Credible speculation around Salem is that Kitzhaber, seeing the writing on the wall, is fully prepared to walk away from the governor’s mansion, but only if he and Cylvia Hayes receive a full pardon. If either Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown, Kitzhaber’s likely
replacement, or Democratic Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, heading up the criminal investigation of Kitzhaber, balked at his demand for a full pardon, it’s easy to see him applying whatever leverage he can to try to force the issue. This is likely what led to the change of direction.
One thing is for certain – the Democrats in charge have zero desire to see a protracted, drawn out death of the Kitzhaber administration, kept in a vegetative state on life support. The Democrats have an agenda to push, and a quick and painless severing of Kitzhaber from the strings of power is their best option if they want to focus on their agenda, and not on the crooked behavior of their leaders.
Kitzhaber is facing some serious legal trouble without that pardon.