Da Caller thinks Oregon Could Get Its First Republican Governor In Decades
Democrats have firmly held Oregon’s gubernatorial office since 1987, but with the party deeply unpopular and a duo of competitive challengers, that could change in November.
The race is neck and neck according to the most recent polling coming out of Nelson Research in late May. Former House Minority Leader Republican Christine Drazan stands at just under 30% and former Democrat House Speaker Tina Kotek at 28%, while Independent Betsy Johnson lags behind at roughly 19%. Democratic incumbent Kate Brown cannot run for reelection.
After eight years in office, Brown is the least-popular governor in the nation, according to a Jan. 1-March 31 Morning Consult poll. During her tenure, Oregon has seen increasing rates of homelessness and crime, which along with poor government leadership constitute the top three issues for Oregon’s voters, per Oregon Public Broadcasting polling.
In 2021 Portland alone witnessed 92 homicides, an all-time record and stark increase from 36 in 2019. But Brown nonetheless touts a lenient approach to crime; in April she granted clemency to a murderer serving life without parole for the cold-blooded killing of a teenager, and during riots in Portland in July 2020 she criticized former President Donald Trump for sending in federal agents to protect a federal courthouse as local and state police stood by.
Brown’s approval has been particularly lackluster in more rural counties east of the Cascade Mountains, nine of which have actually voted to leave Oregon to form “Greater Idaho.”
In Brown’s stead running on the Democratic ticket is Kotek, a Portland-based Democrat seen by many as more of the same, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. In announcing her candidacy in January, Kotek released a list of accomplishments from her time in the state legislature that included expanding health care coverage to undocumented Oregonians, mandating the use of lower-polluting auto fuels, increasing the minimum wage, restricting how local governments can enforce homeless camping bans, expanding gun control and codifying legal abortion.
I'm not counting this particular chicken yet, but it's interesting that it's so close. Maybe they've had enough.