Sen. James Manning Announces Bid for Secretary of State

Manning joins the race for the state’s second-in-command position made available next year after a cannabis scandal brought down the former secretary of state.

State Sen. James Manning (D-Eugene) announced this morning that he will run for Oregon secretary of state next year, a position up for grabs after the former secretary, State Shemia, Fagan resigned in May amid a cannabis-related moonlighting scandal.

“It is a big responsibly, and one I will not take lightly,” Manning said today at a press conference announcing his candidacy. “It’s critical that the secretary of state work to ensure that all Oregonians trust them in office, and to do so they must hold themselves to the highest standard. Trust is something created and earned over time.”

Per the Oregon Constitution, the secretary of state automatically succeeds the governor in the event the state’s top executive leaves office early. The secretary oversees three critical functions of the state: elections, audits and business registries. After Fagan resigned over a cannabis consulting scandal following reporting by WW, Gov. Tina Kotek appointed former Portland City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade to replace Fagan. Griffin-Valade, however, is not not expected to seek election to the office.

Manning has served in the Oregon Senate since 2016. During his time in the Legislature, Manning has championed legislation addressing workforce training, expanding health care coverage, and gun violence prevention. Before entering politics, Manning spent a number of years in law enforcement before joining the military, where he served for 24 years.

Manning said Thursday he’d work to rebuild the public’s trust in the secretary of state position after Fagan’s fiery downfall. If elected, he would be the first person of color to serve as what amounts to the lieutenant governor of Oregon.

As WW reported earlier this summer, State Treasurer Tobias Read is also vying for the open seat. He formally announced his candidacy today.

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