clown-car-explainedEastern Oregonians often bitch about the lopsided population spread that gives the Portland area control over electing the Governor. Even if everyone outside of the Portland to Eugene zone voted for the same opposing candidate, they would be overruled by the Willamette Valley masses.

With this in mind, consider the unfortunate scenario confronting all voters who aren’t located in Klamath Falls who reside in Senate District 28, which includes all of Klamath, Lake, and portions Jackson and Crook counties. Already disenfranchised by the state divide, those voters are further limited by the geography of their local senate district.

This means that no candidate from outside Klamath Falls has much of a chance at wooing the mighty majority of Klamath voters. Klamath carries the vote, no matter how vile, corrupt or backwards their candidates may be. For Klamath, the devil they know will always be favored more than an outsider.

Speaking of devils, check out the blatent hypocrisies of Mayor Kelstrom and Klamath’s new Senate candidate, Todd Kepple.

The first one: Kepple is a Republican running on the Democrat ticket. He was reportedly recruited and boosted by his campaign manager—the Mayor of Klamath Falls—Todd Kelstrom, who is simultaneously seeking re-election. Both Kepple and Kellstrom represent the Kepple candidacy as a direct response to the unethical collusion between Senator Whitsett and his selected successor, Dennis Linthicum.

For those who haven’t been following this: Linthicum filed a few days before deadline as the only challenger to Whitsett, who pretended to be running as an incumbent, then gave notice he would not seek reelection after the filing deadline passed. Kepple won the democratic nomination as a write-in after our write-up on the Whitsett-Linthicum scandal.

That was a nasty, horrible move, and it is agreed that Linthicum should not be elevated to the senate office in light of his involvement. Nonetheless, through the fog of this ire, citizens should be keenly aware of the other side’s double-speak.

Let’s break it down:

  • Kellstrom feigns being floored and flabbergasted by this affront to democracy…an incumbent discouraging candidate filings? How unacceptable!
  • Kellstrom has been in office since 1992, for six consecutive terms and is going for a 7th, a total of some 24 years of hoarding office to date.
  • Kellstrom basically stated he intends to groom his successor in an interview with the local paper this year, “I’m happy to…embrace these people, these young folks; embrace our potential new leaders. I’m not going to be here forever so I would be more than honored to lead this new group into the next generation of political leadership.”

This is the guy who is managing Kepple’s campaign for senate in opposition to an incumbent senator who first wouldn’t leave, then groomed a successor. Hmmm.

Now let’s turn our attention to Kepple:

  • Kepple was a managing editor at the local paper when Whitsett was running for office.
  • In 2004, incumbent Senator Harper wouldn’t state whether he was running for re-election or not within a week before the filing deadline.
  • Then Senator Harper announced he would not be seeking reelection and stated he would not be endorsing any successors.
  • Two days later, just before the filing deadline, Whitsett filed for the senate seat with Harper’s endorsement, a sequence of events that required months of planning.
  • Harper then gave Whitsett’s campaign $15,000 in contributions from his outgoing campaign fund.
  • The local paper lambasted the opponent who disclosed what happened, as if Harper and Whitsett’s actions were perfectly acceptable.
  • In 2016, Kepple prominently features endorsements and support from former Senator Harper.

What went down in 2004 wasn’t much different from the latest senate incumbent conspiracy of 2016, but neither Kepple nor the local paper where he had significant influence mentioned anything negative about what Harper did. Mayor Kellstrom was also silent about the 2004 debacle.

Is it not curious that these people are in such an uproar over scheme in 2016 that strongly resembles a similar scheme perpetrated in 2004 by a former incumbent they have on their team? Harper was infamous for how disdainfully he represented Klamath to the State of Oregon. On one occasion when Governor Kitzhaber was in Klamath for an event, Harper refused to shake the Democrat’s hand. The grapevine indicated he acted that way because he hated democrats and Kitzhaber as the leader. Yet now, Harper is endorsing someone IN KLAMATH running on the DEMOCRAT ticket?

clown-carThis election is like standing curbside when an odd looking car swerves up and one wicked clown after another pours out. Just when you think there can’t possibly be another clown crammed in there, another emerges. This clown posse includes a lot of backup.

The Kepple and Kellstrom social network is long list of multi-term elected officals and a cadre of talking-head luminaries from the good old boy network and beyond, all of which must be incredibly gullible to cut loose the endorsements without thinking through the big picture.

Note to Kellstrom: if you are so concerned about incumbent-manipulated barriers to running for public office, why don’t you get the fuck out of the way so someone else can be mayor for a while? And do this without hand picking and grooming someone to take your place. The mayor in Klamath Falls doesn’t actually run the city, afterall. It is figurehead position that chairs city council and makes appointments. That’s it. It doesn’t require grooming or training, anyone can do that job. If you are serious about getting Kepple elected to senate, walk the talk and end your own placeholder practice.

Kepple has a chance at winning with all the backlashing going on, the parade of endorsements (clowns) and support from the local paper he used to work for, but considering the nature of the beasts involved, this is turning out to be yet another race propped up the same lackluster forces. The Republicans and the Democrats both have offered up their frontrunners, neither of which are pristine, likable, interesting, or ethical. Another choice between the least worst candidate.

Is it finally time to try something different? Could the majority of voters lower themselves the unthinkable level of electing one of the other people on the ballot from outside Klamath?

Look to history…Klamath’s senate filers are always so caught up in their game playing, egos and partisan drama, they seldom if ever work for the good of the district as a whole once elected. They always seem to fall in lockstep with special interests…just look at their campaign contributions. Jackson and Lake counties both have candidates on the ballot that are far more virtuous. The Klamath-driven house and senate candidates suck…again. Give the neighbors of Klamath a chance in the Senate. We’ve hit rock bottom. It can only be better if people from outside Klamath are elected to the state offices.