House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, received a key labor endorsement in her 2022 bid to become Oregon's governor, coming before any other major Democrats have entered the race.
The preemptive nod from the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council came Tuesday during its convention in Sunriver. It comes more than eight months before the May 20 primary. The winner will move on to the general election on Nov. 8, 2022.
The council is the umbrella group for 37 unions whose more than 25,000 members include electricians, steamfitters, plumbers, elevator installers and other construction-related workers.
Kotek became the first major Democratic political figure to announce she would seek to succeed Gov. Kate Brown, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election. She has received strong union support since becoming a House member in 2007. Kotek is the longest serving House speaker in Oregon history, having been elected by members to the chamber's top position since 2013.
Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla and former Independent Party candidate for governor Patrick Starnes are the other most notable names to get into the Democratic primary to date.
Treasurer Tobias Read, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof are among Democrats reported to be considering the governor's race.
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Republicans in the race include Bud Pierce, the 2016 GOP nominee for governor who lost to Brown. Among the better known other Republicans in the mix are Baker City Mayor Kerry McQuisten, Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam, Medford businesswoman Jessica Gomez and political consultant Bridget Barton of West Linn.
No Republican has been elected governor since Vic Atiyeh won a second term in 1982.
Kotek has not yet officially filed to run for governor, but has registered a political action committee to raise funds.
The deadline to file for office is March 8.
Candidates who have filed to date to run in the May primary for governor can be seen at secure.sos.state.or.us/orestar/cfFilings.do.
Candidates who have filed a political action committee with the Secretary of State to raise money for the 2022 primary can be seen at secure.sos.state.or.us/orestar/CommitteeSearchSecondPage.do.