Oregon candidates are off to the races. The campaign season unofficially got underway Tuesday with the deadline to file to run in the May primary.
The marquee primary match-up is among Republicans vying for the chance to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. The top GOP contenders are Portland pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby and central Oregon state representative Jason Conger.
The two are already waging an intense campaign over which candidate is better suited to take on the well-financed incumbent.
In the Oregon legislature, Democrats want to extend their advantage in both chambers. But Republicans like Deputy House GOP leader John Davis say they're poised to pick up more seats of their own.
"We've got some fantastic candidates," he says. "I feel like they're really engaged in the community. They're trained well. They're ready to run hard and it's going to be a great campaign season."
In the governor's race, Republican state representative Dennis Richardson has the inside track to win the May GOP primary. He wants to take on Democratic incumbent John Kitzhaber in the fall.