SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The Latest on Oregon’s primary election (all times local):
State Rep. Knute Buehler won the Oregon GOP gubernatorial primary Tuesday, besting a crowded field vying to compete against incumbent Democrat Kate Brown in November.
Buehler, who ran for secretary of state in 2012, was the most centrist of the Republican front-runners.
While skeptical of major new spending, Buehler says he is open to increased taxes on electronic and regular cigarettes to pay for budget items like health care, and also to a carbon tax.
Buehler was considered a front-runner, along with retired Navy pilot Greg Wooldridge and businessman Sam Carpenter.
At one Salem polling place, voters in Oregon’s primary described personal reactions to President Donald Trump and a renewed sense of civic obligation as motivating them to cast ballots.
Doug Crook, a Salem registered Republican, said Tuesday he felt caught between the stances taken by politicians on both ends of the political spectrum.
He said he sympathized with some of the broader goals of the political left, like protecting workers, but that he thought many proposals floated by Democrats around the state were too extreme, including rent regulation and gun control.
But Crook said he also hesitates over some of the proposals from his own party, including extreme deregulation - and that he was put off by hearing some candidates embrace Trump.
Jennifer Leon Zayas, a registered Democrat and Salem-area teacher, said education was a major priority for her in the year’s elections, along with a renewed sense of civic duty.
Democrats have high hopes for the Oregon primary, being only one seat away from a three-fifths majority in both the state House and Senate.
Close races are anticipated Tuesday, especially in a number of legislative districts, including key seats in the state Senate.
And both Republicans and Democrats are watching the outcome of the gubernatorial primary as a bellwether for conservative Oregonians. The winner would face incumbent Democrat Kate Brown.
As the first statewide regular election since the 2017 inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, the primary is also widely seen as a referendum on which candidates are appealing to GOP voters.
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