Election blunder could cost campaigns

Two candidates running for Medford City Council in the Nov. 6 election failed to get their names in the Jackson County Voters’ Pamphlet, a critical blunder that could damage their campaigns.

In the Ward 1 race in northeast Medford, missing information on one of the four candidates — David Dobrin — could give an edge to opponent Curt Ankerberg, a CPA who committed tax fraud in 2012-14 and makes expletive-laden, misogynistic and homophobic posts on social media. His 10 losses for various elected offices over the years means he has name recognition over the others, who are Dobrin, formerly of Lithia Dodge; Steve Dickson, an employee with Veterans Affairs; and Alex Poythress, a business owner.

Glenda Wilson, running in Ward 3 in northwest Medford, also didn’t provide the information necessary to get in the pamphlet, which is distributed to all voters in the county. Wilson is running against incumbent Kevin Stine and Don Libby.

Wilson said she’s going door-to-door to reach out to the approximately 7,000 voters in her ward, while Dobrin acknowledges he faces an uphill battle.

“My chances are probably ruined this time around,” Dobrin said. “It’s unfortunate. It’s a bummer.”

The Voters’ Pamphlet includes photos of the candidates and explanations of why they want to run for office. Ballot measures are also explained, with submitted pro and con arguments.

Many voters rely on the Voters’ Pamphlet to help them form an opinion about a candidate or measure before casting their vote.

Dobrin said he didn’t realize it cost so much money to get the information in the pamphlet, and he had some home remodeling in the works, leaving little left over. It costs $100 for a city council race, and $300 for the mayor or county race, with the amount based on the population in the ward or the area of representation. Dobrin thought he would have to pay $300, but it was actually $100.

“I kind of missed the boat on this,” he said.

Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker, who runs the Elections Center, said the information in the pamphlet is critical.

“It’s absolutely the biggest bang for your buck,” she said. “It’s literally pennies per registered voter.”

She recommends candidates have a good-quality photo to put in the pamphlet and provide information that describes what they want to do for their community.

Information about the pamphlet is included in a packet given to candidates.

“We call to remind people for their Voters’ Pamphlet information,” she said. “Some just don’t respond.”

Wilson said she got busy and forgot to get her information into the pamphlet, acknowledging it was a missed opportunity.

“It hurts that it wasn’t there,” she said. “The Voters’ Pamphlet is a great tool to get your name out there.”

Wilson said the Voters’ Pamphlet wasn’t something she was banking on to secure victory.

“I’m still going to give it 110 percent,” she said.

In her campaign, she’s emphasizing social media, which she thinks is one of the most important tools to reach out to voters.

Wilson has been spending weekends and evenings making her way around her northwest Medford ward to get her message out, saying she’s gotten a positive reception from many who haven’t been contacted by a candidate before.

“I’m methodically going around the neighborhoods knocking on doors,” Wilson said. “Most people I talk to that I tell them I’m not in the Voters’ Pamphlet they just shrug their shoulders.”

During her conversations, she said, many people have said they are not going to vote for any incumbent across the board because of the tone of politics recently.

“People are generally unhappy at the national level,” she said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on @reporterdm.

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