Greg Macpherson

John Kroger

SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newline)-The two candidates-both Democrats- vying to be Oregon's next attorney general are in a statistical dead heat, a poll indicates.

State Rep. Greg Macpherson and law school professor John Kroger are running in Oregon's Democratic primary to succeed Attorney General Hardy Myers, who is retiring after leading the state Department of Justice since 1996.

Macpherson leads Kroger 26 percent to 22 percent, within the poll's margin of error, among likely voters in the state's May 20 Democratic primary, according to a poll commissioned by The Portland Tribune and KPTV-12.

The poll indicates that about 46 percent of voters are undecided.

The survey of 400 likley Democratic voters, conducted by the polling firm Davis, Hibbitts & Midghall Inc., has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.

Since no Republican is running for attorney general, the Democratic nominee is all but assured of winning the post in November's general election.

Macpherson, an employee benefits attorney at the Portland firm of Stoel Rives LLP, has been endorsed by many of his fellow Democrats in the state Legislature, as well as by Myers and Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

Kroger, who teaches at Lewis and Clark Law School, has been backed heavily by the state's three largest unions as well as by many of the state's prosecutors.

In interviews with Legal Newsline, the candidates said their style differs from that of their rival.

For his part, Kroger said he would use his experience as a former federal prosecutor to enforce the state's environmental laws using a "bully pulpit" and go after big-time drug dealers.

"My goal is to really improve the enforcement of our environmental laws, seeking higher penalties when people violate the law and much more aggressive use of criminal laws to protect the environment," he said.

Macpherson, a three-term state legislator from Lake Oswego, told LNL he would build on his "track record" as a lawmaker of making neighborhoods safer and protecting consumers from scam artists.

"As attorney general, what I'll do is to use those new authorities I created as a legislator to make sure we go after bad actors," Macpherson said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at

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