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AP: Embattled Oregon governor planned to resign but changed his mind

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Cylvia Hayes and former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. (Photo: KPTV/Portland)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Sources with direct knowledge of the situation say embattled Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber had reached a decision to resign because of an ethics scandal surrounding him and his fiancée, but he changed his mind for reasons that are unclear.

The sources spoke Wednesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about private discussions.

They say Kitzhaber informed some of his aides on Sunday that he was going to resign and on Tuesday he asked Oregon’s secretary of state, Kate Brown, to rush back from a conference in Washington, D.C. Brown would become governor if Kitzhaber resigns. Both are Democrats.

Brown’s abrupt and unexplained return to Oregon sparked speculation that Kitzhaber planned to quit, but he issued a statement saying he would stay put.

Kitzhaber released a statement Wednesday saying he was elected to do his job and intends to continue.

“Let me be as clear as I was last week, that I have no intention of resigning as Governor of the state of Oregon. I was elected to do a job for the people of this great state and I intend to continue to do so.”

Newspaper editorial boards have called for Kitzhaber’s resignation over allegations that his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, used his office to land contracts for her consulting business.

The state attorney general has launched a criminal investigation.

The governor has denied wrongdoing on both of their parts.

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