Union Musters Enough Signatures to Force Recall Election for Rep. Paul Holvey

Unions considered Holvey a staunch ally until a cannabis bill failed.

A union-led campaign to recall state Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene), the longest-serving House Democrat, succeeded in gathering enough signatures to hold an election Oct. 3, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office has confirmed.

The campaign needed 4,598 signatures from voters in House District 8. The secretary of state found that it had 5,055 valid signatures out of more than 10,000 submitted, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 said.

“Petitioning for a recall is an extraordinarily high bar, and we couldn’t have done it without the outpouring of support from thousands of my fellow District 8 residents who demanded accountability,” said Nathan Erne, a sponsor of the recall effort.

The Secretary of State’s Office confirms to WW that it informed Holvey today that the recall qualified for a special election. In a letter, the Elections Division told Holvey: “You now have the option of either resigning from your elected office or filing [a] form that allows you to submit a statement of not more than 200 words describing your justification for remaining in office. The statement will be included on the recall ballot.”

Holvey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Successful recalls of sitting lawmakers are rare. This one is especially odd: The UFCW turned on Holvey, a former union carpenter and darling of labor, after the failure of a bill aimed at organizing cannabis workers failed earlier this year.

The recall election will be held Oct. 3. If voters remove Holvey, the Lane County Democratic Party will provide the Lane County Board of Commissioners a list of up to five candidates as possible replacements, the UFCW said.

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