- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The presidential race generated a lot of enthusiasm among Oregonians, with about 160,000 adding their names to the rolls of the two major parties this year - but mostly Democrats.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ candidacy seems to have been the cause for a lot of the fervor, and scoring Tuesday wins in Oregon and Kentucky are key in his efforts to keep his campaign alive. Hillary Clinton paid less attention to the state.

Here is a look at that race and others in Oregon’s primary election on Tuesday.

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HOW OREGONIANS ARE VOTING

Oregon was the first state in the nation to implement a vote-by-mail system several years ago. In January it became the first state to automatically register qualified Oregonians to vote when renewing or applying for a state driver’s license, permit, or ID card. It’s too late for voters to mail their ballots, but they can still be dropped off in person by 8 p.m. local time Tuesday.

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PRESIDENTIAL STAKES

Sanders lavished attention on Oregon, visiting three different cities in the run-up to the primary: Portland, Springfield and Salem. Sanders’ progressive views find favor among many in a state known for those views. Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, sent her husband to campaign here on her behalf.

Sanders is hoping to win a big chunk of Oregon’s 61 pledged Democratic delegates and to sway more of its 13 superdelegates.

Oregon briefly played an odd role in the GOP presidential campaign. Trying to stop Donald Trump’s winning streak, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich struck a deal in which Cruz would not campaign in Oregon and New Mexico and Kasich would do the same for Cruz in Indiana. The pact fell flat. Cruz lost Indiana to Trump and Kasich’s campaign in Oregon failed to take off.

Even though Trump had already become the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, he went ahead with plans for an Oregon rally, drawing thousands in Eugene.

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STATEWIDE RACES

Three prominent Democrats are running for their party’s nomination for secretary of state, the second-most powerful position behind the governor, in November. They are state Rep. Val Hoyle, state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and state Sen. Richard Devlin. They spent a substantial chunk of money on attack ads against each other during the final days of campaigning.

Two Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination for secretary of state: Dennis Richardson, the GOP gubernatorial candidate who ran against former Gov. John Kitzhaber two years ago, and Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken.

Paul Damian Wells, who lists his occupation as machinist, is running as an independent.

In the gubernatorial race, incumbent Kate Brown is running for the first time for the office that she inherited early last year when Kitzhaber stepped down over an ethics scandal. There are five little-known challengers for the Democratic nomination. The two leading Republican candidates are businessman Allen Alley and oncologist Bud Pierce.

Brown lists raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing paid sick leave for workers, increasing education funding by 9 percent and signing in a law that will eliminate coal power in Oregon as among her major accomplishments in her 14 months in office.

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FEDERAL RACES

Oregon’s senior U.S. senator, Ron Wyden, is up for re-election. He is facing token opposition in the Democratic primary.

Among the four Republican candidates running for their party’s nomination for senator is entrepreneur Sam Carpenter, who says he is “a political outsider. This is just what D.C. needs.”

In the U.S. House, three Democratic incumbents __ Suzanne Bonamici, Kurt Schrader, and Peter DeFazio are facing unthreatening primary challenges, as is Republican Greg Walden.

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BALLOT MEASURES TO WATCH

There are no statewide measures on the Tuesday ballot, but some local ones are worth watching.

Residents of Hood River County are voting on whether to block plans by Nestle to build a water bottling plant in Cascade Locks, in the heart of the scenic Columbia River Gorge. Community leaders and many residents want the plant and the economic boost it could bring to financially struggling Cascade Locks, but the plan is being opposed by farmers, orchard owners and Native American tribes.

Marijuana measures are on the ballot in Grant and Klamath counties.

Shortly after Oregon voters decided to legalize marijuana, the state allowed cities and counties to ban marijuana production and sales where at least 55 percent of voters opposed legalization. Grant and Klamath are among over 100 cities and counties that have since “opted out,” according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Those who put up Measure 12-58 in Grant County and Measure 18-105 in Klamath County want to opt back in.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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