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Tualatin state senator Richard Devlin to run for secretary of state

The Tualatin senator is the first Democrat to enter race, though others will likely follow

Richard DevlinState Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, is going to run for Oregon secretary of state next year, he told the Salem Statesman Journal newspaper on Monday.

The newspaper reported that Devlin called his expected bid “the most public secret that's out there.” He plans to make an official announcement next week.

Devlin has served in the Oregon Legislative Assembly since 1997 and the Senate since 2003. He co-chairs the Joint Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for drafting the state budget, and served as majority leader from 2007 to 2010.

Devlin was unavailable for comment before press time, but a staffer confirmed on Tuesday that he plans to announce his intentions late next week.

As Senate co-chairman of the Legislature’s joint budget committee since 2011, Devlin is one of the chamber’s most influential members.

Devlin, who turns 63 on Sept. 15, is a veteran of local and state government who first came to Tualatin in 1980. Prior to that, he had served in the Marine Corps.

He spent three years on the Tualatin Parks Advisory Committee in the 1980s. That experience helped propel his political career after voters approved a parks levy, and he joined the Tualatin City Council in 1985. He was elected to the Metro Council three years later.

In 1994, Devlin lost his first bid for the Oregon House of Representatives, but two years later, he unseated Republican incumbent Bob Tiernan of Lake Oswego in a rematch.

After three terms in the House, Devlin defeated Tiernan for an open Senate seat in 2002. He has been on the budget committee ever since, sitting on four of its subcommittees and leading the education and natural resources panels.

If Devlin runs for secretary of state as expected, he would be the first Democrat to enter the race. However, he is unlikely to have the field to himself. Former House Majority Leader Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, is also considering a bid, as is Brad Avakian, commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

The Democratic incumbent secretary of state is Jeanne Atkins of Portland, who was appointed by Governor Kate Brown to complete the rest of Brown’s second term after Brown became governor on Feb. 18. Atkins is not seeking election on her own next year.

On the Republican side, Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken has said he, too, is running for secretary of state. He filed paperwork to form an exploratory committee last month.

The Independent Party of Oregon, which officially became Oregon's third major political party last month, may also nominate a candidate for the office.

The secretary of state is next in line of succession to the governor. The official is the state's chief elections officer, and also supervises audits, public and business records.

Capitol Bureau reporter Peter Wong contributed to this story.


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