Frustration over the Republicans’ legislative strike inspired Democrat and retired doctor Sean Scorvo to stand up against the incumbent stateRep. Mike Nearman just a week before the March filing deadline.
Scorvo said those frustrated by the toxicity of politics, dissatisfied with President Donald Trump and skeptical of Nearman’s campaign funding could turn the tide in the trusted Republican district and offer him a path to victory in November.
Oregon House District 23, a largely rural area that includes the cities of Dallas, Jefferson, and Dayton and includes several counties, has consistently elected Republican leaders for decades.
Members of the Oregon House of Representatives serve a two-year term and are not subject to tenure limits.
More election coverage:Special election in Oregon Senate District 10
He has won the last three elections since Rep. Mike Nearman, who lives between West Salem and Independence, defeated a reigning Republican in the 2014 area code. In 2018 he defeated the Democrat Danny Jaffer with around 3,600 votes.
Nearman is a former software developer and current director in Oregon for the Freedom Foundation, an anti-union group. He was previously a board member of the Oregonians for Immigration Reform, an anti-immigration group.
Nearman told Oregon Public Broadcasting in 2019 that he didn’t think his then-new job at the Freedom Foundation would conflict with his legislative work.
Nearman declined several interviews from the Statesman Journal. When contacted by phone by a reporter, he said he “didn’t have time to speak to the Statesman Journal” and hung up.
Libertarian party candidate Scott Clawson, a state analyst, and Progressive Party / Pacific Greens candidate Alex Polikoff are also running for the seat.
Scorvo, who is currently the president of Uprise, an Internet service provider and also helps with his business partner’s goat yoga business, lives in Bellfountain.
He said he was fed up with party tribalism, a vanishing middle ground in politics, and politicians who refuse to work together to help their constituents.
Scorvo’s campaign logo is “End the Bull ****”.
Who is funding your campaigns?
Scorvo is a strong advocate of electoral reform, including walking reform and campaign finance reform – a stark contrast to Nearman.
He said he decided to turn down PAC and corporate donations from the start.
“My approach was to avoid donations,” said Scorvo. “I don’t find it ethically sensible to do anything during a pandemic when people really need money and are concerned.”
The Oregon Secretary of State’s records listed his total campaign contributions at $ 5,117, with most of his contributions coming from individuals and organizations such as Rural Oregon Forward.
He later decided to return all contributions to his campaign and urged people to instead support local food banks, domestic violence shelters or homeless shelters instead of helping him pay for campaign signs and advertisements.
His records show that he either refunded the donations or forwarded them to the donor’s intended recipient.
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His main tactic for reaching voters is through social media and videos explaining his stance on issues.
Scorvo called the tens of thousands of dollars Nearman brings in each election “far and far beyond what would be expected or reasonable for such an election campaign”.
He said Nearman was shuffling the money into other campaigns.
The campaign’s financial records indicate that Nearman transferred thousands of his funds to other candidates, which is a common practice in Oregon.
In 2019 and 2020, Nearman received $ 22,516 in grants – significantly less than the $ 94,409 he received prior to the 2018 election.
His biggest contributions this year came from Deloitte Services LLP, Oregon Forest Industries Council, RAI Services Company, Orloggers PAC, Oregon Firearms Federation PAC, and Anheuser Busch.
Key issues of this choice
Scorvo highlighted the pandemic response and climate change as key issues.
He said he has a proposal to combat climate change that will create jobs, government revenue and budget revenue while increasing tax revenue for Oregon cities rather than allowing tax breaks for non-state corporations.
Scorvo also said that he wants to focus on personal responsibility during the pandemic, which means that he does not want to incentivize people who act maliciously or irresponsibly during the pandemic. According to his plan, people who violate guidelines and have caught or spread COVID-19 could have their insurance canceled or be sued for damages.
At the Oregon Legislature, Nearman serves on the Joint Information Management and Technology Committee, the Interim Joint Committee on Ways and Means of the Education Subcommittee, and the Interim Joint Committee on Ways and Means of the Understate for the State.
Nearman has received both criticism and praise for his involvement in controversial policies and groups, including serving as vice president of the Oregonians for Immigration Reform, an organization classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “anti-immigrant hate group.”
Group leaders deny being a hate group, instead saying they focus on enforcing existing immigration laws.
In 2018, OIR and Nearman, along with two other lawmakers, supported Measure 105 to lift Oregon’s so-called “Sanctuary State” status.
The measure was overwhelmingly defeated.
Nearman was also one of the petitioners behind a failed initiative that asked all Oregon voters to re-register with proof of citizenship.
Continue reading:Oregon Senate District 10 special elections could be significant nationwide
In 2016, Nearman told the Bend Bulletin that he had heard rumors of election fraud in Woodburn and North Salem, with “strong recruitment and voter registration campaigns among populations likely to have many illegal aliens”.
Nearman joined his Republicans in Oregon on two strikes in 2020 and 2019.
At the beginning of the pandemic, he and two other Oregon lawmakers petitioned a lawsuit filed by a handful of churches in Oregon against Governor Kate Brown asking for it to be reopened.
Nearman stands for “limited, constitutional, sensible government” on his campaign website.
He advocated lowering taxes, reducing the size of the government, increasing government accountability, upholding gun rights, protecting the “unborn for the handicapped to the very old” and complying with immigration laws.
“What makes our country great are the great freedoms we enjoy,” explains Nearman on his website. “It seems that our governments at all levels are increasingly denying us freedom, wanting to tax us more and over-spending. I choose to stand up for the freedom of all Oregon citizens.”
More:US Supreme Court halts election redistribution in Oregon
In 2020, Nearman sponsored a handful of bills, including efforts to require doctors to provide medical care to children “born alive after an abortion or attempted abortion” and another attempt to ban abortion unless the doctor does first determined the likely age after conception of a fetus. He co-sponsored a bill to fund the Family Preservation Project, which supports incarcerated women and helps them keep in touch with their families.
Like many of the bills proposed during the 2020 legislative session, all three bills died in committee.
Nearman is supported by the Oregon Right to Life, Oregon Farm Bureau, Timber Unity, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Oregon Chiefs of Police.
Clawson, the Libertarian Party candidate, said he did not see Nearman on an equal footing on many issues and believed that Nearman, like most politicians, was not trying to get the people of Oregon to work together.
Clawson said he supports police reform, better forest management and the protection of civil liberties.
“My biggest concern, and something that is the most powerful guide for me, is protecting our civil liberties,” he said. “As a libertarian, I don’t choose the civil liberties that I want to uphold and defend.
I will protect them all. I will defend a person’s right of assembly, the right to worship as he or she chooses to worship or not. I will protect the right of individuals to assemble peacefully, whether I agree with their cause or not. I will defend women’s rights, gay rights and gun rights. “
Polikoff said he supported a publicly funded health system that would cover Oregonians from birth to death.
“We are already spending enough health care in this state to have everyone insured under a better system,” he said in an email. “It is time our health dollars actually went to health care rather than insurance company profits, CEO bonuses and bloated red tape.”
He said he supported public funding for campaigns and the proposal of Measure 107 to limit campaign contributions.
It also supports measures that create good green jobs in the fight against climate change. He said states should lead the way on this issue.
Occupation: State Representative and Oregon Director of the Freedom Foundation.
Residence: Polk County between West Salem and Independence.
Social media: facebook.com/RepMikeNearman.
Occupation: President of Uprise, an Internet service provider and retired doctor.
Residence: Bell fountain.
Social media: facebook.com/seanscorvo.
Occupation: Analyst with the state of Oregon.
Residence: Outside West Salem towards Amity.
Party: Progress Party and Pacific Green Party.
occupation: Retired electrical engineer.
For questions, comments, and news tips, email reporter Whitney Woodworth at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 503-910-6616, or follow us on Twitter @wmwoodworth.
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