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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Republicans Choose Pierce To Take On Brown For Oregon Governor's Office

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
Salem oncologist Bud Pierce addresses supporters after declaring victory in the Republican primary for Oregon governor.

Bud Pierce kicked off his first run for public office last fall. Now, the Salem oncologist has been nominated to take on incumbent governor Kate Brown in the November general election.

“My opponent this fall is Kate Brown, a 25-year politician,” Pierce told a crowd of supporters gathered in his home town of Salem. “She is a failed leader, a puppet beholden to powerful unions and powerful business and her failed leadership has greatly harmed everyday Oregonians.”

Pierce is the projected winner of the Republican nomination for Oregon governor. He was ahead of Allen Alley 47 percent to 29 percent in early results in Tuesday’s primary.

For Alley, the primary defeat marked the third time he’s come up short in a race for statewide office. Alley told supporters gathered at a Portland hotel that he wishes Bud Pierce luck.

"He's going to do a great job, and we're going to give him help," Alley said. "And we're going to be able to change the course of this state."

Three lesser-known candidates were also on the Republican ballot: real estate broker Bruce Cuff, perennial candidate Bob Forthan and engineer Bob Niemeyer.

As expected, incumbent governor Kate Brown easily held off five little-known Democratic challengers. Brown spent the evening watching results at the governor’s mansion in Salem.

"It's certainly been an honor to serve over the last 15 months," Brown said in an interview on public radio after results came in. "I am hopeful that we will be successful in the fall."

The winner of the general election will serve a two-year term. That’s because this race is really about filling the remainder of former Governor John Kitzhaber’s term. Kitzhaber resigned in February of 2015 amid a criminal ethics investigation. As Secretary of State, Brown was first in line of succession.

The winner of the Independent Party of Oregon’s nomination will also on this November’s ballot. The 2016 primary was the first taxpayer-funded primary for the Independent Party, which achieved major party status in Oregon last year. Minor party candidates will be selected later this year.