Hunt to Run for Clackamas County Chair

Rep. Dave Hunt, D-Gladstone, the former House Speaker who was ousted as caucus leader by his fellow House Democrats after the 2011 session, says he will seek election as chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners.

Rep. Dave Hunt, D-Gladstone, will run for Clackamas County Chair in 2012.Hunt hasn't made a public announcement about his intentions, but he has told several insiders his decision is final. Hunt would challenge Commissioner Charlotte Lehan for the seat. Lehan was appointed by her fellow commissioners when Lynn Peterson accepted an appointment as a transportation and sustainability policy advisor on Governor Kitzhaber's staff.

Hunt's retreat from the Oregon legislature comes after a year of defeats for him. Hunt served as House Speaker in 2009, presiding over a 36-seat supermajority for House Democrats. The party lost six seats and the majority to Republicans in the 2010 elections following a bruising referendum battle over tax increases Hunt pushed through. The battle eroded for some his image as a pro-business Democrat.

The resulting 30-30 split in the House led to an agreement of split leadership. Hunt's fellow Democrats chose Rep. Arnie Roblan of Coos Bay to be co-speaker with Rep. Bruce Hanna, R-Roseburg. Hunt's consolation prize for losing the speakership was his election as Democratic caucus leader.

At least since 2007, House Democrats have held caucus elections immediately following session adjournment. This year was no different, and  House Democrats voted Rep. Tina Kotek, D-Portland, as their new caucus leader.