A Kitzhaber resignation would make history in Oregon

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by Dr. Eric Ostermeier (Smart Politics)

Pressure is mounting from for Democrat John Kitzhaber to resign, and a new Smart Politics report finds that the Oregon governor would be the first to do so in his state under a cloud of scandal:

● A Smart Politics review of Oregon gubernatorial tenure data finds that none of the 36 governors in state history failed to complete their term in office due to scandal or alleged wrongdoings.

● Over the last 156 years since statehood, eight governors failed to complete the term in office to which they were elected or the partial term they inherited from via gubernatorial succession. Four of these governors died in office: Republicans James Withycombe (1919), Isaac Patterson (1929), Earl Snell (1947), and Paul Patterson (1956). A fifth resigned due to ill health: Frank Benson (1910).

● Three others resigned from office after winning or being appointed to high profile public offices: Democrats La Fayette Grover (1877) and George Chamberlain (1909) were both elected to the U.S. Senate while Republican Douglas McKay (1952) was appointed Secretary of the Interior under Dwight Eisenhower.

● Ultimately, nearly half of all governors of Oregon did not leave office on their own terms, either dying in office (four) or resigning due to poor health (one), losing their party’s nomination (seven), or losing the general election (six).

Click here for the report’s full text.

Smart Politics is the non-partisan political news site authored by Dr. Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.