Oregon. Gov John Kitzhaber (D) announced Wednesday that he would not step down, despite an ongoing ethics scandal enshrouding himself and his fiance. But, according to multiple reports, the governor had originally decided to resign before abruptly changing his mind at the last minute.
Kitzhaber and Hayes have been contending with allegations that the governor’s aides helped secure Hayes employment at organizations that seek to influence public policy in Oregon.
The Associated Press and The Oregonian, both citing anonymous sources, reported that Kitzhaber had initially told his staff that he would leave office. The AP reported that he had made the decision Sunday and asked the Secretary of State, Kate Brown, Tuesday to return to Oregon from Washington, D.C., so that she could succeed him. The next day, however, Kitzhaber defiantly declared that he would not resign.
It isn’t clear exactly what changed his mind, although The Oregonian’s report offers some additional details. Kitzhaber had been meeting with leading state officials over the last few days in anticipation of his stepping down. As early as Wednesday morning, the governor’s staff was still preparing for his resignation.
But then Kitzhaber met with his fiance, Cylvia Hayes, and his attorney, Jim McDermott, according to the newspaper, and they argued against resigning. It isn’t clear exactly what argument they made, but it seems to have swayed him.