Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Oregon: Recall filed against Governor

2019 seems to be the year of the Gubernatorial Recall, as Oregon now joins the fray. Bill Currier, the chairman of the State Republican Party, has filed recall papers against Governor Kate Brown (D). Another petition was also filed by a local resident, focusing on homeless issues.

The GOP Recall effort seems pretty nakedly political, though the issue cited is the Democrats support of various climate change bills.

The recall was filed on the first possible day (after Brown had been in office six months). Petitioners would need 280,050 in 90 days. 

Oregon, the first state to adopt the recall for state-level officials way back in 1908, has had recalls against three state legislators, but never a Governor. Brown actually got the job when her predecessor John Kitzhaber face a recall threat.

What is perhaps most noteworthy is that Oregon's recall law does not provide for the election of a replacement. Replacements are instead "filed immediately in the manner provided by law for filing a vacancy in that office arising from any other cause." 

For Oregon, that means that Secretary of State Beverly Clarno (R), an 83-year old former Speaker of the State House of Representatives, who was recently appointed after the death of her predecessor, would  automatically become Governor. Clarno was appointed by Brown herself.

This no-vote provision is fairly common on the local level. However, it is relatively rare on the state level. I believe Idaho has a similar provision (though state lawmakers appointed for a vacancy must be of the same party). In the wake of a 2011 state House recall and the 2012 Wisconsin recalls next door, Michigan changed its law so that the Governor  would be replaced by the next in line (i.e., the Lieutenant Governor), thereby short circuiting any recall push. 

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