• So far, Jackson County voters are seeing red

    No Democrats in running yet for two vacant commissioner seats
  • Democratic candidates have been scarce so far in Jackson County, despite several open seats that will be on the ballot in 2014.
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  • Democratic candidates have been scarce so far in Jackson County, despite several open seats that will be on the ballot in 2014.
    "We're talking to people who are thinking about running," said Lynn Howe, chairwoman of the Jackson County Democratic Party.
    To get Democrats off the fence, the Democratic Party will host a workshop titled, "Should I Run for Office," from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 19, in the third floor conference room at 33 N. Central Ave., Medford.
    For more information about registering for the workshop, call Howe at 541-778-­9600.
    So far, no Democrats have filed for the two Jackson County commissioner seats being vacated by Don Skundrick and John Rachor. Two Republicans, Rick Dyer and Joel Ockunzzi, have filed candidacy papers.
    Rogue River Republican Duane Stark has filed for the state representative position now held by Republican Dennis Richardson, who is running for governor and will not return to his legislative seat in 2015. No Democrats have stepped forward to run in Richardson's House District 4, which is a Republican stronghold.
    State Rep. Sal Esquivel, a Medford Republican, is running again for House District 6, but no Democratic challengers have come forward. Howe made unsuccessful bids for Esquivel's seat in 2008 and 2010, but says she won't run again.
    State Sen. Alan Bates, a Medford Democrat, is being challenged again by Ashland Republican Dave Dotterrer.
    Bates defeated Dotterrer in the 2010 general election.
    Candidates still have ample time to file their papers. The deadline is March 11, 2014, for the primary election.
    Howe said the workshop also will help candidates develop campaign strategies and address endorsements, fundraising, advertising and social media, volunteer recruitment, budgeting and financial reporting and other topics.
    Rep. Peter Buckley, an Ashland Democrat, said he expects Democratic candidates to announce in the next few months. While he did not reveal names, he said he's heard from some possible contenders recently.
    "I've been in conversations with people who would make good candidates," he said.
    Issues such as the federal government shutdown have taken the focus off next year's elections, he said.
    "The focus hasn't turned to 2014 yet," he said.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, dmann@mailtribune.com or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/reporterdm.
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