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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.

As Filing Season Begins, Oregon Governor's Race Kicks Off

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
Salem cancer doctor Bud Pierce kicked off his gubernatorial campaign on the front steps of the Oregon capitol.

The campaign season is officially underway in Oregon. Thursday was the first day that candidates could file to run in next May's primary.

The day included a kickoff announcement from the first Republican to run for governor.

Bud Pierce said he was thinking about running for Oregon governor in 2018. But then John Kitzhaber stepped down amid an ethics investigation in February. And that meant Pierce and any other gubernatorial hopeful could make a run for the office two years ahead of schedule.

The Salem cancer doctor used an analogy from his professional background when he kicked off his campaign on the steps of the Oregon capitol.

"We need to talk about what ails Oregon,” Pierce said. “In medicine we call this making a diagnosis. And we need to talk about a treatment plan to rid Oregon of this ailment."

This is Pierce's first run for office. Democrat Kate Brown became governor when Kitzhaber stepped down. She's expected to run next year but has not announced her plans.

The winner of next year's election will serve a two-year term before the office is up for a full four-year term in 2018. It's not clear yet who else will run for Oregon governor next year. The last time Oregonians elected a Republican to the office was in 1982.

Also Thursday, state Senator Richard Devlin announced that he's seeking the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State. He's the only candidate in the race so far, but office-seekers have until mid-March to finalize their plans.