SALEM — Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken said Monday he is considering a bid for the Republican nomination for governor next year.
Democrat Kate Brown, who as secretary of state succeeded John Kitzhaber upon his resignation Feb. 18, faces an election in 2016 for the remaining two years in Kitzhaber’s term.
Democrats have held the governorship for 30 years, the longest stretch by Democrats or Republicans in state history.
Leiken, who is in his second term as a commissioner, said he is in an exploratory stage as he changed his campaign committee name to Sid Leiken for Governor.
“I will spend the next several weeks going around the state to meet Oregonians where they live, and talk about their vision for Oregon’s future,” Leiken said in a statement.
He becomes the third Republican to consider entering the race.
Dr. William “Bud” Pierce, a physician from Salem and a former president of the Oregon Medical Association, has announced.
Businessman Allen Alley of Lake Oswego — a former state GOP chairman, a 2010 candidate for governor and the party’s 2008 nominee for state treasurer — is considering a bid.
Kitzhaber resigned amid influence-peddling and conflict-of-interest allegations against him and companion Cylvia Hayes. A federal investigation is underway; neither has been charged.
Leiken was on the Springfield City Council two years before he became mayor in 2000, and served 10 years. Among the achievements he mentions are the call center for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, relocation of Peace Health into the center of town, and new jobs at Symantec.
He launched a bid for the 4th District congressional seat in 2009, but dropped it after a question arose about documentation of a $2,000 campaign payment to his mother, ostensibly for polling services. He later returned the money to his campaign account.
He won a seat on the five-member Lane County board in 2010.
Leiken is the grandson of Sid Leiken, a timber company owner in Roseburg who was a Democratic state representative from 1961 to 1969.
Leiken has a wife, Debbie, and two sons, Zach, 22, and Gabe, 20.
He has enlisted political consultant Chuck Adams, who has worked in a number of Republican campaigns.