Oregon GOP picks new leader: Art Robinson

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PORTLAND — Oregon's Republican Party has selected former congressional candidate Art Robinson as chairman Saturday in a 55-52 vote over party Vice Chairman Bill Currier, The Oregonian reported.

Robinson, a chemist and skeptic of human-caused global warming, ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., in 2010 and 2012. He ran for party chairman in February but was eliminated in the first round of balloting.

Robinson replaces Suzanne Gallagher, who resigned Friday just ahead of a recall vote brought by party officials accusing her of mismanagement. Gallagher had led the state GOP since February, and in stepping down, she warned that if the party is perceived as "divided and dysfunctional," funding from national Republican groups could suffer.

Republicans face challenges in organizing voters and electing candidates statewide in Oregon, where there are 181,000 more registered Democrats.

The 2010 election was a boon for the party, leading to a tie in the Oregon House of Representatives and a narrow loss for Republican Chris Dudley in the governor's race. But Democrats, buoyed by President Barack Obama's re-election, retook the state House in 2012.

Lisa Michaels, a Gallagher supporter, said she is excited that Robinson got the job. "He's hard-working and he does the right thing for the people," she said.