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SEIU Executive Director Melissa Unger Rules Out a Run for Governor, as Has Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle

Those decisions were expected after their ally, House Speaker Tina Kotek, announced a run.

Service Employees International Union Local 503 executive director Melissa Unger was among the most surprising names to surface as possible candidates in the Democratic primary for governor.

But she has now ruled out a run.

Unger “has decided not to run,” says SEIU spokesman Ben Morris. “While she was approached about the possibility, she never took any steps toward starting a campaign. Her focus is on working with SEIU members to endorse a candidate for governor that will be a champion for Oregon’s essential workers.”

Unger’s decision is hardly surprising after Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek entered the race, since Kotek is often a close ally of public employee unions.

Similarly, Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle has also ruled out a run for governor. She will run for reelection and has already endorsed Kotek.

“I’m looking forward to standing up for workers, expanding opportunities for apprenticeships, working with businesses to address their workforce needs while leveling the playing field by holding bad actors who don’t play by the rules accountable,” says Hoyle. “I’m looking forward to continuing the work we’ve done at [the Bureau of Labor & Industries].”

Besides Kotek, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof and State Treasurer Tobias Read are expected to enter the race in coming weeks. There is also speculation that Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum might run. (Disclosure: Rosenblum is married to Richard Meeker, the co-owner of WW’s parent company.)