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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: 9930

Reported Deaths: 213
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah241769
Marion161047
Washington153420
Clackamas82125
Umatilla7166
Union3551
Lincoln3463
Deschutes2110
Lane2083
Malheur1911
Polk15912
Linn1579
Jackson1470
Jefferson1320
Yamhill1328
Klamath1301
Benton935
Morrow931
Hood River880
Wasco881
Josephine521
Clatsop510
Douglas460
Coos420
Columbia360
Lake210
Tillamook140
Crook120
Wallowa100
Curry80
Baker50
Sherman20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Harney10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 252895

Reported Deaths: 6334
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1078263457
Riverside19450479
Orange16191363
San Diego15696387
San Bernardino13676269
Imperial7039114
Alameda6556140
Fresno585177
Kern513081
Santa Clara5077160
Tulare4627136
San Joaquin447455
Sacramento400469
San Francisco377650
Contra Costa356481
San Mateo3536108
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Marin271921
Kings260032
Stanislaus253144
Monterey191515
Solano147625
Sonoma135911
Merced127211
Placer82811
San Luis Obispo7012
Yolo61325
Madera5785
Santa Cruz4553
Napa3764
San Benito2652
Sutter2433
Lassen2420
El Dorado2260
Butte2063
Shasta1484
Humboldt1444
Nevada1291
Glenn1220
Yuba1061
Tehama881
Lake870
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Del Norte581
Calaveras530
Mono451
Tuolumne430
Inyo331
Amador310
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
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