Speculation is brewing over who will succeed Kate Brown as Oregon’s next secretary of state when she becomes governor next week, replacing John Kitzhaber. Under the state constitution, Brown has the power to appoint her successor. It’s unknown whom she’ll choose — Brown addressed the media for less than 30 seconds Friday afternoon — but privately, lawmakers are discussing whom they’d like to see fill the post. Three Democrats, like Brown, are considered to be the leading contenders at the Capitol: House Majority Leader Val Hoyle of Eugene, Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum of Portland, and House Speaker Tina Kotek of Portland.
… Any would require legislative Democrats — or the entire House, if Kotek were chosen — to elect new leaders. None of the three could be reached for comment.
The secretary of state’s job was last filled by appointment in 1999 when Gov. John Kitzhaber picked a former state Senate colleague, Bill Bradbury, to the post to fill the vacancy created when Phil Keisling resigned. Keisling had first been appointed to the job in 1991 after then-Secretary of State Barbara Roberts was elected governor in 1990.