Tags: John Kitzhaber | Oregon | fiancee | marriage | immigrant | Dennis Richardson

The 'Other Candidate' in Oregon Gov. Race Now Gets Notice

By Monday, 13 October 2014 06:26 AM Current | Bio | Archive

With the sensational revelation last week that the fiancée of Oregon's Gov. John Kitzhaber was once married to provide an Ethiopian immigrant with U.S. citizenship (and thus broke U.S. immigration laws), Democrat Kitzhaber's bid for an unprecedented fourth term has suddenly been placed in even greater jeopardy than before what some Beaver State reporters are dubbing the "Cylvia Shocker."

"Cylvia" is Cylvia Hayes, who is living with and not married to the twice-divorced Kitzhaber but is nonetheless known as Oregon's "First Lady."

During a tearful press conference Thursday covered by such national outlets as Fox News and The New York Times, Hayes, 47, revealed that she had three, instead of her two known, marriages; that she married an 18-year-old Ethiopian immigrant in 2002 for $5,000 that she said she needed; and that she never lived with her "husband" or saw much of him after their marriage ended.

"Marriages of convenience" for money are illegal, but Hayes cannot be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired.

Kitzhaber and Hayes have been companions for 10 years, but both insist he found out about the secret marriage the way most other Oregonians did: from the Willamette Weekly, which broke the story earlier in the week.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax, state Rep. Dennis Richardson, the Republican candidate who is now beginning to be noticed by the state and national press, addressed the revelation that has suddenly put the Oregon contest on the national political screen.

"This certainly should be an issue, because it is an indication of the character of my opponent," Richardson told us. "He is so focused on his fiancée that he's forgotten how to be a governor."

As significant as Hayes' "violation of federal immigration standards," he added, "she has tripled her income between 2012 and 2013 by accepting consultant contracts from energy companies while representing herself as Oregon's first lady and a senior adviser to the governor on energy issues."

Richardson, 65 — a Central Point attorney and U.S. Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam — spoke to us hours after a crowded debate with Kitzhaber at Portland's City Club Friday in which Hayes' secret marriage and her consultant contracts came up.

Republican Richardson said he would have called for "an independent investigation by the [state] Attorney General's office," while Kitzhaber said he would do no such thing.

A week before the stunning revelation about the governor's fiancée, a CBS/New York Times/YouGov poll showed Kitzhaber leading Richardson by 49 percent to 42 percent among likely voters statewide.

Although the Democratic incumbent has so far spent about $1.5 million to Richardson's $1 million, the conservative GOP hopeful explained that he has been gaining ground "because voters are seeing what [Kitzhaber] has been doing with our state finances and what I did when I was co-chairman of the [state] House Ways and Means Committee."

Because the House was evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats in 2011, Richardson and a Democratic colleague shared the gavel of the tax-writing panel.

"We had a balanced budget without a tax increase and without substantial increases in debt or fees," he proudly recalled. "Nothing could go through the committee until we all agreed on it. We would not approve the budget without a substantial cushion. This would provide for changes in the forecast of revenue. A forecast is an estimate of expected revenue. It doesn't mean money is in the bank."

Based on this experience, Richardson vows as governor to create a panel of private business leaders, akin to Ronald Reagan's Grace Commission, that "will go through government programs and simply ask the question, 'if this program didn't exist, would we create it today?'"

Present spending in Oregon, insisted Richardson, "is killing business opportunity here. If Phil Knight had to deal with the costs and barriers to business we have today, he would have never started Nike here."

He contrasted this vision to Kitzhaber "wasting $300 million on CoverOregon [the state healthcare exchange], wanting us to go it alone for $190 million on the Columbia River Crossing [a bridge between Washington state and Oregon] after Washington said no.

"And he wants to go ahead with the federal education program called Common Core. I say put a moratorium on it until we can address parents' complaints that teachers no longer have the freedom to teach but must direct their time and effort toward a mandated test."

But any discussion of the race for governor comes back to the "Cylvia Shocker." Richardson let us know in no uncertain terms he plans to keep the issue alive because, in his words, "no one is above the law."

With Oregon voters casting votes by mail from Oct. 17 to Nov. 4 (Oregon has no voting at the polls on Election Day, just mail ballots), the state will have the equivalent of an election day every day for two weeks.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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With last week's revelation that the fiancée of Oregon's Gov. John Kitzhaber was once married to provide an Ethiopian immigrant with U.S. citizenship, Democrat Kitzhaber's bid for an unprecedented fourth term is in jeopardy.
John Kitzhaber, Oregon, fiancee, marriage, immigrant, Dennis Richardson, midterms
Monday, 13 October 2014 06:26 AM
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