State Sen. Shemia Fagan (D-East Portland) has officially announced she'll run for Oregon secretary of state.
WW reported Tuesday Fagan would enter the race; she made it official today.
Her announcement, relatively late in primary campaign for statewide office, comes 17 days after former House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland) withdrew from the race as WW prepared to publish a story on Williamson's campaign expenditures, including international travel.
Williamson, in leaving the race, said in a statement she hoped "another truly progressive leader will be able to step into this Democratic primary and continue the fight to protect our democracy."
Fagan, a friend and ally of Williamson's, meets the description.
Behind the scenes, public employee unions have also been looking to recruit an ally to the race after Williamson's departure.
Unlike Williamson, Fagan, a civil-rights attorney, voted against the relatively modest bill last year on the public-employee retirement system that required current employees to pay more toward retirement; that may help smooth the way for an endorsement of her.
Fagan will face fellow state Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton), former state agency director Cameron Smith and Jamie McLeod-Skinner, an elected board member of the Jefferson County Education Service District.
Fagan served on the David Douglas School board, in the state House for two terms, and then in the state Senate since last year. In each case, she defeated incumbents in the general or primary election to win.
She enters the race with the endorsement of former Secretary of State and former governor, Barbara Roberts, a Democrat.
"Shemia Fagan is a once-in-a-generation leader at a time when we face once-in-a-lifetime threats to the integrity of our democracy," Roberts said in a statement. "If anyone has the courage, grit, and conviction to meet those threats head-on and win, it's Shemia."
Fagan cites as signs of her independence her vote against Sen. Peter Courtney (D-Salem) for Senate President last session and her decision to run against a Democratic incumbent, state Sen. Rod Monroe (D-Portland), to win her current seat.
Those actions could equally be seen to be burnishing her credentials as a progressive Democrat. Her victory over Monroe helped tip the balance in the Senate Democratic caucus, allowing the legislature to pass the nation's first rent-control bill capping rent increases at roughly 10 percent a year.
Fagan's said she's eager to serve as the state's chief elections officer.
"Oregonians are proud of our modern legacy of unrivaled ballot access and election security," she said in a statement. "But the national trend toward obstruction and election tampering has Oregonians concerned about the integrity and fundamental fairness of our democracy."