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Mike Nearman

Itemizer-Observer

DALLAS — Having just voted to replace one of their retiring members, the Polk County Commissioners now face another looming decision, this time to replace disgraced state Rep. Mike Nearman.

The House voted 59-1 June 10 to make Nearman the state’s first sitting, elected official expelled for his actions Dec. 21 letting protesters into the Capitol building, actions guilty of “disorderly behavior.”

As a result, commissioners from each of the four counties within Nearman’s District 23 will have the final say in his replacement.

Polk County Commissioners Craig Pope and Lyle Mordhorst had just selected June 9 Falls City Mayor Jeremy Gordon as a replacement for the retiring Mike Ainsworth.

Pope said now just a day after the expulsion announcement, constituents were already contacting him to give input into the process. Pope said that is not how it works.

“I had constituents reach out, ‘I want to pick this person’ or ‘I want to be the nominee.’ I have no idea who the nominations will be. It’s up to the (Republican) party process. We don’t get to bring our own names to it,” he said.

Pope said all four Republican precinct committees from Polk, Marion, Yamhill and Benton counties are mandated to bring three to five finalists for a combined board of commissioners’ decision.

“We have 30 days to pick the replacement. They will be sworn in immediately following that,” Pope said. “Although why there is a 30-day ticking clock when the House is not in session or in committee, I don’t understand.”

Pope explained the commissioner’s votes are weighted by the amount the counties covered within District 23. Polk County has the majority weight of 46%.

He added he is working to establish a date or list of dates for all four board of commissioners to get together, with the intent to host the meeting in Polk County.

“My only goal is to get started now, planning, and be prepared to let the party know when we can all get together, give them a target with that list of dates,” Pope said.

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