Betsy Close chosen to replace Sen. Frank Morse

Betsy Close

by NW Spotlight

The Corvallis Gazette-Times is reporting that former Republican state Rep. Betsy Close has been selected by the six county commissioners for Linn & Benton counties as the new state senator for SD#8, replacing Sen. Frank Morse (R-Albany) who resigned last month. The Oregonian reports that Senate President Peter Courtney will work with Close to schedule a swearing in ceremony soon.

The commissioners selected Betsy Close over Larry Mullins of Benton County and Clinton Johnson of Linn County. The three nominees were chosen last week by a vote of Republican Benton and Linn County Precinct Committeemen and Committeewomen.

In a strange dynamic reported by Jeff Mapes on Monday, the deciding vote was cast by Betsy Close’s current Democratic opponent in her Benton County Commissioner race. A novel way to get rid of an opponent – vote them into the state senate!

The Oregonian report notes that Betsy Close was elected assistant Republican majority leader in two sessions while she was in the legislature, and she ran for Secretary of State against Democrat Bill Bradbury in 2004. While serving as a state representative, she wrote a bill that would have required proof of U.S. citizenship before a person could register to vote.

Update: Oregon Senate press release

Update: Jeff Mapes in the Oregonian is reporting that Betsy Close said that even after being voted into the state senate, she still hasn’t decided which seat to take if she also wins her race for Benton County Commissioner. Benton County commissioners are paid $78,072 a year, and Oregon state senators are paid $21,612 a year.