Williamson drops out of Oregon secretary of state race
Several media sources are reporting that former House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson has abruptly suspended her campaign for Oregon secretary of state.
Williams, a Portland Democrat, left her powerful House post in 2019 to run for the position.
Dick Hughes, a veteran freelance Salem journalist, first reported Williamson's decision on Twitter. Willamette Week reported Monday, Feb. 10, that it was preparing story about Williamson's campaign expenditures during the years she served in the House.
In a Feb. 10 press release, Williamson said the story would "… question my use of campaign funds and unfairly attack my integrity."
Williamson was widely regarded as the front-runner for the secretary of state post. Also running are Democrats state Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton; former Central Oregon congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner; and Cameron Smith, who most recently was the head of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. Republican state Sen. Kim Thatcher announced Feb. 6 that she was running. March 10 is the filing deadline for the May primary.
Secretary of State Bev Clarno, the Republican incumbent, isn't running for the office. She was appointed by Gov. Kate Brown to replace Dennis Richardson, who died last year. Richardson was the first Republican to win a statewide office in Oregon since 2002.
Nothing is more important to me than advancing the progressive priorities and policies that make Oregon such a special place, and working to restore voters' faith in our electoral systems and democracy.
Sadly, a story currently being pushed in the media is designed to question my use of campaign funds and unfairly attack my integrity. Let me be clear, I have always followed Oregon campaign finance laws and fully reported all expenditures for travel and other expenses while fulfilling my responsibilities as House Democratic Majority Leader and fact-finding as a state legislator. In fact, I often used campaign dollars in place of taxpayer dollars.
Politics is nothing new to me and I fully expected at least a few bruising fights over the course of this important election for Secretary of State. What I didn't expect was a baseless story that questions my integrity, that of my family, and the legal use of campaign funds. I won't allow my family to be put through this.
This election and the issues we face in our democracy right now are much bigger than me. I am unwilling to risk our state's future progress with this distraction. I will not allow these politically motivated and unfounded accusations to distract Oregonians from what matters most in this election for Secretary of State — working to keep our elections clean, fair and free from foreign tampering and drawing fair district lines to make sure communities of color are not left behind.
For these reasons, I have decided to suspend my campaign for Oregon Secretary of State. I am doing so now before the filing deadline on March 10, 2020 in the hope that another truly progressive leader will be able to step into this Democratic primary and continue the fight to protect our democracy.
I greatly appreciate the support and friendship I have received from so many great people throughout this race. While my name may not be on the ballot, my work and my energy will continue to be focused with you on protecting what we love about Oregon and keeping up the fight to make it better for all our families.
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