Our May primary picks

Attorney general: Dwight Holton, the former interim U.S. attorney for Oregon, has the vision and statewide support to be an excellent attorney general. Only two Democrats filed for this office, so the primary winner likely will take the seat.

Secretary of state: We didn't publish an editorial on this race because incumbent Kate Brown is challenged in the Democratic primary by Paul Damian Wells, who is really a Libertarian running, as he has in the past, not to win the office but to make a political point advocating a "top-two" primary system that would make it easier for minor party candidates to compete. We recommend Democrats nominate Brown for another term.

Oregon Supreme Court: Timothy Sercombe, a productive and respected Appeals Court judge since 2007, is the best choice.

Oregon Court of Appeals: Timothy Volpert, who has built a 30-year career trying appellate cases and is respected for his knowledge of Constitutional law, is best prepared for a seat on the Appeals Court bench.

Jackson County district attorney: Rob Patridge is not a career prosecutor, as his two opponents are, but we aren't convinced that's the most important attribute for leading an office that handles 7,000 cases a year. The next district attorney also will be responsible for obtaining up-to-date computer technology and improving relations between prosecutors and law enforcement. We recommend Patridge.

Jackson County commissioner: On the Republican side, real estate broker Joel Ockunzzi impresses us with his businesslike approach to county government — and his pragmatic rejection of two property-rights ballot measures.

Of the three Democrats, we think Jeff Scroggin has the talent and leadership ability to best represent his party in the general election.

Ballot Measure 15-110 and Ballot Measure 15-111: These voter initiatives express frustration with Oregon's statewide system of land-use planning, but they are not the way to accomplish what their supporters seek. One-size-fits-all zoning rules don't always work well, but Jackson County cannot simply refuse to follow state law, which is what 15-110 would amount to. Measure 15-111 would declare that Jackson County refuses to accept the repeal of Measure 37 and will pay millions of dollars the county does not have to property owners who are not entitled to compensation under the existing law. The measure would tie the county up in court at taxpayer expense in a battle the county would be bound to lose.

Jackson County assessor: Roy Wright has extensive private-sector appraisal experience; Josh Gibson, the appointed incumbent, is young but intimately familiar with the workings of the office. We make no recommendation in this race.

Jackson County surveyor: Kerry Bradshaw and Herb Farber are eminently qualified. Bradshaw, the incumbent, has apparently done a fine job in his first term, so we see no compelling reason to replace him and recommend his re-election.

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