Republican leaders in Oregon face a new challenge from the State’s Secretary of State, LaVonne Griffin-Valade.
Griffin-Valade has vowed to uphold a 2022 law passed by Oregon voters known as Measure 113, which says legislators who do not attend legislative sessions can be disqualified from re-election.
The measure came into play when Oregon’s Republican leaders orchestrated a six-week walkout earlier this year to postpone Democrat-led bills.
In a news release, Griffin-Valade said, “It is clear voters intended Measure 113 to disqualify legislators from running for re-election if they had 10 or more unexcused absences in a legislative session. My decision honors the voters’ intent by enforcing the measure the way it was commonly understood when Oregonians added it to our state constitution.”
This has caused a controversial dispute among Republican officials. Some legislators, such as State Sens. Tim Knopp and Brian Boquist, have argued that the wording in Measure 113 actually allows them to fight for re-election when their terms end in 2024, since the language implies they are only disqualified at the end of the following term.
In response, Knopp said in a statement, “GOP leaders disagree with the Secretary of State’s determination and will challenge it in court.”
The Oregon walkout, which started in May, was considered to be the longest in the state’s history, second only to Rhode Island as the longest walkout in any state, according to Ballotpedia.
This was not the first time Republicans have boycotted the Democrat legislature on various issues such as climate change and tax proposals, as seen in 2019, 2020, and 2021. It’s clear the clash between the two parties in the Oregon State Legislature remains strong.
The State Elections Division will provide guidance to candidates affected by Measure 113 to inform them of the decision.
Now that Oregon’s Republicans are facing disqualification from running in 2024, it looks like the controversy is far from over. With legal action in store, it could be a while until the fate of Oregon Republicans is determined.