoski, elected to the Supreme Court in 1996, is the most recent example.

Two other high court seats also are up for election next year. They are held by justices Paul De Muniz and Robert Durham, who have filed for re-election and so far have drawn no challengers.

Supreme Court justice is a nonpartisan position with a term of six years. If a candidate gets a majority in the May election, he or she is declared the winner. Otherwise, the two top vote-getters from May would appear on the November ballot. In either scenario, the winner would take office in January.
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Title Annotation:Politics
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 12, 2006
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