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Dayton farmer Kris Bledsoe is challenging two-time Republican incumbent Mike Nearman in the GOP primary in House District 23.

Bledsoe, who also has worked in the banking industry and as a hospital chaplain, owns Willamette Botanicals, which produces cannabis products for nonsmokers on her family farm.

“Oregon is in a budgetary crisis,” Bledsoe said. “I am fiscally conservative. My primary reason for running is to assist with making the hard decisions that need to be made in the 2019 session.”

Bledsoe cited her banking and agriculture backgrounds as reasons to vote for her instead of Nearman in the rural district that includes parts of Benton, Polk, Marion and Yamhill counties.

“My opponent is a far right tea party politician,” she said. “Mr. Nearman has no financial background and has never worked in agriculture. I think we need a representative who can represent the majority of our district which I believe, although conservative, is more moderate than Mr. Nearman.”

Nearman defeated three-term incumbent Jim Thompson in the 2014 GOP primary and went on to defeat Wanda Davis in the general election. In 2016 Nearman defeated Thompson, then running as an Independent, in the general election after defeating Beth Jones in the Republican primary.

No Democrat filed papers in 2016. However, Polk County resident Daniel Jaffer, a former Navy pilot and board president of the Luckiamute Domestic Water Cooperative, has filed papers for the Democratic nomination.

The primary is May 15, and the general election is Nov. 6.

Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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