Republicans in Oregon are so incensed that their democratically elected governor is doing her job that they’re trying to remove her from office.
Angry conservatives in the state are petitioning to have Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat and America’s first openly bisexual governor, recalled to force another election, the Huffington Post reports.
The reason for their anger? Brown is pursuing policies they don’t like — the same policies she told voters she would pursue when they put her in office.
But, for the Oregon Republican Party, that apparently constitutes ignoring the will of the people.
“The people of Oregon deserve and expect a Governor that honors the will of the voters and works for the good of all citizens, not just special interests and politically-motivated agendas,” Bill Currier, chair of the Oregon GOP, said in a recall petition filed last month.
Among Currier’s objections are Brown’s climate bill, intended to limit the state’s greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade system, allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses, and, apparently, her push to “[deny] citizens protection from the growing domestic terrorist threat known as Antifa.” (Ignoring that most domestic terrorism is caused by white supremacists.)
Currier also said that Brown had “threatened to usurp legislative power with executive orders to implement her failed legislation, deciding single-handedly what is best for Oregon.”
Brown didn’t mince her words in responding to the GOP’s efforts, telling Huffington Post that the recall push was “crazy.”
She also noted the discrepancy between apparently denying the will of voters and her winning both of her gubernatorial elections with a majority vote share.
“Not only have I had one election in the last three years, I’ve had two,” Brown said. “And I won both of them handily. So what part of the will of the voters are they ignoring?”
Republicans in Oregon have relied on increasingly unusual methods to thwart Brown’s policy agenda, including refusing to show up for a vote on her climate bill, effectively killing it.
Brown called their actions a “subversion of democracy” and said, “They didn’t have any other tool, so they left. They literally shut down the legislative branch.”
Recalling politicians offers a way for the electorate to replace a lawmaker or leader who isn’t adequately performing their public duties, or has perhaps brought the office into disrepute. But Republicans are increasingly viewing it as a way to regain power in states where the GOP is losing its grip.
A challenge similar to that facing Brown is being mounted in Colorado against Jared Polis, America’s first openly gay male governor.
Republicans in the state are targeting Polis — elected with 53% of the vote to his Republican rival’s 43% — and two Democratic state senators with recall petitions, and GOP leaders are championing the efforts, the Associated Press reports.
A spokesperson for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee told AP that Republicans pushing for recall are “sore losers.”
“Republicans are definitely on the decline in the West, and Colorado is the leader of that,” spokesman Matt Harringer said. “We don’t think there’s a huge appetite to recall legislators who are doing what they said they would do.”