Update 3:09 p.m.: Kitzhaber has now announced that he will indeed resign.
Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown (D) will become the first openly bisexual governor in U.S. history when Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) resigns Wednesday.
An open LGBT governor has never been elected, although New Jersey did have an openly gay governor briefly in 2004, after Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) came out as gay and admitted an affair with a man he had appointed to a key job. He resigned three months later.
Brown is married to husband Dan Little; she has publicly discussed her bisexuality in past campaigns. She is already arguably the highest-ranking bisexual elected official in America; Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) became the first bisexual member of Congress in 2013. There are about 525 openly LGBT public officials in office at all levels of government, according to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. Most of them are Democrats, said interim executive director Denis Dison, and only about 20 are Republicans.
This will also be the second time in Brown's career she has taken office because of a resignation. Her start in politics came in 1991 when she was appointed to the state House following the resignation of Rep. Judy Bauman (D), who left office because she was appointed to an executive position. Brown served in the House until 1997, when she won a seat in the Oregon state Senate. In 2008, she was the first woman to serve as Oregon Senate majority leader, and later that year she was elected secretary of state.
Brown said in a statement she was "ready" to take office should Kitzhaber resign -- as it appeared he would Wednesday, before he reportedly changed his mind. He announced his resignation Friday afternoon.
But what would Brown's Oregon look like? Her six years of secretary of state were described by the Oregonian as "nondescript" -- most secretaries of state toil in such relative obscurity -- but she touts her push for increased transparency as a highlight of her time as a legislator. Brown cites the creation of the state's online database of campaign contributions and expenditures and her efforts to reduce fraud in the initiative processes among her accomplishments.
Transparency could be highly valued in a post-Kitzhaber Oregon state government. Thursday, the Department of Administrative Services confirmed the governor's office had requested Kitzhaber's personal e-mails be deleted from archives, which it will not do.
But Brown isn't without her own controversy. Even as Kitzhaber's personal troubles were mounting late last month, she was facing questions about having written to the FCC endorsing Comcast's merger with Time Warner Cable after having received campaign contributions from Comcast -- a letter that was reportedly written in large part by a Comcast lobbyist. Comcast has given Brown $9,500 since 2009, according the National Institute of Money in State Politics.
Expect that to come up when she succeeds Kitzhaber.
Originally posted at 12:11 p.m.