Deschutes Co. deputy DA announces statehouse bid; Democrat seeks Helt’s seat

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A Deschutes County prosecutor announced Wednesday he will run as a Democratic candidate for a seat in the Oregon House of Representatives that is currently held by a Republican.

With just under three weeks before the candidate filing deadline, Deschutes County Deputy District Attorney Jason Kropf announced his candidacy for the House district encompassing Bend, one of Oregon’s fastest-growing cities and where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans.

The seat is currently held by Cheri Helt, a restaurateur from Bend who is running for a second term.

Kropf said that if elected, he would fight for education funding and affordable housing and against global warming.

Helt, who considers herself a moderate, was the only Republican member of the House to appear for a Tuesday evening session called for by House Speaker Tina Kotek.

Other Republican lawmakers stayed away amid a slowdown protest by the GOP over a bill to combat climate change. The Republicans have insisted that bills reaching the House floor be read in full instead of being summarized, causing a backlog of legislation.

Democrats currently hold a supermajority in both the House and Senate and are looking to gain more in November.

In House District 54 that covers Bend, there are almost 20,000 registered Democrats and almost 13,000 registered Republicans. However, there are also roughly 19,000 voters not affiliated with any party.

Kropf has been deputy district attorney since 2005. He earlier worked as a public defender.

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