PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon House of Representatives for the first time in history expelled one of its members, Rep. Mike Nearman, for letting armed protesters into the State Capitol during a special session in December 2020.
The Polk County Board of Commissioners has 30 days to appoint someone to fill the vacant seat in District 23. Chairman Craig Pope will help lead this process — and told KOIN 6 News Nearman could get his job back.
“I think it’s important to note that the expelled representative has the opportunity to have his name put back in the mix for consideration,” Pope said, “and I have been told that there is a likelihood that that may happen.”
He added the Oregon Republican Party State Committee will put forward 3-5 names for consideration as finalists for the vacant seat. Those names will then be voted on by commissioners from Marion, Yamhill, Benton and Polk counties.
Whoever they choose will fill the seat for the remainder of the term. But right now, Pope said he has no idea who’s being considered.
Under Oregon state law, Nearman is allowed to run for election in 2022.
Why Nearman was expelled
By a vote of 59-1 (with Nearman being the lone “no” vote), the Oregon House expelled him for his actions before and on December 21, 2020.
A video showed Nearman giving protesters tips on how to reach him inside the Capitol, what door to gather at and how he would provide them the opening needed to get inside the Capitol.
He is one of 11 people facing criminal charges related to the breach of the Capitol. He’s facing trespassing and official misconduct.
At his expulsion hearing on Thursday, Nearman was defiant and unapologetic. “Expelling me,” he said, “won’t make this place (the state Capitol) safer.”