Dr. Bud Pierce, the Salem oncologist who was the Republican nominee for governor last year, is not done with politics just yet.
Filings with the secretary of state show that Pierce and his wife, Selma, are the chief petitioners on a 2018 ballot measure submitted on Feb. 28 that would limit lawmakers from serving more than eight out of any 12 years. The Oregon constitution includes a similar restriction on the governor.
Pierce, a first-time candidate pulled an upset in the May primary, defeating Allen Alley, an investor who was better known, thanks to previous runs for governor and state treasurer. In the November election, Pierce lost to incumbent Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, by a margin of 51 percent to 44 percent.
Term limits have a significant recent history in Oregon politics.
Voters overwhelming approved Ballot Measure 3 in 1992, imposing term limits not only for the Legislature but also for Congress. The Oregon Supreme Court struck that measure down in 2002.
Term-limits proponents put another measure on the ballot in 2006, seeking to limit lawmakers to six years in the Oregon House and eight years in the Senate and a total of 14 years overall.
Voters rejected the measure by a margin of 59 percent to 41 percent.
Filings show that in January Pierce paid Kevin Mannix, a former lawmaker and frequent candidate for statewide office, in January for "research, analysis, writing on term limits project."
Mannix, a lawyer, is a prolific author of ballot measures, perhaps best known for Measure 11, the 1994 law the introduced mandatory minimum sentence for violent crimes.
The measure Mannix drafted for Pierce proposes a statutory, rather than constitutional change, which means the number of valid signatures required to qualify it for the ballot is lower—88,184, about 30,000 fewer than is required for a constitutional measure.
The draft measure has not yet been approved for circulation—meaning proponents can't yet begin gathering signatures. But if it does win approval for signature gathering, look for some nervous incumbents because the draft measure is retroactive.