One cause for the turnover: An open race for Oregon secretary of state has prompted at least two particularly influential Democratic legislators, former House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson and Senate Finance and Revenue Chair Mark Hass, to step aside to seek that statewide office.
In addition, multiple experienced lawmakers in their 60s, 70s and 80s have announced plans to retire.
Two Republican lawmakers who were appointed to their seats in the wake of former Sen. Jackie Winters’ death are expected to run for election to those positions for the first time in 2020.
And powerful Republican Sen. Cliff Bentz of Ontario has announced he will step down in January to run for Rep. Greg Walden’s seat in Congress.
Truckers and loggers opposed to the carbon capping bill rallied at the Capitol in June while Republicans were hunkered down out of state to prevent a vote on the measure.
Bentz and two Democratic senators who are retiring all played roles in killing a climate change bill that made international headlines this year. Bentz’ absence during the February 2020 short legislative session during which Democrats hope to take another run at a carbon cap-and-spend bill could color Republicans’ response. Here are the seats that will be completely open or lack an elected incumbent in 2020…
At least 15 races for the Oregon House and Senate in 2020 will not feature an elected incumbent, suggesting there may some highly contested partisan contests and will be significant turnover in senior leadership.
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Oregon Legislature will have at least 15 open seats in 2020
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Hillary Borrud | The Oregonian/OregonLive| december 2, 2019
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