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Heated Deschutes DA race nears finish line

By Katie Higgins
Published On: May 15 2014 08:29:50 PM CDT
Updated On: May 16 2014 02:18:47 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Katie Higgins talks to both opponents in the race for district attorney.

BEND, Ore. -

It's less than a week until mail ballots are counted, and one of the most closely watched races in Central Oregon is the Deschutes County district attorney fight between incumbent Patrick Flaherty and challenger John Hummel.

The race involves two candidates with very different views of how the DA's office should run.

"Flaherty focuses solely on prosecution," Hummel said Thursday. "I'm going to run this office right and prosecute people -- and we're going to work on crime prevention."

"The most important prevention work is effective enforcement of the law," Flaherty said Thursday. "The mission of the DA is to enforce the law."

Both candidates say they are qualified.

"I have the executive experience to run that office right and to protect taxpayer dollars," Hummel said.

"Well, I've been your district attorney for four years, but I've been practicing criminal law for over 25 years here in Oregon," Flaherty said.

If elected, Hummel plans some changes.

"The changes are two-fold -- first, use my executive management experience to protect taxpayer dollars," Hummel said.

Second, he says he wants to focus on crime prevention.

Flaherty, however, wants to continue what he's started.  

"I don't foresee any changes in the structure of the office, but we continue to improve professionally, all of us," Flaherty said.

Each has a slightly different idea of what makes a district attorney successful as well.

"Whoever is the Deschutes County district attorney must be a prosecutor in order to lead the 18 dedicated prosecutors," Flaherty said.

"The district attorney is a leader. You got a staff of 15 deputy district attorneys to try the cases. We need a leader," Hummel said.

This is a polarizing race.

"You know, unfortunately, it hasn't worked out with Flaherty over the past four years," Hummel said.

"Mr. Hummel has not been honest with the public," Flaherty said.

This battle ends next Tuesday. Information on both candidates is provided in the 2014 Voters Pamphlet.  It's likely too late to mail your ballot and be sure it'll be at the clerk's office by 8 p.m. Tuesday, so check the drop sites listed in the Voters Pamphlet.

And count on KTVZ.COM and NewsChannel 21 for complete Election Night coverage and results.

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