Three Republican candidates are battling for the seat in House District 26 (Wilsonville, Sherwood and King City) that two-term incumbent state Rep. John Davis (R-Wilsonville) is vacating.
Davis, a lawyer who rose rapidly to become assistant House minority leader, endorsed another Republican, John Boylston, a King City lawyer hoping to replace him.
Boylston was the first to file for the seat, but the real battle—at least online and on social media—seems to be between the next two candidates who jumped into the race.
One is Richard Vial, a lawyer who, along with Boylston, grabbed a joint endorsement from the top House Republican, minority leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte). The third candidate is former state Rep. Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville), who held the HD 26 seat for two terms before giving up his re-election bid in 2012 following reports of his sexual relationship with a 20-year-old aide. Wingard had also previously acknowledged striking his then-7-year-old son with a screwdriver.
Borrowing a concept from Republicans opposed to presidential candidate Donald Trump, Wingard's detractors have built a website, Facebook page and Twitter hashtag on the "Never Wingard" theme. It's unclear who built those pages, and they have not been disclosed as an in-kind contribution to either Boylston or Vial.
It is clearer, however, who Wingard's supporters regard as his primary competition. They have built a website publicizing Vial's sin—giving money to Democratic candidates.
The dueling websites are necessary in the race, because although there are three candidates, none of them has raised much money. Vial, whom WW endorsed in the race, has reported $86,000 in contributions, of which $70,000 are loans from himself. Boylston has raised $39,000 and Wingard $31,000.
Ballots must be turned in by 8 pm on May 17.