Gov. Kate Brown announces reelection bid
SALEM — Just a year after winning election, Gov. Kate Brown announced early Monday that she would seek a final term in office in 2018.
In a video blasted across social media, the longtime Democratic politician contrasted her administration to that of President Donald Trump, while never mentioning him by name.
"As your governor, it's my job to make things better and stand up to anyone who would take our rights away," Brown said.
A former Oregon secretary of state, Brown ascended to the governorship in February 2015, when former Gov. John Kitzhaber stepped down amid an influence-peddling scandal. Oregon's unusual line of succession made Brown the first openly bisexual governor in the nation's history and Oregon's second female chief executive. The state has no lieutenant governor, so the secretary of state is first in line after the governor.
In November 2016, Brown was elected to complete the last two years of Kitzhaber's four-year term. She defeated a Republican challenge by Salem oncologist Bud Pierce, who was a newcomer to politics.
But those two years counted as her first term, and in Oregon, governors are limited to two consecutive terms in office.
Brown's announcement Monday was merely a formality. The governor has raised campaign funds in excess of $1.1 million since January in preparation for a showdown with orthopedic surgeon Rep. Knute Buehler, a Republican who announced his candidacy last month.
Brown on Monday touted legislative accomplishments under her administration, including a $5.3 billion transportation package and expansion of the Oregon Health Plan, the state's Medicaid program, to undocumented children. She also highlighted passage of the Oregon Promise, which allows Oregon high school graduates to attend college for as little as $50 a semester, an increase in minimum wage, and a program to phase out the use of coal.
Buehler, who has raised $1.2 million, has criticized Brown for failing to address major problems in the state, such as the low high school graduation rate, and tax and spending reform.
"Under Kate Brown, Oregonians can expect more of the same – failed leadership, failing schools, and an endless cycle of chaos, corruption and incompetence in and around state government," said Rebecca Tweed, Buehler's campaign manager. "Knute Buehler will bring the change Oregon needs."