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Oregon Secretary of State candidate drops out ahead of campaign finance story

Former state House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson announced the end of her campaign on Monday, citing an unnamed 'story being pushed in the media.'

Posted: Feb 10, 2020 5:17 PM
Updated: Feb 10, 2020 5:36 PM

SALEM, Ore. — One of the Democratic contenders for Oregon's Secretary of State announced that she would suspend her campaign on Monday, making vague reference to a story about her use of campaign funds.

Former state House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson posted the announcement to her campaign's Facebook early Monday afternoon.

"Sadly, a story currently being pushed in the media is designed to question my use of campaign funds and unfairly attack my integrity," Williamson said. "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."

While it was not immediately clear what story Williamson was referencing, Portland publication Willamette Week later said that it had been working a story regarding the politician's campaign expenditures.

"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," Williamson continued. "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."

An article posted by the Willamette Week following Williamson's announcement did not go into further detail about the story in question. Public records do indicate that Williamson's campaign paid for more than $32,000 in airfare between March 2014 and August 2019, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported — which included trips to Europe, Asia, and Hawaii.


RELATED: Race for Oregon Secretary of State heats up with third major candidacy


Williamson said that she would suspend her campaign ahead of the March 10 filing deadline, in hopes "that another truly progressive leader will be able to step into" the primary.

Current state Senator Mark Hass, 2018 Walden challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, and former Marine officer Cameron Smith remain in the race for the Democratic nomination. Both Hass and McLeod-Skinner expressed a certain level of sympathy for Williamson in posts to social media following her announcement.

"I know today must be difficult for Jennifer Williamson," Hass said. "I wish her the best and hope she can return to public service someday."

"Jennifer Williamson has a tremendous track record of advocating for women, families, and criminal justice reform. Oregon is a better state for her work," McLeod-Skinner said.

Republican state Senator Kim Thatcher recently announced her candidacy for the Secretary of State post — the only Republican candidate so far. Thatcher launched her campaign at the latest "Timber Unity" rally in Salem, later indicating that she had received an endorsement from the group.

Secretary of State is currently the only statewide office in Oregon held by a Republican. The late Dennis Richardson was the last to win the seat through an election, and current Secretary Bev Clarno was appointed to fill the position following his death. Clarno, a former Republican Speaker of the House and Senator, came out of retirement to assume Richardson's role and has not filed to run for election in 2020.

"I'm excited to carry on Secretary Richardson's legacy of an accountable and transparent government for us all, regardless of political party," Thatcher said in a post last week.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32314

Reported Deaths: 542
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7081137
Marion462792
Washington446859
Umatilla294841
Clackamas237761
Malheur160926
Lane114317
Jackson11235
Deschutes81012
Yamhill75513
Jefferson5248
Polk52315
Linn50813
Morrow4986
Lincoln47813
Union4432
Benton3076
Wasco2823
Klamath2802
Hood River2480
Douglas2234
Clatsop2050
Josephine1972
Columbia1621
Coos1520
Baker922
Crook611
Tillamook520
Lake320
Curry310
Wallowa281
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 803660

Reported Deaths: 15516
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2657756488
Riverside581781189
San Bernardino53669922
Orange529041204
San Diego46001775
Kern31785361
Fresno28106382
Sacramento22026402
Alameda21028404
Santa Clara20882306
San Joaquin20194441
Stanislaus16452348
Contra Costa16327204
Tulare15897259
Ventura12617147
Imperial11781317
San Francisco1103899
San Mateo9785150
Monterey977270
Santa Barbara9003113
Merced8846140
Kings763177
Sonoma7320120
Marin6672117
Solano630963
Madera448165
Placer354244
San Luis Obispo351029
Butte280343
Yolo278955
Santa Cruz23199
Sutter169611
Napa166113
San Benito133111
Yuba11437
El Dorado10984
Mendocino89918
Shasta77717
Lassen7370
Glenn5743
Tehama5404
Lake53411
Nevada5317
Colusa5276
Humboldt5017
Calaveras31414
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
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