PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The Oregon secretary of state isn’t usually in the limelight, but this year, it’s become the hottest statewide race on the May 17 primary ticket.
Five prominent candidates – three Democrats and two Republicans – are squaring off for the state’s second most powerful position. Three are former state lawmakers and the other two, Democrats Rep. Val Hoyle and Sen Richard Devlin, are currently serving in the Legislature.
Democrats have dominated statewide elected offices since 2002 and the secretary of state since 1986.
But the office has gained more attention since February 2015, when then-Secretary Kate Brown became governor after John Kitzhaber stepped down. Kitzhaber’s Republican opponent in 2014, Dennis Richardson, who called attention to ethics issues that ultimately brought down Kitzhaber, hopes to make a comeback as state secretary.