State representative Betsy Johnson led the polling in Sunday's Democratic nominating convention to name candidates for the vacant Senate District 16 seat.

About 50 Democratic precinct leaders from Clatsop, Colombia and Tillamook counties gathered in Seaside to pick a slate of contenders for the post that will be presented to the commissioners of five counties Wednesday.

Along with Johnson, the delegates nominated Emil Nyberg of Astoria and Bill Blank of Scappoose.

On Wednesday the commissioners from Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook, Multnomah and Washington counties will vote to pick a candidate from the list of nominees to serve the rest of the term of Joan Dukes, who gave up her Senate seat after her appointment to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

Johnson, D-Scappoose, is considered the front-runner for the appointment. If she's picked for the Senate seat, the same nominating and appointment process will be used to pick her replacement for her House District 31 seat.

Five candidates - Don Atwood and Jim Servino of Astoria and Earl Fisher, Margaret Magruder and Brad Witt of Clatskanie - have submitted their names for consideration.


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