The Fall of John Kitzhaber, the Democrat Who Was Supposed to Save Health Care Reform

The wonkish decline of a Democratic icon.

The fall of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber does not mean that much for the Democratic Party. Oregon stood out in 2014's midterms, a blue utopia where Republicans could make no inroads. Portland newspapers were breaking stories about the ethics problems of Kitzhaber's fiance for weeks before the election. Polling showed Kitzhaber losing a solid lead over the Republicans' candidate, Dennis Richardson. But Oregon was not about to elect Richardson, a conservative who denied man-made climate change and called homosexuality a vice like smoking. Kitzhaber won; Democrats grew their majority in the legislature. Kitzhaber's resignation will make Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown the nation's latest Democratic governor. 

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