Longtime Oregon Republican ditches the GOP as he runs for secretary of state

Rich Vial is a former Republican state lawmaker in Oregon who also served as deputy secretary of state under Republican Secretary of State Bev Clarno. But in this year's race for Oregon secretary of state, the longtime Republican has decided to run as a non-partisan candidate.

"Once presumed a leading contender for the Republican nomination, Vial has decided to eschew the two-party system," Oregon Public Broadcasting reported on Thursday.

“I think voters generally will come to a place where they say that the two-party system is broken and we need to do something different,” he explained to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Vial resigned as deputy secretary of state in January of this year, saying that he will “continue to search for those places that my service might be most effective."

Oregon Public Broadcasting noted that the Secretary of State’s Office has been "marred by extensive accusations of partisanship." The office rejected three proposed ballot measures dealing with environmental protections last year. The Oregon Court of Appeals later overturned the controversial decision in February.

Vial said he decided to ditch his party because the secretary of state should be nonpartisan.

“It’s very important for the Elections Division to be run completely free of any partisan influence,” he told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “If you’ve got a complaint being filed against a Republican and you’ve got a Democrat as secretary of state, frankly that often does affect how that complaint’s going to be handled, and vice versa. That’s the way politics works.”