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The Bend Bulletin Endorses Ellen Rosenblum for AG

Democratic voters will elect Oregon’s attorney general next month, and we urge them to choose Ellen Rosenblum, a lawyer who has served as a federal prosecutor and as a judge in the state for more than 30 years.

Rosenblum’s opponent is Dwight Holton, who most recently served two years as acting U.S. attorney in Oregon after seven years as an assistant in that office.

No Republicans have entered the race to replace outgoing Attorney General John Kroger, so the winner of the Democratic primary on May 15 will likely win the office.

Significant policy differences between the two candidates are not obvious. Both see the opportunity to help the vulnerable by leading efforts to address consumer fraud, foreclosure issues, abuse of prescription drugs and scam prevention, among others. Both address the responsibility of the attorney general to provide high-quality advice to the agencies of state government and to manage the large complex office, which has more than 1,200 employees.

They do differ in emphasis, however, with Holton, 46, more focused on the crime-fighting issues while Rosenblum, 61, points to the statutory duty to be the state government’s lawyer.

They also differ in background. Holton grew up in a Virginia political family, with both a father and brother-in-law having served as that state’s governor. He attended Brown University and the University of Virginia School of Law, followed by work in President Bill Clinton’s White House and as a prosecutor in New York. He moved to Oregon in 2004 as assistant U.S. Attorney and then was acting U.S. attorney of Oregon from 2010-2011.

Rosenblum, by contrast, has long roots in Oregon. She attended the University of Oregon both as an undergraduate and for her law degree, practiced law in a small firm in Eugene, moved on to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and then was named a judge in the Multnomah County District Court. She later joined the Multnomah County Circuit Court and then the Oregon Court of Appeals. She resigned from that post last year.

While both candidates appear well-qualified, we’re drawn to Rosenblum’s breadth of experience and her Oregon roots and connections. She has bipartisan support and, unlike her opponent, has raised the majority of her campaign funds in the state.