State Rep. Mike Nearman expelled from Legislature over involvement in Capitol riot

Capitol surveillance footage shows state Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, allowing demonstrators into the building. (Screen grab.)

A Salem area state representative just earned a distinction that no lawmaker would likely want: being the first to be expelled by the Oregon House. 

State Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, was expelled by the Oregon House on a 59-1 vote Thursday evening for his role in allowing confrontational demonstrators into the Capitol building in December. 

During the confrontation, demonstrators attempted to force their way into the Capitol building, which is closed to the public as a pandemic precaution. Demonstrators assaulted police and journalists. Salem police declared the incident a riot. 

In January, surveillance footage was released showing Nearman holding the door open for demonstrators. Nearman has faced calls for his expulsion, been stripped of committee assignments and faces misdemeanor charges. A report from an outside investigator described the terror staff and legislators felt as armed and angry demonstrators attempted to breach the Capitol. 

Calls for Nearman’s expulsion grew louder and included the entire House Republican caucus, after a video of Nearman surfaced last week coordinating with protesters to gain access to the building. 

Nearman has remained defiant and was the only “no” vote against his expulsion. Prior to his expulsion, Nearman defended his actions during a special committee created to consider his expulsion. He told the committee that the Oregon Legislature is required to be open to the public under the state constitution (legislative leaders have pointed out that proceedings are online). Saying the process had been unfair and “hijacked,” he said all he did was allow members of the public into a building they shouldn’t have been kept out of. 

“If the speaker and others were worried about their safety there is a simple solution: do not violate the constitutional rights of Oregonians and open the building,” he said. 

-Jake Thomas

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the date of the House vote. Salem Reporter regrets the error.