| April 4, 2008 Volume 109 Number 7
Oregon AFL-CIO backs Kroger for AG, Schrader for Congress
John Kroger was endorsed by the Oregon AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) to be the state’s next attorney general, and State Sen. Kurt Schrader was picked to succeed Darlene Hooley in Congress.
COPE delegates met March 27 in Northeast Portland to discuss races in the May 20 primary. To endorse a candidate requires a two-thirds majority vote.
Earlier this year, the Oregon AFL-CIO endorsed Jeff Merkley in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and Ben Westlund for State Treasurer. Merkley is facing Steve Novick in the Democratic primary, with the winner taking on Republican incumbent Gordon Smith. Westlund is unopposed.
Three Democratic state senators vying for secretary of state will fight it out in the primary without an endorsement from the AFL-CIO. The state labor federation took no action in the race between Rick Metzger, Vicki Walker and Kate Brown. A motion just to consider endorsing in the race failed to get enough votes to proceed.
Kroger, a Lewis & Clark Law School professor and a former federal prosecutor, is in a heated battle with Lake Oswego State Rep. Greg Macpherson in the Democratic primary. The four-term incumbent, Democrat Hardy Myers, is retiring, and no Republican has filed for the post, which means the winner of the Democratic primary will be the next attorney general.
Kroger captured the COPE endorsement by a vote of 13-4.
Gary Gillespie, president of Oregon AFSCME Council 75, described Kroger as “a fresh voice who will work in connection with the the labor commissioner to make sure workers’ rights are enforced.”
Macpherson was criticized by several delegates for his leading role in shepherding votes in 2003 to reform the Public Employees Retirement System.
Schrader is facing four Democratic challengers in the primary. Hooley, a Democrat, surprised many when she announced earlier this year that she would not seek re-election.
In addition to Schrader, COPE endorsed the re-election of Congressmen David Wu in District 1, Earl Blumenauer in District 3, and Peter DeFazio in District 4. None is facing a serious challenger.
A motion to make an early endorsement for labor commissioner in the November general election failed to win enough votes to proceed. Incumbent Dan Gardner, a member of Electrical Workers Local 48, resigned last month to take a job with his international union in Washington, D.C.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski appointed State Sen. Brad Avakian (D-Bethany) to replace Gardner. Avakian was running in the crowded race for secretary of state. He now must run for the labor office in the November general election.
Alltodl, the Oregon AFL-CIO has endorsed the following candidates:
Oregon Attorney General: John Kroger (D)
Oregon Treasurer: Ben Westlund (D)
U.S. Senate: Jeff Merkley (D)
© Oregon Labor Press Publishing Co. Inc.