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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Campaigns Trade Barbs As Oregon Governor's Race Enters Closing Days

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

The Republican running for Oregon governor is dialing up the rhetoric against incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber.

Dennis Richardson Thursday accused Kitzhaber of dragging his feet in releasing public records related to the role of first lady Cylvia Hayes. Richardson held a Portland press conference after news organizations complained this week that the governor's office has been slow to hand over public records.

The documents could shed more light on the role of Kitzhaber's fiancée, Cylvia Hayes. She has been accused of using her connections to the governor to secure lucrative consulting contracts.

Richardson said the governor might be trying to hide evidence with an election underway.

"Governor Kitzhaber clearly cannot be trusted to hold himself, his fiancée, or his staff accountable,” Richardson said. “I certainly hope they are not delaying the release of information because they are destroying documents or purging computers."

A spokeswoman for Kitzhaber called Richardson's allegations a "Hail Mary pass without the football."

More than a quarter of Oregon voters have already turned in a ballot. The deadline to vote is next Tuesday.