Breaking: Rep. Mac Sumner Resigns

This hasn't been reported anywhere yet, but we've just confirmed that Representative Mac Sumner (R-Molalla) resigned from the Oregon Legislature today -- effective at 5 p.m -- in a letter to the Secretary of State.

In his resignation letter, he cites his health and a desire to be with his family. Through the election cycle, Rep. Sumner was battling lung cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.

Just days before the election, he told the Statesman-Journal that he would be able to serve.

State Rep. Mac Sumner said Wednesday that his treatment for lung cancer will not deter him from winning and serving a second two--year term in the Oregon House.

"My doctor in Tualatin seems to think I am doing really good," Sumner said. "I'm taking chemotherapy and feeling much better and stronger every day. I have no doubt I'll be able to finish this term and serve the next.

District 18 includes parts of Clackamas and Marion Counties. The usual replacement process goes through the county party committees and then the County Commissions.


  • (Show?)

    That's a shame--I wish him better health--but I must confess that this is EXACTLY what I was told by someone (who I won't name) would happen. I personally called up the Sumners myself, under the guise of asking what Mac's "campaign appearance schedule" looked like until the election, and spoke with his wife/manager. She said he'd just gotten back from the doctor, and the prognosis was "great." I asked if he'd definitely be able to serve, then, and she said that yes he was. It literally hasn't been more that 6 weeks since I talked to Mrs. Sumner.

    People take a turn for the worse unexpectedly all the time, and maybe Mac was just too hopeful and optimistic for his own good...but I can't help thinking that somebody (cough...WayneScott...cough) strongly encouraged him to stay in the race until after the election, regardless.

    So, how does the replacement process work?

  • (Show?)

    If memory serves, the ClackRepubCentCom will recommend a selection of Repub replacements, and the ClackCountyCommissioners will select from the list.

    Three member commission:

    Schrader (D) Petersen (D) Kennemer (R)

    Could be fun.

    I'd like to recommend Jim Gilbert for the position.......

  • John Statler (unverified)

    I've heard of a tactic. Run, even though you don't plan to complete the term, so that when you resign your party gets to appoint your replacement.

    I know that when I signed my interest in running for council the application asked me to state that I would serve if elected.

    Lung cancer, indeed cancer of any kind, is never treated lightly by a doctor and any statements like, "I'm going to be fine." should qualify as questionably able to serve if elected.

    Seems like an ethical question.

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    Pat -- You're right, except that since the district includes Marion County, the same process will proceed in parallel there. The votes will be combined on a percentage-of-population basis.

    It'll have to be a Republican that replaces him. Of course, the County Commissions will choose among the Republicans that the party nominates.

    It makes Lynn Peterson's defeat of Larry Sowa very important.

  • anon (unverified)

    Two things:

    1. Don't the replacements have to be nominated and decided sooner than Peterson will be sworn in as the new Clack Commissioner?

    2. The Statesman says it might be Tootie Smith. I hope not, she's really aweful. Sumner is very right wing, but at least he's a nice enough guy. Few people in recent OR legislative history are more vile than Smith. She's really an ugly and hateful person - if you need an example, look at how she targeted Kate Brown's staff last session during the SB 1000 debate. Interestingly, the only legislator who might compete is her predecessor in the House (and now a Senator) - Roger Beyer, the great defender of cock fighting and the car title loan industry.

  • Clinton (unverified)

    What about this guy- Dale Settje? He ran against Sumner in the Primary. When I talked to Mac Sumner's wife she said it was a pretty serious campaign. What's the buzz about this guy? He seems to like his schools...

    Rep. Sumner seemed like a cool guy, for an R. I'm sorry to see him go.

  • bullrider (unverified)

    I live in rural Clackamas County and voted for Jim Gilbert since Mac Sumner was such a 'do nothing' legislator who sided with out of state special interests more often than not. We learned Mac was seriously ill just before the election, and if it had become more public that he likely couldn't serve another term because of his condition, I believe Gilbert would have won.

    Does anyone know the process and timing for us locals to influence the selection of the next Rep? I understand Gilbert did better in Marion county than rural Clackamas, and since in any event he was the number two vote getter, it seems like the seat should be his, rather than some unelected selection from the Republican good old boys club. Maybe smarter people than me can post the details on this.

  • LT (unverified)

    Sorry bullrider, that's the way the law works. Pct.people in the affected counties choose 3-5 candidates and the county comm. then choose from that list. If a Democratic candidate collapsed and was hospitalized after an election, you'd want the replacement to be a Democrat.

    If you know any GOP pct. people (in a rural area, that's possible), talk to them about who you'd like to see, that you hope it goes to a new person if you don't like Tootie Smith, etc. When the list is chosen, contact all the county comm. as they vote together (when we had a vacancy because our legislator was elected to higher office, they met in a large meeting room, each candidate gave speeches, then the county comm. voted).

    When Clarno left and there was that St. Sen. vacancy, I found out Ben Westlund was trying for it as was a former legislator I detested. I found the email addresses of all the Deschutes comm. and emailed them why I thought Westlund an excellent choice and why I opposed Bryant. It was by the replacement process that Westlund went from House to Senate during a session.

  • tina (unverified)

    Bullrider not that I am smarter but just that I know the process, if your a Republican the best way to influence the selection is to submit your name to the Republican Committee in the County you live in or find someone you respect and think will do a good job and get them to submit their name to the Republican Party of Oregon and to the county central committee.

    I would then suggest you call the local press and be ready to talk about why your the best person for the job. Then get a mailing or a personal letter to each Republican precint person in both counties (they vote on how many and who will be on the list submitted to the County Commissioners. I think the Republicans have 30 days to get a list to the Commissioners and to the Sec of States office starting from the SofS announcement of the resignation. If the Republicans do not get a list in time then Gov. Ted gets to pick the replacement so its a strong bet that they will move fast so if you really have an interest then you better get moving as well. You will be asked to fill out a form that you are a legal resident of Oregon and you agree to serve the term if you are selected/appointed.

    Its a interesting process and given previous Reps from that District the process might turn out some of the real rightwing wackos.

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    Can the Oregon House require a new election or is the local party/county commission the only apparatus for replacing a sitting legislator???

  • Gus Frederick (unverified)

    Well, of course not unexpected. Small-cell lung cancer is usually, if not always, fatal. It just shows incredible gall and irresponsibility on the part of the state republican machine in general and the Sumner Campaign in particular, that they would play this grotesque game of partisanship with a human life.

    To continue in a campaign with the full knowledge that one is undergoing medical treatment-ANY medical treatment-is beyond unethical. I find it extremely hard to muster any sort of pity for someone who would stoop so low.

    Gus Frederick - Silverton, OR Campaign Manager - Friends of Jim Gilbert

  • Gus Frederick (unverified)

    FWIW, here is the text of a Letter to the Editor of the Silverton Appeal-Tribune, printed two weeks BEFORE the election, and posted on their website then. And probably the reason why the Statesman did their story, (Gannett owns both papers):


    "The unmitigated gall of the State Republican Party is breathtaking in its hypocrisy. Today's mailer from the Sumner Campaign says, "Someone We Don't Know or A Trusted Friend; Jim Gilbert or Mac Sumner".

    "It's a safe bet that a lot more voters know Jim Gilbert than Mac Sumner because Jim has been out knocking on doors and attending the meet the candidate forum events, while Sumner hasn't. Out of respect for the kind of tragic circumstance everyone is potentially vulnerable to, most people have been quiet in public about the reason why Sumner has had to cancel public appearances due to 'health problems'.

    "However, the Republican spin meisters' attempt to project an illusion of familiarity deserves to be confronted with the uncomfortable truth: Mac Sumner is dying of cancer. The rumor is that he's got six months to live.

    "Why is Sumner running for an office he knows he will not be able to serve? The only possible reason is to allow the Republican Party to appoint his replacement if he wins. Consequently, a vote for Sumner is a vote for somebody who isn't even in this election."

    Greg Franck-Weiby


    Pretty much sums it up.

    Gus Frederick - Silverton, OR Campaign Manager - Friends of Jim Gilbert

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    Regardless of what happens, my heart goes out to him and his family.

  • LT (unverified)

    Bear, I have nothing but sympathy for the family.

    However, I'm glad Democrats gained control of the House because whoever is chosen in the replacement process will be in the minority.

    But this is a question of honesty. There was no excuse for someone undergoing serious medical treatment not to be upfront with the voters. At the very least "This is what I've been diagnosed with, this is the treatment I am undergoing". As I recall, Paul Tsongas once swam laps in a pool to show how healthy he was---but did he live the 4 years to the end of the presidential term he was running for?

  • (Show?)

    Sumner disclosed that he was ill. He just didn't disclose how serious it was.

    It was "rumored" that it was serious - in other words, the local chattering class knew - and the Oregonian failed to report on it. I know the Oregonian knew, because I gave 'em a heads up.

    It's completely unacceptable that the Sumner campaign didn't disclose how serious it was, if they knew.

    <h2>The voters had a right to know.</h2>
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