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Recall likely doomed

When reporters from the Oregon Capital Bureau interviewed about 30 voters signing recall petitions against Gov. Kate Brown at the Oregon State Fair last week, the majority of them had trouble saying exactly why they wanted to recall the governor. That’s the first clue that this recall is going nowhere.

The Oregon Constitution doesn’t specify reasons for recalling elected officials either; it merely lays out the required number of signatures to put a recall on the ballot — 15% of the number of votes cast for governor in the most recent election — and specifies what happens after enough signatures are turned in. In Brown’s case, that means recall supporters need 280,000 valid signatures by Oct. 14.

Recall has generally been, and ought to be, reserved for corruption or malfeasance, not for policy differences. But even those fair-goers who could clearly state their reasons for signing the petition mentioned legislation.

Love her or hate her, Brown has handily won two elections since taking office upon the resignation of Gov. John Kitzhaber, who left under the cloud of an ethics investigation. She cannot run for reelection in 2022 under the state’s term-limits law.

Complicating the recall proponents’ case is the fact that there are two separate campaigns, which are not cooperating. Even if one manages to force an election, winning it would be an even longer shot. Proponents would be better off concentrating on finding and supporting a strong candidate to run in 2022 for what will be an open seat.