Stay weird, Oregon.
The headscratching non-resignation of Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) — who had reportedly told staff he would resign this week before abruptly changing his mind and announcing Wednesday he would stay — took another twist on Thursday.
Secretary of State Kate Brown (D), who would have succeeded Kitzhaber if he stepped down, said in a statement that the governor asked her Tuesday to come back to Oregon to meet with him. Many saw that as a prelude to his resignation.
But when Brown met with Kitzhaber on Wednesday, according to her statement via KPTV, he asked her why she had come back.
“I got on a plane yesterday morning and arrived at 3:40 in the afternoon. I was escorted directly into a meeting with the Governor,” Brown said. “It was a brief meeting. He asked me why I came back early from Washington, DC, which I found strange. I asked him what he wanted to talk about. The Governor told me he was not resigning, after which, he began a discussion about transition.”
“This is clearly a bizarre and unprecedented situation,” she continued. “I informed the Governor that I am ready, and my staff will be ready, should he resign. Right now I am focused on doing my job for the people of Oregon.”
Kitzhaber and his fiance Cylvia Hayes have been confronted with allegations that the governor’s allies helped find Hayes work at groups that try to influence public policy in Oregon while she was simultaneously advising the governor.