Drazan Steps Down as House GOP Leader to Focus on Gubernatorial Campaign

Canby State Representative Christine Drazan on Wednesday said she would be stepping down from her role as House Republican leader after three years to focus on her recently confirmed gubernatorial campaign.

“It has been a privilege to serve as Republican leader in the Oregon House during these challenging times,” Drazan said in a statement. “Today I stepped down from this role to focus my efforts on preparations to serve our state in a new way.”

Though she did not specify this new undertaking, the apparent allusion was to her bid for the Republican nomination for Oregon governor, which she confirmed last week to various media outlets, including The Canby Current.

While there is a slew of well-known Democrats vying to replace the term-limited Kate Brown, no clear and unassailable front-runner has yet emerged for the Republicans — and no current GOP candidate has a statewide profile that matches Drazan’s.

“I have enjoyed working alongside my Republican colleagues who have been committed to amplifying the voices of tens of thousands of Oregonians that feel unheard by our current state leadership,” Drazan said.

The longtime Canby-area resident was chosen to lead the House Republican caucus in September 2019 while still in her first term as an elected official — though she had decades of experience in state politics, including serving as chief of staff for Republican House Speaker Mark Simmons in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Her replacement as leader of the caucus will be another woman and relative newcomer to the Legislature: Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson, of Prineville, who was first appointed to replace Mike McLane in 2019. She easily won re-election the following year, with 73.5% of the vote.

“It’s an honor to be chosen by my friends and colleagues for this role,” said Breese-Iverson. “I’m proud of the work that this caucus has achieved together in recent years, standing up to the one-party dominance that controls this state. The size of state government has ballooned after a decade of Democrats’ liberal agenda-driven focus and as a result made Oregon more expensive for everyone.

“I look forward to continuing our work in this new role to fight for much-needed balance. House Republicans will not stop pushing for solutions that focus on the actual needs of Oregonians.”

Breese-Iverson was among the dozen Oregon Republican lawmakers who signed a Dec. 11 letter urging the state’s Democratic attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, to join a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the presidential election results in four battleground states. Canby’s Senate representative at the time, Alan Olsen, also endorsed the letter, but Drazan did not.

The U.S. Supreme Court tossed the suit for lack of standing later that same day.

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