On July 18 after an extended session, Oregon House Republicans changed their leadership from Kevin Cameron to Andy Olson. The initial word that came to me from sources in Salem was that Cameron had been ousted.
Cameron even snagged a "winner" label from the Editorial Board at the Statesman Journal.
In the grand scheme of things, whether or not Cameron was "ousted" or stepped down of his own accord is probably not earth shattering. But, I don't like getting stories wrong. So I sat down to revisit the situation and prepared to write a correction.
But the more I investigate, the more questions arise (more after the jump).
The press release from the GOP House Caucus was full of hearts & flowers, certainly. But if this was a simple, cut and dried matter of a resignation for personal reasons and the election of a new leader, why the marathon five hour caucus session?
Why were none of the members commenting to the press on the "exciting" new development of Olson as leader?
Why didn't Cameron announce that he was stepping down before the meeting, instead of sending out a press release after their meeting was over?
Then on Friday, Jeff Mapes noted on OPB's Friday Political Chat that new leader Andy Olson was unhappy with the way that Republican leadership managed the Matt Wingard scandal.
Peter Wong of the Statesman Journal raises the same thing here.
Further, it's my understanding that it's pretty unusual to switch leaders in July of an election year. If Cameron was having family and business issues, why wait so late into the year? Why not do it before the election cycle kicks in? It's doesn't entirely add up.
Could it also be a consequence of the GOPs failed attempts to block foreclosure reform in the February session? Or perhaps their general failure to pursue or achieve any meaningful policy items from the February session generally? Seems like the GOPs agenda went nowhere.
Or is it that they know that they are poised to lose seats in November?
And now it turns out that Olson benefits heavily from the largesse of the PERS system. Republicans have continually vilified PERS as an out-of-control government program. Olson seems like an odd choice to lead their caucus, under those circumstances. Did the GOP not take the time to vet the guy...?
I don't think I'll be writing that correction just yet.