Deciding who to support in the Secretary of State race has come with much discussion and challenges, but Democratic nominee, Shemia Fagan, is the candidate we find most ready for the job. Amid a field of candidates in the primary, we opted to endorse Jamie McLeod-Skinner, while also lamenting that McLeod-Skinner did not choose to run for Rep. Greg Walden's seat once again.
The Secretary of State serves many pivotal roles, not the least of which is conducting audits of state agencies and maintaining a check on the levers of power elsewhere in the state. Amid a Democratic supermajority (a situation that can demonstrate the tyrannical failings of a two-party system) having someone willing and ready to stand up to power—even power in one's own party—when handling audits or election-season issues is key. Both recent Republican Secretaries of State, the late Dennis Richardson and his appointed successor, Bev Clarno, have demonstrated the value in strong leadership without partisan leanings, and we hope their successor takes cues from them.
With Oregon not having a lieutenant governor, however, the Secretary of State serves as the successor to the Governor—a prospect that should not be taken lightly. While both Fagan and her opponent Kim Thatcher have plenty of experience serving as state legislators and understanding the architecture of state government, we believe Fagan's values and voting record better reflect those of wider Oregon. We expect whoever wins this seat to take off their partisan hat and to serve all Oregonians with fairness and an eye for efficient, effective state government, but our support goes to Fagan.