The chairman of the Oregon Republican Party on Monday filed paperwork to launch a recall against Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, citing some of the laws Democrats passed in the 2019 legislative session.
Chairman Bill Currier also pointed to Brown’s announcement the day after lawmakers went home last month that if necessary, she would use her executive powers to implement climate change policies similar to the plan defeated in Salem this year. In a move that attracted international attention and rallied conservatives in Oregon, Senate Republicans boycotted the Capitol for more than a week in June to prevent Democrats from voting on the carbon-cap bill. Democrats ultimately conceded they lacked the votes to pass the bill.
“(Brown) has threatened to usurp legislative power with executive orders to implement her failed legislation, deciding single-handedly what is best for Oregon,” Currier wrote on the petition, on which he used his official GOP email address. “This is not the Oregon way.”
Monday was the first day opponents could file petitions to recall Brown, who has now served six months of her second term after winning reelection in November. Organizers now have 90 days to gather 280,050 valid signatures from voters, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
That’s a high bar: It’s not unusual for campaigns to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars collecting signatures to qualify initiatives for the ballot, even though recent initiatives have needed just over 100,000 signatures to qualify.
If recall supporters gather enough signatures, a special election could be scheduled sometime in November. In the short-term, the recall effort means Oregonians might be approached to sign the petition to recall Brown at the same time opponents of a new multibillion-dollar business tax increase are gathering signatures to refer it to voters.
Currier said Monday the Oregon Republican Party is “essentially filing this recall petition and executing this campaign on behalf of a variety of groups,” including but not limited to people opposed to the state providing driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants. “We are, as we speak, talking to all of these groups and will strive to message their concerns during this campaign.”
He acknowledged that gathering more than 280,000 signatures in three months is “a tall order in a short amount of time.”
Currier declined to identify any of the groups the Republican Party is working with, but said a unifying concern is Democrats’ “overturning the will of the voters.” Currier cited the driver’s license bill, given voters rejected a similar law when it was referred to the ballot in 2014, and the new business tax. The tax is a smaller and more limited version of a business tax that public employee unions unsuccessfully asked voters to approve in 2016.
A spokeswoman for the governor did not respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon.
The Secretary of State’s Office also received a second petition to recall Brown on Monday, filed by Michael Cross of Salem. He listed a home address that appears to be a UPS Store in southeast Salem. As for his objections to the governor, Cross cited Oregon’s homelessness crisis and a law passed this year to create legal driver’s licenses for unauthorized immigrants.
Currier also cited Brown’s “granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens” at the top of his list of reasons to remove the governor. According to the Legislature’s website, Brown has not yet signed House Bill 2015 into law, although a spokesman recently told The Oregonian she intends to sign it.