Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang announced Monday that he’s running for re-election in 2024. But that election will look a little different this time around after Deschutes County last year approved making the county board of commissioners nonpartisan.
Chang and any other candidate must run without a party affiliation.
He ran as a Democrat when he first ran for commissioner in 2020.
“People may continue to associate that label with us,” Chang said.
After Deschutes County voters passed Measure 9-148 by nearly 62% in 2022, those labels now must be dropped for commissioner seats and their elections.
Chang considers himself a centrist and says he championed the idea of having a nonpartisan board of commissioners when he first ran in 2020.
“Many times we get stuck in these partisan identities and it can really hold us back from common sense strategies to deal with the problems that we need to deal with in our communities,” Chang said.
The change means that everyone in Deschutes County will see the the board of commissioners race on their primary ballot.
“Historically, the only people who would see that seat on their ballot in a primary election would be if you were affiliated with a Republican or Democratic party,” Deschutes County Clerk Steve Dennison said.
But long before that election, the Deschutes County special election will be held on Nov. 7. All ballots must be filled out and dropped off at a drop site by 8:00 p.m. that day, or be postmarked by 8:00 p.m. that day.