By Hillary Borrud
Gov. Kate Brown plans to seek reelection in 2018, her campaign said on Monday morning.
The announcement was not a surprise, given the governor has been on the campaign trail since the day after she won her first gubernatorial election in November 2016.
In a statement released by her campaign, Brown cited the need to protect Oregon's economic growth and the state's expansion of Medicaid to cover all children, including unauthorized immigrants. The latter was among Brown's priorities during the legislative session earlier this year.
"As governor, it's my job to make Oregon an even better place to live, work and raise a family," Brown said. "We need to protect the Oregon we love so much and ensure that everyone has the chance to live a good life here."
Since President Donald Trump took office, Brown's campaign has missed few opportunities to highlight when she pushed back against Trump's policies. Last week, Brown told reporters she was "appalled" by Attorney General Jeff Sessions' opposition to the Obama-era program that shielded immigrants brought to the country illegally as children from deportation.
If Brown wins both the Democratic primary and general election next year, it will be her first and last four-year term, at least in the near future. Brown was secretary of state when she rose to the governorship under unusual circumstances in February 2015, after then-Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned amid an influence scandal related to his fiancée Cylvia Hayes.
Brown then won election in 2016 to the last two years of Kitzhaber's term. Under Oregon's Constitution, no person can serve as governor for more than eight years in any 12-year period.
So far, Brown's strongest Republican challenger appears to be Rep. Knute Buehler of Bend. He landed a $500,000 contribution from Nike co-founder Phil Knight last month but still faces the challenge of building name recognition. As of Monday morning, Buehler had raised $1.3 million and spent more than $200,000, according to state campaign finance data. Brown had raised $1.1 million so far this year and spent more than $800,000.
Buehler's campaign countered Brown's announcement she is running with harsh comments about her record. Rebecca Tweed, his campaign manager, sent out statement saying, "Under Kate Brown, Oregonians can expect more of the same -- failed leadership, failing schools, and an endless cycle of chaos, corruption and incompetence in and around state government."
(c)2017 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)