Oregon Republicans have launched a recall campaign against Gov. Kate Brown, the second in less than two years, accusing her of abusing her office and wrecking the state’s economy with her sweeping coronavirus shutdown orders.
The campaign, Stop the Abuse — Recall Kate Brown, needs to gather 280,050 signatures from registered voters within 90 days to qualify for the November ballot.
Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bill Currier said the recall was needed to “end her disastrous, unaccountable, and abusive tenure as the chief executive of our state.”
“A year ago, citizens were angry, but now Oregonians are fighting for their livelihoods and their freedoms,” Mr. Currier said in a Monday statement. “Governor Brown’s unlawful executive orders stand in the way of restoring both.”
The Washington Times has reached out to the governor, who has defended her executive orders on the shutdown and gradual reopening, calling them necessary to protect public health from the novel coronavirus threat.
“There are no shortcuts for us to return to life as it was before this pandemic. Moving too quickly could return Oregon to the early days of this crisis, when we braced for overfilled hospitals and ventilators in short supply,” she said in a May 18 statement.
In a state of 4.2 million, Oregon has recorded 4,302 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, since March 13 and 154 deaths, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
“Kate Brown still keeps us in her lockdown while our economy is tanking and Oregonians are losing their jobs and worrying about how to put food on the table and pay their mortgages,” said Solomon Yue, Republican National Committeeman for Oregon.
Oregon Republicans sought last summer to recall the Democrat Brown, who was reelected in November 2018 with 50.1% of the vote, but the signatures fell 8% short of the 280,050 required to qualify for the ballot.
Even so, Mr. Currier said that signature total was a record for any statewide recall petition in Oregon history and that 33% of those who signed petitions were not Republicans.
The “round one” campaign also gave the party a database of names, phone numbers and email addresses that can be used for “round two,” he said.
“In 2019, there was clearly buyer’s remorse about Kate Brown’s leadership that led hundreds of thousands of voters to seek to hold her accountable,” Mr. Currier said. “The conduct of the Governor during the events of 2020 has only served to reveal just how devastating Brown’s abuse of power could truly be upon Oregon.”
The governor came under criticism this week in Portland for repeatedly refusing to call up the National Guard to help overwhelmed law enforcement personnel grapple with the violent rioting spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
She agreed Monday to deploy 50 unarmed National Guard troops after repeated requests from Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, but she stressed that they “will not be on the front lines, making arrests or doing crowd control.”
“That’s basically a pathetic response,” said Mr. Currier, the mayor of Adair Village, Oregon.
Ms. Brown is facing multiple lawsuits over her extensions of executive orders shutting down businesses and churches in response to the pandemic. A county judge declared last month her orders “null and void,” but the Oregon Supreme Court temporarily reinstated them pending a review by the full court.