By MITCH LIES
May 16, 2012
SALEM — Oregon agriculture lost some long-standing supporters in the May 15 primary elections, but may have gained some new ones.
Among the victims was five-term incumbent Rep. Mike Schaufler, D-Happy Valley, who fell to challenger Jeff Reardon by 32 percentage points.
“(Schaufler) was a passionate supporter of farmers and foresters,” said Katie Fast, director of government affairs for the Oregon Farm Bureau.
“I was very disappointed in losing Mike Schaufler,” said Paulette Pyle, grass roots coordinator for Oregonians for Food and Shelter. “He was a good urban vote for natural resources.”
One-term incumbent Sen. Chris Telfer, R-Bend, also lost big to former state Rep. Tim Knopp by 36 percentage points in the Senate District 27 Republican primary.
“We endorsed Telfer,” Fast said, “but when Tim Knopp was in the House, he was a good advocate on natural resource issues.”
And Oregon Farm Bureau first vice president and State Board of Agriculture member Tracey Liskey has lost a close race against Gail Whitsett in the House District 56 Republican primary. Whitsett, wife of Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, was just over 500 votes ahead of Liskey as of 9 a.m. May 16, 4,962 to 4,455.
The two were running to replace Rep. Bill Garrard, R-Klamath Falls, in the heavily Republican district.
“Obviously we are disappointed,” Fast said of the outcome. “The Farm Bureau was excited to see Tracey Liskey in the Legislature. On the other hand, I have known Gail for a number of years. She will be a good representative for Oregon agriculture.”
“I think Gail will be a star,” Pyle said.
Pyle also spoke highly of Bill Hansell, a farmer and Umatilla County commissioner, who won the Republican primary in Senate District 29 by 22 percentage points.
“That strengthened the understanding of natural resources in the Republican caucus,” Pyle said.
Hansell will run unopposed in the November general election to replace four-term incumbent Sen. Dave Nelson, R-Pendleton, who is not seeking re-election.
And Pyle was excited to see Brooks Tree Farm owner Kathy LeCompte win the House District 22 Republican primary.
“We very supportive of (LeCompte),” Pyle said. “She’s a personal friend and a good friend of the industry.”
LeCompte lost to incumbent Rep. Betty Komp, D-Woodburn, in the general election two years ago.
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