'We're going to have a pretty crowded ballot'

'We're going to have a pretty crowded ballot' »Play Video
In this May 12, 2011, file photo, the Oregon Capitol is shown surrounded by spring blossoms in Salem, Ore. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, file)

EUGENE, Ore. - Does John Kitzhaber warrant a 4th term as Oregon governor?

Should Jeff Merkley get a second term as U.S. Senator?

Will Oregon legalize marijuana?

Overturn a ban on same-sex marriage?

"We're going to have a pretty crowded ballot," said Steve Candee, who teached political science at Lane Community College. "Probably one of the most crowded that we've had for a few years."

Oregon voters will likely face May and November ballots packed with candidates and measures.

Among the jobs up for grabs: Governor of Oregon.

Candee said Kitzhaber will likely benefit from an improving economy. Oregon first 3-term governor, Kitzhaber - who took on PERS reform this term, and promises to reform the state's tax structure - also stakes out ground as moderately progressive.

"So I think he's got a good shot retaining that," Candee said.

Republicans will have to select candidates to challenge both Kitzhaber and Sen. Merkley, who is up for re-election for the first time since un-seating Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Oregon.

Also up for grabs: much of the state House and Senate, putting control of both bodies in play.

"This year I think it's really a toss up," Candee said. "I don't see that either the Democrats or Republicans have a distinct advantage."

On the ballot measure front, petitioners seeking to overturn a ban on gay marriage say they have gathered enough signatures to put the question before voters in November.

And even though Oregon voters defeated a measure in 2012 that would have legalized marijuana, the question will likely be back before voters in 2014 - either as a citizen initiative, or a referral from lawmakers to the people.

"I think there's a group of legislators who I think mistakenly believe either this is going to be a cash cow for the state or that it's inevitable," said Josh Marquis, the district attorney in Clatsop County.

"It's on both sides of the aisle now," said attorney Brian Michaels of Eugene. "They see it as a source of revenue."

Candee said defeat in 2012 doesn't mean defeat in 2014.

"It's trending in the direction - I mean, especially with Colorado and Washington state having already approved these measures," he said.

In Lane County, the seats of commissioners Jay Bozievich, Faye Stewart and Sid Leiken are all up for election.

Bozievich has filed for re-election. He faces competition from Dawn Lesley in the May 20, 2014, primary.

Stewart has also filed for re-election. Four people - Jose Ortal, Joann Ernst, Kevin Matthews and Jack Schoolcraft - have filed materials to challenge him in May.

For Leiken's Springfield seat, only Sandi Mann and Sheri Moore have filed candidacies.

Candidates have until March 11 to file to run.

Voters have until April 29 to register to vote in the May 20 primary.