Oregon’s Secretary of State is currently the only state executive office held by a Republican. Since Dennis Richardson’s death in 2018, the seat has been held by his interim replacement, Bev Clarvo, who has announced she will not seek election in 2020. As the last stronghold in Oregon’s state government for Republicans, there is a fierce primary battle underway for Democrats.
In the Democratic primary, three candidates are competing for the nomination. Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a Terrebonne Democrat who gained political limelight for her challenge against Greg Walden in 2018, announced her candidacy late last year. She has distinguished herself as a centrist, rural candidate who made some inroads in Walden’s ruby-red district last year, though she still lost by 17 points. Rep. Jennifer Williamson, a Democrat from Portland and the former state House majority leader, and Sen. Mark Hass, a former television broadcaster and a state senator representing Beaverton, are also vying for the nomination.
For Republicans, Sen. Kim Thatcher and Dave Stauffer will face off for the Republican nomination in May. Thatcher is from Keizer and has served in the state legislature since 2005. She has positioned herself as a pro-business, pro-transparency and accountability Republican, which echoes Richardson’s reputation as Secretary of State. Stauffer, meanwhile, is a former Democrat who ran for governor in 2016 and proposed alleviating traffic on the I-5 bridge by building water slides.