Candidates for Oregon secretary of state disagree over same-day voter registration and Portland debate contribution limits
Candidates for Oregon Secretary of State Senator Shemia Fagan and Senator Kim Thatcher sought to define a clear choice for voters in a debate sponsored by the City Club of Portland Thursday night, agreeing on some policies while cordially disagreeing on many others.
Fagan, a Democrat from the Portland area, said she would support same-day voter registration, while Thatcher, a Republican from the Salem area, said the idea made her uncomfortable. because it could be manipulated in small rural communities. Both referred to Oregon’s experience with the Rajneeshees take control of some local governments, which play a role voters limiting last-minute registration in the 1980s.
With total expenses in the race already well over $ 1 million, moderator John Schrag, editor-in-chief of Pamplin Media Group, asked Thatcher and Fagan if they support the cap on campaign contributions. Oregon currently has no campaign contribution limits; voters passed strict limits in 2006 and the state Supreme Court recently ruled that the limits were constitutional, but Secretary of State Bev Clarno and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum concluded that the limits approved by voters in 2006 remain dormant.
Fagan said she supported the Legislature in passing new contribution limits and that she would support that effort if elected Secretary of State.
“We shouldn’t allow any single person or entity to essentially drown out the voices of all other Oregonians,” Fagan said. At the same time, Fagan said any state law on the matter should state that a donation of $ 1 million from one person “is not the same as $ 1 from a million people.” . This was a reference to an idea supported by some lawmakers that individual contribution limits should not apply to “grassroots” or “small donor” organizations, such as powerful unions of state officials, who overwhelmingly supported Fagan’s candidacy.
Thatcher said she also supports contribution limits. “I know this is something the Oregonians want,” Thatcher said. If elected Secretary of State, Thatcher said she would assemble a “multi-partisan“ group to determine what the limits should be “so as not to favor or disadvantage one group or another”.
When candidates had a chance to question, Thatcher asked Fagan if she would pledge not to run for governor after two years, when Governor Kate Brown’s current term ended. Thatcher pointed out that Fagan only served a partial term in a school board before running for State House and that she is seeking the post of secretary of state midway through her first term in the Senate.
Fagan thanked Thatcher for reminding people of all the elected positions she has held and “that I have never lost an election”. After Thatcher said that Fagan’s initial response that she had shown interest in the job by supporting Secretary of State legislation did not directly answer the question, Fagan responded that a secretary from State “ cannot commit (not to run for governor) because you might be called ‘as next in line for office, if the governor leaves the post before the end of his term. However, Fagan said she had no plans to run for governor in two years.
Fagan asked Thatcher to tell voters who she would vote for as president, citing President Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, his refusal to denounce white supremacists and its repeated baseless claims that postal voting is commonplace. with fraud. Thatcher responded that the secretary of state and office candidates, who oversee the election, should not weigh in on partisan candidates or voting measures. “I don’t believe racism belongs to Oregon in any form,” Thatcher said. A peaceful transfer of power is absolutely necessary “not to become a banana republic,” Thatcher said.
Thatcher and Fagan agreed that the Oregon Public Records Advocate should be made independent from the governor, which the Senate voted unanimously earlier this year before the bill slowed down in the House and then failed. dies in the middle of a Republican walkout. Thatcher noted that she is a non-voting member of the Public Records Advisory Council and passed the bill to give attorney independence to the Senate.
– Hillary Borrud: [email protected]; @hborrud