Top Oregon Democrat faces recall election

August 27, 2023
Robert Ayers

A top Democratic official in Oregon is facing a recall election after many state Democrats appear to have turned on him. 

The official, according to the Washington Examineris Oregon state Rep. Paul Holvey (D).

Holvey has been in the Oregon state legislature for nearly the past two decades. Currently, he is representing the south and central Eugene area. His district is predominantly liberal.

It now appears very like that his time in the state legislature may be up.

What did he do?

The recall effort is being led by the United Food and Commercial Worker Local 555 (UFCW), which is a Democratic union that is located in Oregon.

The Eugene Register-Guard reports:

UFCW criticizes Holvey, the second longest serving member of the House of Representatives and chair of the House Committee on Business and Labor, for what it contends were anti-labor stances by Holvey during the last few sessions of the Legislature.

As an example, Holvey is reported to have tabled a bill that would have allowed cannabis workers to unionize. Critics have argued that he did so in response to pressure from a cannabis business that gave major donations to Democratic candidates.

Holvey denies this allegation as well as all of the others. But, his defense has proved to be unsuccessful.

Oregon's secretary of state on Thursday announced that UFCW has obtained enough valid signatures to force a recall election: 4,598 signatures were required. 5,055 signatures were submitted.

What now?

Holvey has been given an ultimatum: resign or appear on the ballot of the recall election.

At the time of the writing, Holvey has not decided how he will proceed. He has been given three days to make up his mind.

The Examiner reports: "If Holvey, who serves as the chairman of the House Committee on Business and Labor, chooses not to resign, an election will be held on Oct. 3."

"But," the outlet adds, "if he does resign, or the recall is successful, his district will nominate three to five candidates for the local commissioners to finish out his term, which expires in 2025.

If the situation does proceed to a recall election, it will be the first recall election in Oregon's state legislature in over three decades, which demonstrates that recall elections are really uncommon in Oregon. According to the Examiner, in the past 100 years, only three Oregon state legislators have been recalled - one in 1935, another in 1985, and the most recent one in 1988.

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