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The Rise and Fall of Christine Goodwin

Credit: NBC 5 News

When Christine Goodwin was appointed to complete the term of the late state Rep. Gary Leif, who died in July of 2021, she had no intention of running for a full term.

The News-Review reported, “[Goodwin] said she doesn’t want to run for the office in 2022 because moving to Salem is not something she and her husband want to do at this point in life.”

“It’s a special role to jump in and sprint, and that’s what I intend to do,” the paper reported Goodwin as saying.

In 2022, Oregon’s political districts were changed, and Goodwin chose to run after all, in House District 4 for a seat previously filled by Rep. Dwayne Stark, R-Grants Pass.

Unfortunately, her Myrtle Creek family home of over 30 years was located in House District 2. Goodwin, therefore, needed to move into House District 4 by Dec. 31, 2021.

In a district spanning parts of Jackson and Douglas counties and all of Josephine County, Goodwin chose to move into a “studio” rental located on the Falk Estates Vineyard in Canyonville just 9 miles from her home in Myrtle Creek.

Goodwin was elected to House District 4 in November 2022. She faced no opponent in the Republican primary. No Democrat ran against her in the general election. At that time there was no controversy over her residency.

Local political chatter began circulating over her residency in 2023 following her decision to run for Senate District 2 in 2024.

In a Dec. 28, 2023, text, Goodwin told Josephine County Republican Party Chair Holli Morton about this matter.

Morton urged her to get this uncertainty over her residency resolved. This portion of Goodwin’s response summarizes her view of her residency:

“In ‘22 when Rep Stark retired there was no one stepping up to run for the redistricted HD4 seat. The worst thing for our party would have been to NOT have a strong Republican run for that seat. So I found a legal pathway to qualify via Secretary of State rules to be on the ballot.

“Being on the ballot and elected is all the proof you need of my legal residence in Canyonville. The matter is settled.

“I don’t think it wise to insist Republicans impose more rules on ourselves that don’t apply to Democrats.”

This quiet controversy heated up publicly on March 15, 2024, when John West and other citizens filed a lawsuit questioning Goodwin’s residency and seeking an injunction to keep her off the May 21 Republican primary ballot.

The Eagle first reported this lawsuit when it was filed:

Goodwin released a statement in response to the lawsuit:

This baseless attack from Noah Robinson’s minions, led by Jon [sic] West, does not phase me. I trust the voters of Southern Oregon to elect me to the Senate like they have to the House- with overwhelming support.

Representative Christine Goodwin

The lawsuit was dropped when the 60-day deadline passed to remove candidate names from the May ballot.

Should Goodwin lose the Republican primary, then the issue of her residency goes away. Otherwise, John West has 40 days to file the lawsuit again. The prevailing side can seek legal fees from the loser.

Christine Goodwin’s situation is complicated because she owns a large home in Myrtle Creek in House District 2, while claiming to live with her husband in a rented studio in House District 4.

Until now it has not been resolved, because the evidence presented to me and others just isn’t enough. Goodwin turned down an interview request of the Daily Courier to send a reporter and photographer to her Canyonville residence.

This has led to Rep. Goodwin’s honesty being questioned by former supporters.

Her campaign advertising adds to this uncertainty. Here are two examples.

In a radio ad, she claims to be endorsed by OregonGunRights.com.

This is not a pro-Second Amendment organization like Oregon Firearms Federation. This is the website of an attorney who specializes in helping individuals with gun-related legal matters. There is no organization registered under “Oregon Gun Rights” at the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.

Goodwin’s campaign website states, “Christine Goodwin is ranked with the No. 1 most conservative voting record of all elected Republicans in Oregon, including members of the state House, state Senate and U.S. Congress by the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). These are results with integrity.”

This is a really big claim in a state known for lawmakers fleeing the state to stop cap-and-trade legislation and “transgender” surgery on minors, and a 50-year fight to stop abortion on demand.

The CPAC website shows Goodwin in the No. 4 position.

http://ratings.conservative.org/people?state=OR

No. 2 on the list is Wes Cooley, a former U.S. congressman and Oregon state senator who died in 2015.

In its 2015 obituary, the Bend Bulletin reported, “Questions about [Wes] Cooley’s truthfulness marked his first campaign in Central Oregon. His home in Alfalfa was a few miles outside the boundary of the Senate district, but Cooley set up a trailer on a friend’s property inside the district and claimed it as his home. Despite the questions about his residency, Cooley defeated Hood River Democrat Wayne Fawbush and won the seat.”

The Oregonian’s obituary for Cooley added a few more details: “A redistricting plan put Cooley’s Deschutes County farm and ranch in a different district. He faced a legal challenge. He also moved a camping trailer onto an air strip just inside the 28th district and promised to spend four nights a week there.”

Sound familiar?

Richard Emmons is the Publisher and Editor of the Oregon Eagle.

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