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First take/secstate

In Oregon, where the offices of governor and senator – not to mention president – will be on the ballot next year, the hot race may well be secretary of state. Governor Kate Brown and Senator Ron Wyden don’t look to be heavily challenged at this point, either inside or outside the Democratic Party, and Oregon has been reliably blue in presidentials for a long time now. But considering how recently the current governor was secretary of state, there’s some understandable interest in the post. (Incumbent Jeanne Atkins is not seeking the job.) At last weekend’s Sunriver conference, three Democratic prospects for secstate spoke and all have significant electoral records and substantial bases of support within the party. The one statewide official among them, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, probably has to be considered the front running, and his statewide profile gives him some edge (though it wasn’t enough when he ran for the U.S. House several years back, losing to Suzanne Bonamici). Both of his competitors, Senator Richard Devlin and Representative Val Hoyle, have been in legislative leadership spots, and both also are serious candidates. The outcome is by no means easily predictable. – rs

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