Kotek stepping down as Speaker to focus on governor’s race

January 6, 2022 GMT

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek announced Thursday she will resign from the Legislature to focus on her gubernatorial run.

The last day for the longest-tenured speaker in state history will be Jan. 21.

“I am forever grateful to my constituents, my colleagues, and the entire state for the opportunity to serve,” Kotek, a Portland Democrat, said in a statement. “

Dozens of candidates have filed to run for the spot being vacated by a term-limited Gov. Kate Brown this year.

Also on Thursday, the Oregon’s secretary of state ruled that former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is not eligible to run for governor because he does not meet the state’s residency requirement. Kristof had announced a run as a Democrat and had garnered attention and shown quickly raised a sizable campaign war chest.

Kotek’s change of strategy was sudden — as recently as November her office said she planned to remain in her role through the end of the year.

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Under House rules, Kotek would need to pause her fundraising efforts for the entirety of next month’s state legislative session, which can last up to 35 days.

Democrats have held Oregon’s governor’s office since 1987, and others in the party running for the state’s high office include state Treasurer Tobias Read.

Republicans seeking their party’s nomination include state Rep. Christine Drazan, former Republican nominee Bud Pierce and Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam.

Former Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson is running as an independent.