In 2003, Brad Avakian and Dennis Richardson came to the state House as freshmen lawmakers.

 
Thirteen years later, they are fighting in Oregon’s hottest election battle to become the state’s second-ranking official.
 
The campaign for secretary of state has become bitter, with each candidate accusing the other of hitting below the belt.
 
In a video on his Twitter site, Avakian paints his rival as “extreme, like Trump.” Richardson retorts that Avakian has a history of not paying his bills. He also highlighted an article in Forbes.com alleging that his Democratic rival was campaigning on state time while working as Oregon’s labor commissioner, and that a couple of his staffers were too.
 
Oregon Republicans haven’t won a statewide election in more than a decade, but — if polls are to be believed — Richardson has a good shot of becoming secretary of state. He lost the gubernatorial election to John Kitzhaber in 2014 as the GOP candidate by about 6 percentage points.