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Attorney general decision leaves Democratic campaign wide open for handful of candidates

COURTESEY PHOTO - Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said she will not run for governor.The old saying "not to decide is to decide" is playing out in Oregon's races for governor and Congress.

A long rumored candidate for governor opted not to run in 2022, while a deadline to challenge new congressional districts quietly passed without any action. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced late Monday, Nov. 29, that she would not seek the Democratic nomination for governor next year.

"I am not running for governor so I can keep my eye on the legal ball in our state without political distraction," Rosenblum said in a statement to supporters.

Rosenblum had been near the top of the list of likely candidates to run to succeed Gov. Kate Brown, who must leave office because of term limits. Under the state constitution, the attorney general is not subject to the limit of two consecutive terms in office that cover the governor, secretary of state and treasurer.

Doubts about a Rosenblum bid have become more common as she's declined to announce her intentions, while raising only $16,000 in campaign contributions this year. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, from Yamhill County, has raised more than $1 million in his campaign for governor.

Other major Democrats to announce for the race include House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, and Treasurer Tobias Read. Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla and former Independent Party governor candidate Patrick Starnes are among the others running in the crowded Democratic primary.

Rosenblum was first elected attorney general in 2012 and has won re-election in 2016 and 2020. She can run again in 2024.

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