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.

Cases: 309841

Reported Deaths: 3569
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah50840642
Washington34683272
Marion32181388
Clackamas26315270
Lane23632246
Jackson20753255
Deschutes16401100
Umatilla12552125
Douglas10599185
Linn1030285
Josephine8536163
Yamhill737299
Klamath637891
Polk617770
Malheur475867
Benton454027
Coos406469
Columbia320237
Jefferson310446
Lincoln272829
Union266036
Wasco236739
Crook212137
Clatsop210225
Tillamook179623
Baker171920
Morrow166621
Curry166317
Hood River161635
Harney77115
Grant7538
Lake6608
Wallowa50111
Gilliam1364
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4636268

Reported Deaths: 67966
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144412725849
Riverside3575584802
San Diego3492274006
San Bernardino3468955501
Orange3135295354
Sacramento1498662070
Santa Clara1403871841
Fresno1356471889
Kern1343971515
Alameda1160681320
Ventura976231120
San Joaquin971621615
Contra Costa95595924
Stanislaus800341229
Tulare72812896
San Mateo52172607
San Francisco51808605
Monterey49445565
Solano44061312
Santa Barbara43065500
Sonoma39376376
Merced39279535
Placer36390364
Imperial34235755
Kings30038285
San Luis Obispo28273313
Madera21672258
Butte21205230
Shasta20647276
Santa Cruz20134211
Yolo19118239
Marin17080242
El Dorado15964127
Sutter13055153
Napa1224695
Yuba923461
Nevada845685
Humboldt826284
Tehama821184
San Benito708567
Mendocino681971
Lassen636827
Tuolumne612593
Lake601087
Amador489759
Glenn396430
Siskiyou388841
Calaveras339366
Del Norte334234
Colusa290718
Inyo166239
Mono14935
Plumas12336
Mariposa96712
Trinity71910
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1180
Alpine1000
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