Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (R) passed away on February 26, 2019. Richardson had been diagnosed with brain cancer and was undergoing treatment at the time of his death. He was elected to the position in 2016.
On February 27, Gov. Kate Brown (D) said she would appoint a successor from the Republican party who would commit to not running for election in 2020. Brown is required by state law to appoint a successor from Richardson’s same political party.
The Secretary of State of Oregon is an elected constitutional officer within the executive branch of the Oregon state government and is first in the line of succession to the governor. The secretary of state serves as the auditor of public accounts, chief elections officer, and administrator of public records.
The secretary of state is a state-level position in 47 of the 50 states. There are currently 24 Republican secretaries of state, 21 Democratic secretaries of state, and one independent secretary of state. The position does not exist in Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah.
Voters directly elect the secretary of state in 35 states. Three secretaries of state are up for election in 2019–Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) in Kentucky, Kyle Ardoin (R) in Louisiana, and Delbert Hosemann (R) in Mississippi. Seven secretaries of state–two Democrats and five Republicans–will be up for election in 2020.