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Published on February 23, 2024
Sen. Jeff Golden of Ashland Enters Democratic Race for Oregon State TreasurerSource: Facebook/Senator Jeff Golden

The race for the Democratic nomination for Oregon state treasurer just got more crowded as Sen. Jeff Golden of Ashland threw his hat into the ring. Golden confirmed his candidacy in a text message to the Capital Chronicle, joining the fray with Sen. Elizabeth Steiner of Portland and Jeff Gudman, a former Lake Oswego city councilman.

Golden holds his cards close to the vest, opting to refrain from elaborating his campaign strategy until after the legislative session concludes on March 10, according to OregonLive. Although he has not yet made it official with the Secretary of State's Office, his entrance signals a potential shift in priorities for the role that manages the hefty $94 billion Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, among other fiscal responsibilities.

The current list of contenders includes Golden and Steiner, both Democrats, alongside Gudman, who has a history of running as a Republican for the treasurer seat. The mix is further diversified with the candidacy of Seth Woolley, a software engineer vying for the Pacific Green Party nomination, as per information obtained by Ashland.news.

With Golden joining the field, the primary is shaping up to be an ideal battleground, a sentiment echoed by Steiner who said in an email to the Oregon Capital Chronicle, "One of the values of democracy is bringing a wide range of ideas to the table. If Senator Golden does jump into this race, I look forward to seeing him on the campaign trail and discussing those ideas."

Golden, with a background that spans from Jackson County commissioner to broadcast journalist, and current chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Wildfire, looks to steer the treasurer's office in a new direction against Steiner, a seasoned state budget authority and a physician. These divergent paths, especially on issues like state wildfire funding, could define the terms of the debate as Oregon chooses its next custodian of the public purse.