State Sen. Frank Morse (R-Corvallis) surprised colleagues and observers today in an interim legislative session by announcing he is resigning from the seat he has held for 10 years.

Morse, the Vice-Chair of the Senate Finance Revenue and Senate Education & Workforce Development Committees, has earned a reputation in the Capitol as a thoughtful moderate, who has advocated strongly for tax reform and been willing to take heat from the GOP base for crossing the aisle on hot-button issues such as in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, which Morse came to support.

Morse, 69, told his colleagues today that he had come to find legislative work as a "marathon without end."

He urged his fellow lawmakers to continue to pursue revenue stability.

Republicans will now appoint a successor to serve out the rest of Morse's term, which ends in 2014.

Democrats currently hold a 16 to 14 majority in the Senate and Morse's departure sets up a possible win for them in two years as Democrats outnumber Republicans in Morse's district by nearly 10 percentage points. 

Updated at 1:10 pm with statements about Morse from Senate leaders.
Peter Courtney
Ted Ferrioli