Is this the beginning of the end for Democrat Governor John Kitzhaber? Reports are that Kate Brown, Democrat Secretary of State of Oregon and first in line of succession, has unexpectedly left the national Secretaries of State conference to rush back to Oregon today.
As we detailed last week, Kitzhaber has been embroiled in an influence peddling scandal with his fiancee Cylvia Hayes since last year. In a disastrous press conference, Kitzhaber was caught lying last week.
Willamette Week has the details:
Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown flew back to Oregon this morning from Washington, D.C., according to MSNBC reporter Zachary Roth.
Her unexpected return from an east-coast conference of secretaries of state comes as Gov. John Kitzhaber is under intense pressure over an influence-peddling scandal involving himself and First Lady Cylvia Hayes.
Kitzhaber and Hayes are the subject of a criminal investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice and the FBI.
Brown would become governor if Kitzhaber resigns. WWexamined her potential succession in today’s paper.
Brown was attending the winter conference of the National Association of Secretaries of State in Washington, D.C. It began Tuesday, and is not scheduled to end until Friday. Roth is covering the event, and tweeted this morning that Brown had unexpectedly left.
Brown’s spokesman, Tony Green, said he can only confirm that Brown is on her way back to Oregon.
Kitzhaber met privately with Senate President Peter Courtney yesterday.
Speculation is rampant that this is the clearest signal yet of a resignation in the works. Stay tuned.