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Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says she won’t run for Oregon governor

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in Salem, Oregon, on Feb. 17, 2015.
Alan Sylvestre
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in Salem, Oregon, on Feb. 17, 2015.

The announcement resolves one of the last lingering questions about an already packed field of candidates.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Monday made official what had been rumored for weeks: She will not enter Oregon’s crowded race for governor.

“Upon considerable reflection, I believe I can best continue to serve our state by remaining your attorney general,” Rosenblum said in a video announcement posted to Twitter. “I am not running for governor so I can keep my eye on the legal ball in our state without political distraction.”

The announcement resolves one of the last lingering questions about how an already packed field might change as the new year approaches. As a statewide officeholder who earned headlines suing the administration of former President Donald Trump, Rosenblum was considered in some circles to be an early frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, should she choose to pursue the job.

But the race saw a number of high-profile entrants as Rosenblum considered her options. House Speaker Tina Kotek is expected to bring weighty support from public-sector labor unions and other typical allies of Oregon Democrats. Former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof has shown he can raise massive sums from a nationwide donor base. State Treasurer Tobias Read has been laying the groundwork for his campaign much of this year, and Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson, who will shed her party affiliation to run as an independent candidate, is snapping up highly sought support from the business community.

The Democratic field also includes Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla, former Independent Party nominee Patrick Starnes, and seven other candidates. Major party candidates have until March 8 to file for office.

For Rosenblum, who won reelection to her job last year, sticking to attorney general wound up being the best option.

“These continue to be incredibly difficult times for our state with huge challenges that we must address now,” Rosenblum said in her video announcement. “To those who have encouraged me to run, thank you. I am honored you would think of me, but I look forward to working closely with our next governor to help move our state forward through the lenses of equity, health, climate justice, for all.”

A former attorney and Oregon Court of Appeals judge, Rosenblum first won election as attorney general in 2012.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Dirk VanderHart is JPR's Salem correspondent reporting from the Oregon State Capitol. His reporting is funded through a collaboration between public radio stations around the Northwest called the Northwest News Network.