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Dan Rayfield likely to be Oregon’s next House speaker

Rep. Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, on the House Chamber floor at the Oregon State Capitol, May 18, 2021 in Salem, Ore.(Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — State Rep. Dan Rayfield is poised to be the next Oregon House Speaker after being officially nominated by Democratic representatives for the post.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that Rayfield, of Corvallis, prevailed Sunday in a contested race to replace longtime speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland. Kotek said she would be stepping down to focus on her race for governor.

Rayfield won out against state Rep. Janelle Bynum, of Happy Valley, who had hoped to become the first Black speaker of the House in state history.

“I’m deeply honored that my caucus has entrusted me with this nomination,” Rayfield said in a statement. “I recognize this comes with tremendous responsibility at a pivotal moment for families across our state.”

Rayfield is all but certain to win a formal election by all 60 House members when the Legislature convenes Feb. 1. His nomination comes a little more than a week after Kotek surprised many in her party by announcing she would resign Jan. 21.

In her own statement Sunday, Bynum congratulated Rayfield, and repeated her contention that Oregon must help ensure people of color are given opportunities to lead.

“I issue this challenge to the Democratic Party: Commit to mentoring, stepping aside, and creating pathways for leadership development,” Bynum said. “

Rayfield, 42, is a trial lawyer who was first elected to the House in 2014.