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Oregon Democrats to Gov: Resign Already

Plus Kitzhaber's would-be successor describes 'bizarre' meeting
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2015 11:42 AM CST

(Newser) – With things looking worse for Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber by the minute, staff members appear to be dropping like flies. A source tells KATU that Kitzhaber's chief of staff, Mike Bonetto, and his legislative liaison, Dmitri Palmateer, will step down today. The Oregonian reports Kitzhaber himself planned to resign this week, but he changed his mind after a last-minute meeting with his lawyer, Jim McDermott, and fiancee Cylvia Hayes, whom the majority of the scandal surrounds. Now, Oregon's Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek, along with other top Democrats, have told Kitzhaber the time has come to leave his post. "He was upset," Courtney tells the Oregonian after a meeting with the governor yesterday. "He was defiant. He was struggling."

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Secretary of State Kate Brown, who will become governor if Kitzhaber steps down, says Kitzhaber asked her on Tuesday to return to Portland from a conference of the National Association for Secretaries of State. In a meeting a day later, though, "He asked me why I came back early from Washington, DC, which I found strange. I asked him what he wanted to talk about. The governor told me he was not resigning, after which he began a discussion about transition," Brown says. "This is clearly a bizarre and unprecedented situation." Kotek maintains that "the ongoing investigations surrounding the governor and Cylvia Hayes have resulted in the loss of the people's trust." Click for more on the scandals facing the governor. (Read more John Kitzhaber stories.)

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