Rep. Shemia Fagan Won't Seek Re-Election, Will Try to Anoint Successor

The second-term representative attempts to hand her seat to a hand-picked successor.

State Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-Happy Valley) is ending her legislative career after two sessions.

Fagan, a business lawyer and mother of a young son born shortly after her election in 2012, cited business and family reasons for her decision not to run again.

"While I fully expect that I will spend a great portion of my life in service to Oregon, I am stepping aside for now to place my family and my legal career at the center of my time and attention," Fagan said in a statement today.

In her announcement, Fagan endorsed Janelle Bynum, a Happy Valley resident and McDonald's restaurant franchisee, to succeed her.

By waiting until the filing deadline day to announce she wasn't running, Fagan essentially ensured that no other Democrat besides Bynum could mount a campaign between now and the May 17 primary .

A Republican, Lori DeReemer, has also filed to run for Fagan's seat. (An earlier version of this post said two other Republicans, Jody Bailey and Patrick Sheehan, were running. Both have updated their political action committees, but neither is running.)

Fagan's announcement on filing day, like those in recent days from Sen. Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland) and state Rep. John Davis (R-Wilsonville), is an example of an anti-democratic practice in Oregon politics: trying to dictate to voters who should inherit an incumbent's seat.

"It's not new, and it's part of Oregon's political culture," says Jim Moore, a professor of political science at Pacific University. "It is, however, unfair to voters and other candidates. Most of the time the arrangements are made behind the scenes so the chosen candidates can prepare. That cuts out anybody else who might want to run for the seat, including members of the incumbent's party."

Fagan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.