SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Some Republicans in Oregon aren't on board with the party's attempt to recall Gov. Kate Brown, saying conservatives should instead focus their efforts on winning the next election.
"I am only speaking for myself, but I have misgivings about the petition drive," Deschutes County Republican chair Paul deWitt told the Bulletin. "Kate Brown deserves to be recalled, but we also need to elect Republicans in 2020."
Oregon Republican Party chairman Bill Currier filed paperwork July 15 to launch a petition effort to recall the Democratic governor based on what he called Brown's "politically-motivated agendas," citing her support of progressive legislation to grant driver's licenses to immigrants who lack proof of legal residence, among other things.
"The people of Oregon deserve and expect a governor that honors the will of the voters and works for the good of all citizens," Currier said in his petition.
DeWitt is one of few Republicans to vocally criticize the recall effort, which many believe to be a political longshot. Organizers have until mid-October to gather 280,050 valid signatures from voters. If recall supporters gather enough signatures, a special election could be scheduled in November.
On the chance that voters did choose to recall Brown, she'd be replaced by Treasurer Tobias Read, another Democrat. The current Secretary of State, Republican Bev Clarno, is ineligible to succeed Brown under state law because she was politically appointed to the position.
"We do all of this and Read is governor — is that so much better?" deWitt said. "From what I see, he supports the same issues as Brown."
Democrats have lambasted the recall effort as a political stunt meant to undermine the results of the November 2018 election, which also gave Democrats a legislative supermajority.
"The GOP is embracing inflammatory rhetoric and pursuing a fool's errand by trying to recall a governor that voters re-elected by a wide margin less than a year ago," said KC Hanson, chairwoman of the Oregon Democratic Party. "Clearly, the GOP is scared of what's on the horizon for 2020."
Although some Republicans also have their doubts about the recall, that won't stop them from circulating petitions.
"The petition will be on our table at the county fair," said deWitt. "We'll do our part."