Government, Politics, Salem

4 hours before filing deadline, State Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell drops out of race

Rep. Mitchell speaks to western Washington County residents at a Dec 12 2018 CPO meeting in Gales Creek. Photo: Chas Hundley

ASTORIA – Citing a pending move to Washington, Oregon House District 32 state representative Tiffiny Mitchell announced that she would not seek reelection on Tuesday afternoon. 

The announcement came as the window to file to run for office in the May 19 primary narrows, with applications accepted up to 5 p.m. Tuesday. 

With Mitchell out of the race, two new candidates have said they will run in the last hours before the filing window closes at 5 p.m. today: Debbie Boothe-Schmidt, a Clatsop County trial assistant who confirmed in a phone call Tuesday afternoon with the Banks Post that she would seek election to Mitchell’s seat, and George Kiepke, a former Clatsop County commissioner.

Two Republicans are also fighting for the seat: Vineeta Lower, who ran against Mitchell in 2018, and Suzanne Weber, the mayor of Tillamook.

House District 32 is composed of areas in NW Oregon, including the North Coast, Gales Creek, Banks, and Gaston. 

“The reason for my withdrawal is that my husband Mitch has accepted an exciting job offer that will  take us to Washington State in the coming year. Since this job became a possibility, we looked at all the alternatives that would allow me to continue serving the people of the North Coast. But we have concluded that none are practical or appropriate past 2020. I will be able to serve out my term, but not beyond that,” the one-term legislator said in a press release. 

Mitchell’s election to HD 32 was her first elected office. 

“While this is a very positive prospect for our family, I am saddened that it cannot include 

continuing to serve as State Representative. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not only has it given me the opportunity to work on behalf of my neighbors and community, it enabled me to be a part of making unprecedented progress for North Coast working families and all Oregonians. The Student Success Act, Paid Family and Medical Leave, securing stable financing for health care covering over one million Oregonians, historic tenant protections and investments in affordable housing, and putting new focus on mental health and addiction are just a few of the ways we helped Oregonians move towards a better future,” Mitchell said.

In 2019, Mitchell was the target of a recall effort that ultimately failed to get enough signatures to move forward after she supported 2019’s doomed legislative efforts to pass a cap-and-trade bill. That legislation failed in the Oregon Senate after Republican senators fled the state, a move echoed this year as well. 

House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) praised Mitchell in the same press release

“Tiffiny has exemplified the model of a citizen legislator and has been a committed champion for her community every single day,” Rep. Smith Warner said. “She can be proud of the work she did to tackle the needs of the North Coast and improve the lives of working families. We are sad that she will not be seeking another term in the House, and we wish her and Mitch all the best in their new adventure.”

This is a developing story.

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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