SALEM, Ore. — By 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, the Republican party had a clear candidate for the Secretary of State race, but Democrats had a much closer call.
Republican Kim Thatcher built an overwhelming lead of more than 84 percent over competitor Dave Stauffer, ensuring that she will be the party's candidate in November.
Democratic votes were much more evenly split between candidates Mark Hass, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, and Shemia Fagan. At 10 p.m., Hass had a narrow lead with almost 37.4 percent of the vote, and Fagan trailed with a close 34.8 percent. McLeod-Skinner had a respectable 27.1 percent.
For the past several years, the Secretary of State position has been held by Republicans. The late Dennis Richardson took office in January of 2017 after winning a statewide election, but he passed away following a battle with brain cancer last February. Governor Kate Brown then appointed former Republican House Speaker Bev Clarno to take up the position until another election could be held.
Brown was required to choose a Republican replacement for Richardson, but held to the condition that Clarno would not run for election in 2020 — opening the door to an entirely new field of candidates.