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DALLAS — Ousted Rep. Mike Nearman received the most votes to replace himself.

At a special nominating convention held by the Oregon Republican Party on June 25 in Dallas, precinct committee representatives from State House District 23 nominated five candidates to be considered by Benton, Marion, Polk and Yamhill County commissioners to fill the vacancy left by the expulsion of Nearman from the State House of Representatives on June 10.

According to an Oregon Republican Party press release, the five nominees in order of most weighted votes received were:

- Mike Nearman

- John Swanson, a Republican state Senate staffer

- Jim Bunn, former state senator and U.S. Rep. Jim Bunn

- Micky Garus, former Dallas City Councilor

- Anna Scharf, a farmer in Amity

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“I’m humbled that my fellow Precinct Committee-persons voted overwhelmingly to return me to the House as their representative,” Nearman said in a statement. “The fact that they chose me shows that they value someone with courage and principles that will stand up to Democrats, the media and even their own party to do what is right.”

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On June 10, Nearman was expelled from office by a 59-1 vote of the State House of Representatives for his role in permitting protesters to enter the State Capitol building. The Capitol had been closed to the public due to the pandemic since March 2020.

The vote came after a video emerged showing Nearman, five days before the Dec. 21 session, advising constituents how to reach him via text message and “someone” would allow them to enter the Capitol.

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After his ouster, under state law, commissioners from each of the five counties of HD 23 must now select by July 9 from the five Republican nominees. The nominee selected by commissioners will officially take office after commissioners cast their votes weighted according to the proportion of their county’s voters registered in House District 23 and transmit the results of that vote to the state.

Polk County contains the most voters within the district, who will have about 49% of the say in who is appointed. Over the weekend, Nearman’s prospects to being selected took a hit when Polk County Chair Craig Pope said he does not support the ousted lawmaker.

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“No, I will not vote to put him back into office,” Pope said. “Honestly, he hasn’t been a Representative for House District 23 since he was elected the first time. I can’t see value in putting somebody back that not only doesn’t understand the job or perform for all of us, but actually works in opposition to his entire caucus and the entire Republican party, let only entire citizenry of District 23.”

Pope will be the chair for the commissioners that will vote for Nearman’s replacement. He is eyeing setting up that meeting July 7 at the Polk County Courthouse with a combination of online and limited in person public attendance.

Nearman’s replacement will serve for the remainder of the current two-year term, which, in this case, is until early January of 2023 — and must stand for election in November 2022 in order to serve a successive term thereafter.

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