It's nearly over — until November

It's all over but the shouting. The primary election, that is, although there's still time to vote — more on that later.

The shouting, we suspect, will continue right up to Nov. 4, when the nation finally chooses a new president. And the shouting will be heard not just from partisans on the national level, but from supporters of this or that candidate on the state and local levels, too.

Meanwhile, Oregonians can look back on a primary season like none in recent memory. The close contest for the Democratic presidential nomination brought the leading candidates to the Beaver State — and to Medford — not just once but repeatedly.

Barack Obama made three trips to Oregon, including Medford. Hillary Clinton was in Medford and Ashland once each, Bill Clinton spoke in Medford, Grants Pass and Ashland, accompanied by daughter Chelsea on his last visit.

John McCain visited Portland, too, although he needs no primary push here because he has the Republican nomination sewn up.

That's enough face time to make Oregonians feel as though they matter. But it has another benefit, too.

There is something about seeing and hearing a speaker in person that gives voters a sense of the individual far more clearly than seeing the same speech on television or reading excerpts in print. A Mail Tribune reporter present for Bill Clinton's appearance in Ashland Sunday came away with renewed respect for the former president's rhetorical skill.

Hillary Clinton's speech at the Jackson County Expo May 8 showed those in attendance a tireless campaigner fighting the good fight at the end of a day that began in West Virginia and continued in South Dakota before finishing in the Rogue Valley. It was a display of inner determination that would have brought many a lesser mortal to his or her knees.

Obama's town hall address at Kids Unlimited last month offered an up-close look at a candidate who can connect with voters as well as anyone on the campaign trail. His thoughtful responses to detailed policy questions from audience members showed the ability to listen that has proved a hallmark of his candidacy.

Every voter who attended one of these appearances is better prepared to cast a ballot, which can still be done today, but not by mail. Ballots must be in the hands of elections workers by 8 p.m. to be counted.

There are many state and local offices on the ballot as well, from Oregon secretary of state to Circuit Court judge to county surveyor. If you haven't voted yet, by all means do it today.

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