After admitting to sex with an employee, Rep. Matt Wingard drops campaign for re-election

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Today, Rep. Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville) decided against seeking re-election. It was a sudden collapse of a politician that Republicans clearly thought had a bright future. The O's Jeff Mapes reports:

Wingard, who did not return repeated calls for comment, made his decision to step away from his political career less than a week after revelations that a former aide had complained about his behavior to investigators from the state Department of Justice and the Clackamas County sheriff.

While the investigators declined to bring any charges against Wingard, the reports described behavior that bothered even many of his fellow Republicans.

The woman, who first met Wingard when she was 20, said she felt pressured to enter into a sexual relationship with him and to exchange sexually oriented texts while he employed her in 2010.

Of course, those of us on the other side have been calling attention to his bizarre behavior for a long time. Frankly, he should never have been elected in the first place. As Steve Law noted in the Tigard Times, this isn't the first allegation:

Before his first House race in 2008, Wingard was embarrassed by revelations that he pled guilty to misdemeanor child abuse and fourth-degree assault in 2001, after striking his 7-year-old son in the head with a screwdriver handle. In an affidavit, his former girlfriend and the mother of the child alleged a pattern of authoritarian parenting by Wingard, including forcefeeding their child to the point of vomiting when he wouldn’t eat, and locking him in a dark stairwell to help him overcome his fear of the dark. Wingard denied those allegations, and managed to win office anyway.

As a matter of campaign politics, Democrats probably would have preferred that Wingard hang on - damaged goods, and easy pickings. As a matter of ethics and good government, Wingard should resign immediately. His constituents in HD-26 deserve better representation - even for just the next six months. It's good that he'll be gone in six months. Six months too late, in my view.

Now, Republican precinct officers will meet to select a new candidate. That person will face the Democratic nominee, Wynne Wakkila. Learn more about Wynne Wakkila here and make a donation now to get this new phase of her campaign off to a fast start.

Comments

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    Wait, the GOP is merely selecting a candidate, not the incumbent for the seat?

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    @Mark-- unless the GOP powers that be can force Wingard to resign, the PCPs will only be replacing him as a candidate, not as an incumbent. Ironically, Wingard was chosen to replace an incumbent (Jerry Krummel) when he first ran, just a few months before the election. He is now apparently not affording that advantage to whoever will be the new HD26 Republican candidate. I would say that choice is entirely in keeping with his ego-driven personality.

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    The "R's" have an opportunity to replace Wingard on the House Education Committee. Achievement compacts and the switch to "proficiency-based grading" are beginning in the fall of 2013 in 197 Oregon school districts. Rep. Sara Gelser endured obstructionist and champion of charter schools Wingard, as the other co-chair of the House Ed. committee. In order for public education to thrive we need bi-partisan support for the new Education officer and the Oregon Education Investment Board.

    Oregon has a 66% graduation rate. One out of three students do not earn a high school diploma with negative results on the economy and the community.

    Meanwhile school districts across the state are spending reserves and increasing class size, reducing classified employees and cutting teachers. It is time for every legislator, no matter their party affiliation, to put public education on the front burner.

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      Yes absolutely! I was going to call Kari and ask him to look into that. Wynne is a bright, passionate candidate and deserves our support, and the first step is getting her website organized and more functional.

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    If anyone is interesting in learning more about Wynne Wakkila's views on various issues, you can view her responses to the IPO candidate questionnaire that was distributed as part of our primary election, which is running through July 17th. In fact, most candidates in key contested legislative and partisan county commissioner races are participating in our primary election, and their responses are here.

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    Interesting Wynne url: http://fastnw.org/

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    Beating child with screwdriver? No problem. Inappropriate relationship with subordinate? Outta here.

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    If Wingard is out, why isn't Sam Adams for the same thing?

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      At this point they both took the same position; continue to complete the term, but not run again.

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      As John noted, the same thing is happening in both cases.

      I'm not interested in re-litigating the Adams situation, but there are some critical differences.

      • Adams did not (and was never accused of) having sex with an employee. Breedlove was an intern for a Republican legislator in Salem, not a City Hall employee.

      • Adams was never accused of plying anyone with alcohol, drugging them, or pressuring them to send dirty texts.

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        You ignore that Beau Breedlove was a 17 year old high school student.

        Somehow hitting on a underage intern is preferable to an adult employee???

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          Again, there's really no point in arguing about Sam Adams.

          But let's be clear: We're talking about sex between two single, consenting adults with no employer/employee (or intern) relationship between them.

          You may not like gay sex. You may not like sex between people with big age differences.

          But the core fact remains: it was sex between two single, consenting adults. Period.

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        It appears that the young woman involved has retracted the accusation that she was drugged.

        From the O:

        [Samantha] Berrier did issue a "statement of clarification" Thursday retracting one of her most damaging charges, in which she told state justice officials that she had been "drugged" by Wingard.

        "With regard to a text message I sent to one of the Oregon Department of Justice investigators, I did so in the heat of the moment," Berrier said in the statement. "I have no evidence that Mr. Wingard drugged me in any way at any time and I should not have said it."

        In an emailed statement, Wingard said he is "pleased that the staff member that I had a consensual relationship with has released a statement clarifying that no drugging occurred. The allegation was untrue and I thank her for setting the record straight."

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        Well, actually, Sam did pretty much the same thing -- didn't run again. His term was longer so his stay in office after announcing not running too. But the underlying choice is the same.

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    1 less ALEC Rep is a step in the right direction.

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    Interesting that this guy resigns but Sam Adams is still in office.

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    Wynne Walikka will almost certainly be at the Washco Dems meeting on Wednesday June 27, at PCC Willow Creek campus, 6:30-9pm. Come out and meet her, contribute to her campaign, and volunteer to help her win. Win with Wynne! Details at www.washcodems.org

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