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Four Democrats battle to challenge Boquist in Senate District 12
Senate District 12

Four Democrats battle to challenge Boquist in Senate District 12

  • Updated

Four Democratic candidates are seeking the party’s primary nomination to take on Republican incumbent Sen. Brian Boquist in District 12, which covers portions of Benton, Washington, Yamhill, Polk and Marion counties.

Boquist, a small-business owner and Army veteran, is seeking his fourth term in the seat. He is unopposed in the May 19 GOP primary. Boquist, 61, who lives in Dallas, has been in the Legislature since 2005, when he began serving the first of three House terms.

Boquist defeated Polk County sheep farmer Ross Swartzendruber by 63% to 37 percent in the 2016 election. Swartzendruber, is running again, along with acupuncturist Lisa Pool, artist and bookbinder Arianna Blunt and former water resources specialist Bernadette Hansen.

Swartzendruber, 55, says his three key issues are 1) pro-democracy legislation that addresses voter rights, campaign finance and ethics reform; 2) A German-style green new deal that encourages municipal renewable energy co-ops; and 3) a digital bill of rights that will cover data privacy and surveillance protections.

In perhaps a nod to his stiff challenge against Boquist in a predominately Republic district, Swartzendruber said he will “support as much change as District 12 constituents agree to pursue.”

Pool, 44 and a a McMinnville resident, has volunteered as a health care advocate and says she was inspired to run “because I see how hard people are struggling to make ends meet, how our tax dollars benefit the few, (and how) the divisive Capitol keeps us from finding success and solutions for education, healthcare and the environment”

Blunt and Hansen did not respond to Gazette-Times requests for information on their campaigns, but both have targeted homelessness and housing issues in their campaigns.

Contact reporter James Day at or 541-812-6116. Follow at or


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