Melissa Ousley, a local author and educator from Warrenton who filed for the Democratic primary to replace state Rep. Deborah Boone, has withdrawn her candidacy.
Boone, D-Cannon Beach, will not seek an eighth term in House District 32. Her decision came after the death of her husband, Bill Boone, a contractor and firefighter, in November.
“After taking a hard look at the viability of my campaign, I’ve decided to withdraw my candidacy,” Ousley said in an email. “With three candidates running, I am concerned about splitting the vote in Clatsop County, which would not be in the best interest of our district. I want to make sure we elect the best candidate for this position, and my base isn’t as strong as it needs to be to win.”
Tillamook County Commissioner Tim Josi and local attorney John Orr have also filed for the Democratic primary.
Gene Stout, a general contractor from Banks, has filed as a Republican.
Brian Halvorsen, a community organizer from Rockaway Beach who founded North Coast Progressives, has filed as an Independent.
Josi, who served in the state House from 1991 to 1998, has so far received the strongest backing. His campaign has received donations of $1,000 from state Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose; The Kroger Co.; Albertsons Safeway; and Portland attorney Leslie Johnson. He has also received $500 from Boone’s campaign committee and $250 each from Lisa Naito, a former Multnomah County commissioner and state representative; Leo Kuntz, owner of Nehalem Marine Manufacturing; and Joan Kelsey, an attorney in Tillamook. Josi has also taken out a $4,000 loan.
Candidates have until March 6 to file for the May primary.