Former House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner Won’t Seek Reelection

Rep. Jeff Reardon will also retire, while Rep. Brad Witt attempts to jump from Columbia County to Marion County as filing deadline passes.

The biggest news among metro-area lawmakers as the March 8 filing deadline for the May primary passed today might be the March 7 announcement by four-term incumbent state Rep. Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) that she will not seek reelection.

Until late last year, Smith Warner, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), served as House majority leader, the No. 2 position in her caucus. She did not stand for reelection for that post but had initially signaled she’d likely run for reelection. On March 7, however, Smith Warner told constituents in an email she would retire at the end of this year.

“What a fun and fantastic ride it has been, one that I never imagined I would have enjoyed so much—nor could I have imagined how much meaningful progress we could accomplish in such a short time,” she said. (Three Democrats—Catherine Thomasson, Thuy Tran and Sara Weber-Ogden—have filed to run for the House District 45 seat in Northeast Portland, one of the most reliably Democratic in the state.)

As expected, state Rep. Jeff Reardon (D-Portland), a five-term incumbent who represents outer Southeast Portland, did not file for reelection. Hoa Nguyen has filed to run in the Democratic primary for what is also a reliably blue seat.

In perhaps the biggest surprise leading up to deadline, state Rep. Brad Witt (D-Clataskanie), who has held his House District 31 seat since 2005, filed to run in a new district: the House District 19 seat held by state Rep. Raquel Moore-Green (R-Salem). It’s unusual for an incumbent to move districts, but as WW reported earlier, Witt and state Rep. Marty Wilde (D-Eugene) were drawn into majority Republican districts the 2021 redistricting process. Wilde is not seeking reelection.

Witt will face two Democratic challengers in the primary, Tom Andersen and Jackie Leung. With Moore-Green running for a state Senate seat, Republican T.J. Sullivan will run unopposed in the GOP primary. Witt did not immediately return a call seeking comment.