A former Douglas County Democratic Party secretary confirmed Wednesday he will run as an independent for the House District 7 seat that Winchester Republican Bruce Hanna will give up next year.
Patrick Starnes, a former Lookingglass resident who now lives in McKenzie Bridge east of Eugene, said he will formally announce his candidacy at a press conference at 11 a.m. Friday in the Umpqua Community College student union building.
A cabinetmaker and former member of the Douglas Education Service District Board, Starnes ran unsuccessfully for Douglas County commissioner against Susan Morgan in 2008.
Meanwhile, an Oakland Republican who tweeted last month she was running for the state House posted on her campaign website today that she was withdrawing.
Trisha Barnes, an Oakland School Board member, had been the first candidate to file for the District 7 seat.
In a statement posted this morning, she said she will move out of the district before the two-year term would end.
In a previous written statement, Barnes described herself as a “fiscally conservative Republican, with definite common ground with the Tea Party movement and some Libertarian ideas.”
She did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday, and her campaign phone was disconnected this morning. The announcement on her website said she was withdrawing from the race today.
“While I am still committed to promoting the ideals and standards of my party and myself in Oregon and throughout the United States — especially now when conservatism, true democracy and the free market system are under attack — a permanent location change in family employment and an eventual move from HD-7 makes it impossible for me to commit to serving for the full 2015-16 term,” the statement said.
Barnes owns River Canyon Press, which specializes in printing regional titles.
Two Republicans have said they are considering running for the seat. Cottage Grove Mayor Gary Williams has formed a campaign committee, but has not filed for the position. Lane County rancher Kelly Lovelace also said he might run for the position. Lovelace ran unsuccessfully in 2012 against Rep. Phil Barnhart, D-Eugene, in the more Democratic District 11.
District 7 covers north and east Douglas County and parts of rural Lane County.
Starnes said he considered running in District 7 as a Republican, but said he believes he can win as an independent if he draws both independent and Democratic voters. Starnes was chosen secretary of the Douglas County Democratic Party in 1994, but said he has not been a Democrat since the 1990s.
“I do have a lot of support in the Republican party and that’s why I considered running in that party,” he said.
He said he will accept only donations from individual donors.
“I won’t be getting any PAC money or large donations,” Starnes said. “If we’re going to fix things right, I’ve got to be a role model.”
According to the state elections division, a candidate without a party must run as a write-in candidate on the November ballot.
Hanna announced last month he will not seek a sixth term.
• You can reach reporter Carisa Cegavske at 541-957-4213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.