Politics

Barton beats Wall in Washington County DA

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Kevin Barton defeated challenger Max Wall in a supercharged race to become the next Washington County District Attorney.

Barton took a 2-1 lead in the early returns for the Washington County DA race over Wall.

In a statement released around 8:45 p.m., Wall said:

“I entered this race 10 weeks ago to start a debate about how to keep our communities safe, use our taxpayer dollars more wisely, and do justice the right way. And to ensure our District Attorney goes through an election, not a coronation.
 
“Our campaign created real public discussion on alternative sentencing, dealing with our overcrowded jail, and ensuring prosecutors have a smart and fair approach to criminal justice.

“I wish District Attorney-elect Kevin Barton the best as he approaches the challenges ahead.”

Generally speaking, a county race for district attorney attracts almost no attention. But this year, the influx of big money -- much of it connected to big money donors, PACs and out-of-state residents, supercharged the Washington County race between Kevin Barton and Max Wall.

Barton is a Deputy DA in Washington County while Wall is the well-funded challenger who declined to reveal the source of many large contributions to his campaign. Wall also filed to run on the last day possible in early March.

Barton and Wall are running to replace retiring DA Bob Hermann, who was first elected in 1999 and has been a prosecutor in the county since 1975.

Combined, the campaigns raised over $1 million with Wall having more than half that total. 

Most of his money came from political action committees: Oregon Law & Justice PAC and Law & Justice PAC have donated a combined $578,000. They have no phone numbers and are based in a Washington D.C. law firm that claims no knowledge of their existence. 

Barton also received a large PAC donation of $155,00 from conservative Portland businessman Henry Swigert, owner of ESCO Corp. 

All that money paid for attack ads by both candidates.

There is nothing illegal or improper about political groups backing candidates financially, according to Jim Moore, director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation at Pacific University in Forest Grove. The trend has been growing for years, first with judges' races and now, more and more commonly, with district attorney elections.


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