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Top Democrats call on Kitzhaber to resign governorship

By JONATHAN J. COOPER

Of the Associated Press

SALEM — Oregon's top legislative leaders have called on embattled Gov. John Kitzhaber to resign because of a growing ethics scandal.

Senate President Peter Courtney told reporters Thursday that he and House Speaker Tina Kotek had asked for Kitzhaber to give up the office.

Their action came hours after Secretary of State Kate Brown, also a Democrat, said she had a “strange” and contradictory conversation with Kitzhaber about succeeding him as governor.

The secretary of state is next in line should an Oregon governor resign or die in office.

The scandal has unfolded in the wake of influence-peddling allegations involving the governor's fiancee, a green-energy consultant.

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