Oregon Republicans file for reelection despite possible disqualification

Oregon Legislature
FILE – Attendees chant during a rally calling for an end to the Senate Republican walkout at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Ore., May 11, 2023. Oregon lawmakers have been rushing to approve hundreds of bills and a budget for the next two years before the legislative session ends on Sunday, June 25, 2023. The bills were stalled by the six-week Republican walkout that ended last week. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman,File) Amanda Loman/AP

Oregon Republicans file for reelection despite possible disqualification

Cami Mondeaux

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A group of Republican lawmakers in Oregon are filing for reelection despite being in possible violation of a state law that could disqualify them from seeking office.

Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2022 that disqualifies lawmakers from seeking reelection if they have 10 or more absences from legislative floor sessions without a valid excuse. The vote came after a group of GOP lawmakers staged record-setting walkouts in 2019, 2020, and 2021 in an attempt to stall Democratic-led bills on abortion, gun rights, transgender healthcare, and other issues.


“It is clear voters intended Measure 113 to disqualify legislators from running for reelection if they had 10 or more unexcused absences in a legislative session,” said Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade in August. “My decision honors the voters’ intent by enforcing the measure the way it was commonly understood when Oregonians added it to our state constitution.”

At least nine Oregon Republicans with 10 absences in this year’s session have filed for reelection despite being in violation of that rule, as well as one independent candidate. Meanwhile, another five state senators have filed a lawsuit seeking access to the 2024 ballot, hoping to fast-track the issue to the Oregon Supreme Court for an expedited review.

“Petitioners and other similarly situated legislators need to know whether they can file for re-election and serve if elected; the Secretary needs to know whether those legislators must be listed on the ballot (and, if so, whether they would be eligible to serve if elected); other potential candidates need to know whether incumbent legislators are running for re-election; and Oregon voters have great interest in the proper construction of a constitutional amendment that was enacted by the voters last fall,” the motion states.


The staged walkouts prompted widespread criticism after the absences stalled lawmakers from voting on several pieces of legislation. The protests left the legislature without a quorum, meaning the minimum number of lawmakers needed to take a vote wasn’t met to conduct legislative business.

Should the lawsuit be fast-tracked through the state’s judicial system, the case could rise all the way to the Supreme Court if lawmakers appeal a loss — possibly affecting several state governments that have experienced staged walkouts in recent years.

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