Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Will Run for Oregon Treasurer

Treasurer Tobias Read aims to be secretary of state.

The Democratic Party continues the game of musical chairs sparked by Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan resigning under scandal.

State Treasurer Tobias Read is seeking the job Fagan vacated. In the May primary, he’ll face competition from state Sen. James Manning (D-Eugene). Both men formally announced their candidacies Wednesday.

And on Tuesday evening, KGW-TV broke the news that state Sen. Elizabeth Steiner (D-Northwest Portland) will seek the office Read currently holds: state treasurer.

In her announcement, Steiner noted that, if elected, she would become the first woman to hold the office. “I’m running for state treasurer because I know there’s more we can do to help Oregonians save for their family’s financial goals, boost the financial health of our state, and invest in our shared priorities: health care, education, housing, jobs, and a secure retirement,” she added.

Steiner, a family practice physician, has budget-crafting expertise: She co-chairs the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Ways and Means, which writes the budgets for state agencies. (Interestingly, her erstwhile co-chair, former Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose), also left the Legislature in a bid for higher office.) In WW’s most recent Good, Bad and Awful poll of Capitol insiders, Steiner ranked in the top tier of senators—and received especially high marks for her intelligence.

It’s not clear if Steiner will face any competition in the Democratic primary (state Sen. Kathleen Taylor [D-Southeast Portland] has also been rumored as a candidate). Since Gov. Tina Kotek still has more than three years before her next race, that leaves only the Oregon attorney general up for speculation. Incumbent Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum hasn’t announced her intentions. (Disclosure: Rosenblum is married to the co-owner of WW’s parent company.) If she doesn’t seek a third term, House Speaker Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) is commonly mentioned as a leading contender.

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