Former House District 23 Representative Jim Thompson has filed as a candidate for the Independent Party of Oregon in HD-23, seeking to challenge the far right Republican who defeated him in a hard fought Republican Primary election two years ago.
In 2014 then incumbent Republican Thompson was defeated in the Republican Primary by Mike Nearman. Nearman’s challenge came after Thompson came out in favor of gay marriage. Nearman’s primary challenge was funded primarily by Oregon Right to Life and the Oregon Family Council. Nearman later went on to win the general election in the solid Republican district.
When the IPO reached major party status in 2015, Thompson re-registered as a member of the Independent Party and said he intended to run again for the seat under the banner of the IPO.
At the time Thompson was quoted in the Oregonian saying:
“I’m so disgruntled with the Republican Party,” said Thompson, arguing that it has become too negative. He also said he thought the Legislature had turned into a “partisan cat fight between the extremes of the two parties, and this doesn’t serve Oregon.”
Thompson is the second prominent Republican to switch to the nascent Independent Party of Oregon and run for public office. Former Republican State Senator Chris Telfer is running for Oregon State Treasurer. Both Thompson and Telfer were considered moderate Republicans before leaving the GOP and joining the Independent Party.