The contest to replace the late state Sen. Alan Bates is set — and that leaves a Democrat running unopposed in House District 5, unless Jackson County Republicans can recruit a candidate by next Monday, when they have scheduled a meeting to pick a nominee. We hope they succeed, for the sake of a healthy political debate.
Alan DeBoer, local businessman and former mayor of Ashland, will face Tonia Moro, a Medford attorney, on Nov. 8 for the Senate District 3 seat left vacant by Bates' sudden death Aug. 5. DeBoer had been the Republican nominee to succeed Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, who is not seeking re-election. City Councilor Pam Marsh is the Democrat in that race.
Following DeBoer's shift to the Senate race, no Republican has stepped forward to seek the GOP House nomination, which is perhaps understandable given the registration advantage the Democrats enjoy. According to the secretary of state's office, there were 9,841 more registered Democrats than Republicans in House District 5 as of July 31.
Still, it would be unfortunate if no Republican stepped up, and the process would suffer for it.
Buckley never faced more than token opposition in his six terms, running unopposed once. He has been an effective legislator, but never had to defend his staunch Democratic voting record to win re-election.
If the Republicans can field a strong candidate, important issues will be debated, providing us all with a bit of civic education. If not, Marsh will go to Salem essentially by default.