"For months, this year’s race for Oregon secretary of state has had a typically partisan hue: Democrats are trying to regain their dominance of the executive branch, while Republicans defend the sole statewide office they hold.

Now, the only candidate who has experience in the Secretary of State’s Office is hoping to change that narrative.

Rich Vial, who resigned his position as deputy secretary of state in January, revealed in recent days he’s mounting an atypical run at Oregon’s second highest executive position.

Once presumed a leading contender for the Republican nomination, Vial has decided to eschew the two-party system. Instead he’s running as a non-affiliated candidate, and hoping that the roughly 34% of Oregon voters who, like him, don’t currently subscribe to a single party, can propel him to the November ballot.

“I think voters generally will come to a place where they say that the two-party system is broken and we need to do something different,” Vial told OPB, nodding to repeated legislative sessions marred by disputes and Republican walkouts. “It sure feels like with the last couple of sessions we’ve had, this could be the time.”

But in order to make his case statewide, Vial will need to emerge victorious in an unprecedented election. He’s hoping to win the online-only primary being run by the Independent Party of Oregon, which is opening up its contest to IPO members and unaffiliated voters alike.

That election will include a “STAR” voting system, in which voters rate the candidates on a scale of zero to five. It will also feature leading Democratic candidates in the race — state Sens. Shemia Fagan and Mark Hass, and former Congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner — along with Sen. Kim Thatcher, who is vying for the Republican nomination."

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Oregon Public Broadcasting


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