SALEM -- Retired state appeals court judge Ellen Rosenblum has won the Democratic primary for attorney general.
The winner of Tuesday's primary was expected to easily take the general election in the fall, with the Republicans fielding only a write-in candidate.
Rosenblum and former U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton had sparred over their experience, Oregon roots and the state's medical marijuana law.
"I am honored to have been selected by the voters of Oregon as their choice for the Democratic nominee Attorney General of Oregon," Rosenblum said. "I began this campaign by making a promise to be the People’s Attorney General by being a strong advocate for Oregon families, kids and our state’s most vulnerable citizens. I am excited to fulfill that promise both during the general election and as Oregon’s next Attorney General."
Rosenblum, 61, has emphasized her Oregon roots during her campaign. She was a state appeals court judge for six years after nearly two decades as a trial-court judge in Multnomah County. She was also a federal prosecutor in Eugene and Portland.
Rosenblum had gained significant support from marijuana activists frustrated with Holton, who has called Oregon's medicinal pot law a "train wreck" and cracked down on marijuana growers he said were using the law as cover for illegal activity. He's fought back, criticizing Rosenblum's pledge to make the enforcement of marijuana laws a "low priority."
"There's lots of issues that played into my victory, and that may well be one of them," Rosenblum said of the surprising emergence of medical marijuana as a defining issue. "But I was running on a platform of being an attorney for the people of Oregon, and I think they got it and I think that's why I won."
Holton, 46, was a federal prosecutor for 15 years, first in Brooklyn before transferring to Portland in 2004. He served as the U.S. Attorney for Oregon on an interim basis for nearly two years. Before becoming a lawyer, he worked on presidential campaigns.
“We didn’t get the result we all fought hard to get, but I am proud of the work we did – and most importantly, to my family, friends, supporters and staff, you can be proud of the work you did. We stuck to our shared values and ran a positive campaign," Holton said. “I will always be grateful for the overwhelming support from groups who fight every day for working families, for teachers, for equal rights – and those who stand up for justice and go to work every day to hold powerful interests accountable and keep our communities safe."
Holton also congratulated Rosenblum and wished her success as the new state attorney general.
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