Look, I’m not saying there’s any direct, causal relationship between the stench currently hanging over the Oregon Governor’s office and the state’s decision to legalize the wacky tobacky… it’s probably just a coincidence. But be that as it may, there’s a palpable sense of embarrassment running around Portland these days as the media continues to suddenly realize that they helped reelect a Governor who is quickly turning into the butt of far too many bad jokes. But will John Kitzhaber resign to avoid further damage to the state government’s credibility? Don’t be silly.
Gov. John Kitzhaber’s private attorney, Jim McDermott, on Wednesday sought to tamp down a flurry of speculation that the governor was planning to resign.
“I have every reason to believe the governor will stay in office,” McDermott said in a telephone interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive. “As a citizen and his lawyer, I certainly hope and expect he will be staying in office.
His lawyer’s hopes were well founded it seems, as the Guv came out shortly thereafter to let everyone know that a few cases of handing out favors in return for lucrative gigs for his fiance weren’t going to be chasing him out of office.
“I was elected to do a job for the people of this great state and I intend to continue to do so,” Kitzhaber said hours after rumors about his future spread quickly, fanned by Secretary of State Kate Brown’s abrupt early return from a conference in Washington, D.C.
Brown, who would become governor if Kitzhaber resigns, left a meeting of the secretaries of state association that she was presiding over to return to Portland. Her office provided no explanation of why she left early — and for several hours the governor’s office also refused to comment.
I suppose it’s nice that Kitzhaber is so loyal to his girlfriend, but Cylvia Hayes is quickly becoming more than a liability. She may be the official First Lady of the state, but he definitely didn’t want her becoming the story this way.
Of course, all of this could change any day now. Governor Kitzhaber isn’t the first person facing potential imminent political destruction who has claimed that they weren’t going anywhere. Eliot Spitzer (or “Client Number 9”) told the press corps that he wasn’t going to resign either after his hooker scandal broke, but it later turned out that he was just negotiating a deal to try to avoid prosecution in exchange for stepping down. It’s possible that Kitzhaber is working on something similar and might even be coordinating with the Secretary of State who would replace him in the event that he bails out. Then again, maybe he really believes he can ride this thing out. It’s a long time until the next election and voters tend to have short memories.
Either way, get out the popcorn. This story doesn’t seem to have any huge national implications (beyond just being another corrupt Democrat allegedly caught with his hand in the taxpayer cookie jar) but it should still be fun to watch… unless you live in Oregon, that is. In that case, you have my sympathies.