In a brief interview today, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson tells WW that he will not run for governor in 2018.
Richardson defeated Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian last year, become the first Republican to hold state-wide office since former U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) who lost his seat to Jeff Merkley in 2008.
Richardson's victory over a better-funded Democrat and his previous run for governor (he lost to then-incumbent Gov. John Kitzhaber in 2010), prompted speculation that he might seek to challenge Gov. Kate Brown next year.
State Rep. Knute Beuhler (R-Bend) has already announced he will enter the GOP governor's primary. WW reported today that some large Republican donors have asked House Minority Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) to consider entering the race also.
But Richardson confirmed today he that no matter who runs, he will continue to do his current job.
"I'm not running for governor," he says. "I owe to to voters to do what I said I was going to do. I've got a lot to accomplish in the next three-and-a-half years as secretary of state."