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The 13 candidates for Bates' seat are giving speeches at the Medford library tonight. Mail Tribune / Damian Mann

Democratic convention update: Moro, Moran, Talbert for interim

Updated, 9:01 p.m. After several tries, Democrats finally settled on three candidates to present to Jackson County commissioners for filling the Senate District 3 seat in the interim: Medford attorney Tonia Moro, who won tonight's nomination for the general election; Mike Moran, former Talent police chief and candidate for House District 6 against Rep. Sal Esquivel; and former Southern Oregon University chief information officer Kevin Talbert.

Dr. Rick Schaefer, director of Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center's Cardiac Rehabilitation program, and Medford City Councilman Kevin Stine also were in the running as possible interim candidates, but failed to garner enough votes to make the list. 

Jackson County commissioners, who by state law must select who serves in the interim, are expected to make their choice by Sept. 6.

Updated, 7:55 p.m.: In the first round of ballots among 52 precinct committee members choosing a Democratic nominee to fill Sen. Alan Bates' seat, Medford lawyer Tonia Moro is the victor.

The vote came in shortly before 8 p.m., after 13 candidates had given short speeches and answered questions. Moro won 27 votes, the majority needed to clinch the nomination.

The only other candidate to garner a substantial number of votes was Dr. Rick Schaefer, at 16. Schaefer had received endorsements beforehand by the likes of state Rep. Peter Buckley, Medford Fabrication President Bill Thorndike Jr. and political analyst Cathy Shaw.

Medford City Councilman Kevin Stine garnered six votes, former Southern Oregon University chief information officer Kevin Talbert received two votes, and Dr. Anne Alftine, a late addition to the list, received one vote.

Now the Democrats are selecting three candidates for the interim position, one of whom will be chosen by the Jackson County commissioners as required by state law.

7:23 p.m.

Former Talent police chief Mike Moran announced during the Jackson County Democrats' convention this evening he's taking his name out the running for Alan Bates' replacement in the Senate to concentrate on his bid against Rep. Sal Esquivel in November.

Democrats are choosing a nominee for the Nov. 8 election to fill the District 3 Senate seat, left vacant when Bates died unexpectedly Aug. 5. The 52 precinct committee members also will choose three to five candidates for the interim position, which will be decided by Jackson County commissioners by Sept. 6.

Moran said he still would like to be considered for the interim position, noting it would help him beat Esquivel in the general election.

A total of 13 people have announced their candidacy, three for the interim replacement only. They are giving their speeches now before about 100 Democrats at the Medford library. See live updates on Twitter @reporterDM.

The candidates are:

Dr. Anne Alftine, director of clinical integration at Jackson Care Connect CCO, said she's in a position to step into Bates' shoes and immediately carry on his work on health care at the state level. 

Laz Ayala, of Ashland, has worked as a real estate developer for more than three decades and currently works for KDA Homes. He has served on boards with La Clinica and Heart of Medford Association, and his focus is on health care, education and the environment.

Stacy Bannerman, 50, of Medford, was previously the director of Peace House. She focuses on veteran health care and climate change, and supports Bates' action on education and health care.

John Darling (interim position only), of Ashland, worked as a political reporter for United Press International in the 1960s and as a legislative assistant in the Senate in the 1970s. He has been a freelance journalist for the Mail Tribune and Ashland Daily Tidings since the mid-1980s.

Athena Goldberg, of Medford, is a behavioral health director for AllCare Health. She believes her background as an independent health professional would help further Bates’ legacy.

Mike Moran (interim only), 61, of Medford, is now running only for House District 6 but would still like to be considered for the interim Senate position. He is a former Talent police chief and served positions on the Medford School Board and Rogue Valley Transportation District. His primary issues are public safety, education and transportation.

Tonia Moro, 52, of Talent, has been a lawyer for over two decades. She is involved with RVTD and OnTrack with a focus on mental health, family services, clean energy and transportation.

Rick Schaefer, 70, of Medford, is a retired physician and is director of Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center's Cardiac Rehabilitation program. His issues focus on climate change, affordable housing, health care, mental health and education.

Joyce Segers, 67, of Ashland, is on the board of Ashland Culture of Peace Commission. Her stances center around health care, veteran care and higher education.

Mark Soderstrom, 60 of Phoenix, is an agent at Ashland Insurance. A former member of the Medford Planning Commission, he is focused on health care and clean energy independence.

Bernard Spera (interim position only), of Ashland, is a former mayor of Millbrae, Calif.

Kevin Stine, 30, of Medford, is a city councilman. He is a proponent of affordable child care and health care and looks to carry on in Bates' footsteps with regard to education.

Kevin Talbert, 69, of Ashland, is a Rogue Community College board member and former chief information officer for Southern Oregon University. He's focusing on education, environment and local business.

The Republicans' convention to choose a nominee for the Senate seat will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, at Inn at the Commons. So far no Republican candidates have announced, though Dave Dotterrer, who ran against Bates twice, said he's considering entering the race.

Bates died unexpectedly Aug. 5 during a fishing trip with his son.

Gov. Kate Brown has ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff to honor Bates. Flags should be lowered from sunrise to sunset Saturday.

Funeral services for Bates will be held 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the Rogue River Room at Southern Oregon University in Ashland.

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