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Kitzhaber snares early endorsement of business group

Governor John Kitzhaber didn't have to wait long to capture his first big endorsement for his unprecedented bid for a fourth term.

The Oregon Business Association issued an early endorsement of Kitzhaber's candidacy on Wednesday, just a couple days after the governor formally announced he's running again.

It shouldn't come as a surprise, as the business lobby's agenda has closely mirrored Kitzhaber's during his record third term in office.

“John Kitzhaber has proven himself to be the energetic, forceful and innovative leader that Oregon has needed to produce big results," said Portland developer John Russell, chairman of the business group's political action committee, in a news release announcing the decision. "We need those qualities for the next four years to tackle the daunting issues still facing us," Russell said.

The Oregon Business Association is largely associated with Portland metro-area businesses, and it's supported a mix of Democrats and Republicans over the years.

The business group's president, Ryan Deckert, is a former Democratic state senator.