Fagan wins Oregon Secretary of State election

Shemia Fagan (D) defeated Kim Thatcher (R), Kyle Markley (L), and Nathalie Paravicini (Pacific Green Party) in the election for Oregon secretary of state. Incumbent Bev Clarno (R) did not run for re-election, which Governor Kate Brown (D) made a condition of her appointment after the death of former Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (R).

In Oregon, the secretary of state is first in line for the governor’s office in the event of a vacancy. Brown was the secretary of state before Richardson and became governor after John Kitzhaber (D) resigned in 2015. Democrats held the secretary of state seat from 1985 to 2017. Richardson defeated Brad Avakian (D) 47% to 43% in 2016. 

If the Oregon state legislature fails to establish a redistricting plan for state legislative districts, the secretary of state intervenes to draw the boundaries. In 2011, the legislature redrew congressional and legislative districts without changes from the secretary of state or the courts. It was the first time this had happened since 1911. Oregon’s next round of redistricting is scheduled for 2021, following the 2020 census.

The results of Oregon’s secretary of state and attorney general elections transitioned the state from divided triplex control to Democratic triplex control, meaning those two offices and the governor’s office will be held by Democrats. In 2020, the governor and attorney general are Democrats while the secretary of state is Republican. The state did not hold a gubernatorial election this year.