While much of the speculation in Salem this session about which Republicans might seek the GOP nomination for governor next year has centered on state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) and Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, the emergence of another potential candidate last week caused a flurry of discussion in the Capitol.
That potential candidate is Lori Chavez-DeRemer, the mayor of Happy Valley.
Chavez-DeRemer ran a strong race in 2016 in House District 51, losing the contest to now-Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas) 51 percent to 49 percent.
The competition for the seat vacated by former state Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-Clackamas) became the most expensive House race in Oregon history, with Bynum spending $1.1 million and DeRemer spending $870,000.
DeRemer was first elected mayor of Happy Valley in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. The population of the Clackamas County city grew 37 percent from 2010 to 2016, faster than any Oregon city.
"As a mayor of quickly growing city, I continually hear from my colleagues around the state how the leadership is greatly affecting our local communities," Chavez-DeRemer says in a text. "The time is now for the kind of leadership I can bring."
She says she hasn't decided for sure whether to run but says it's a pretty logical move given what's happening—or not happening—in Salem.
"How do I not think about running?" she says. "Oregon state government is a mess."