A Republican hasn’t been governor in Oregon since 1982. The unpopularity of the current Democrat governor and the homeless problem could elevate Christine Drazen.
This is HUGE.
Oregon is a deep blue state, but Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s low approval numbers and an Independent candidate could give the governor’s mansion to a Republican.
The Cook Political Report moved the race from “Lean Democrat” to “Toss Up”:
Thanks to the presence of a well-funded independent candidate, private and public polling has shown the GOP nominee, former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan, neck and neck with Democratic former House Speaker Tina Kotek. Former state Sen. Betsy Johnson — a bespectacled former Democrat-turned-independent — threatens to act as a spoiler. There’s a clear trend of both Kotek and Drazan pulling in the low 30s, while Johnson has yet to poll higher than the mid-20s, though she has argued that will rise post-Labor Day
While polling can often overstate the percentage a third-party candidate receives, Johnson is no ordinarily weak presence on the ballot. She is not just at fundraising parity with Drazan and Kotek, but she has raised the most money so far all cycle with almost $11.3 million brought in as of Sept. 15. She’s gotten $1.75 million of that from Nike founder Phil Knight, who’s contributed to GOP races in the state previously. Drazan has brought in $9.1 million, while Kotek is at nearly $8.8 million. Both the Republican Governors Association and the Democratic Governors Association have given significant amounts directly to each of their candidates.
Johnson has also spent the most and earliest on TV ads so far — $6 million either already aired or reserved, according to AdImpact. Drazan has reserved or spent almost $3.4 million, while Kotek has $3.2 million. Both Republicans and Democrats point to Johnson still mired in third place despite her heavy spending as evidence that she has a ceiling that is lower than their floors. We fully expect whoever wins this race may not even top 40 percent, and the victor could end up with a plurality as low as 35 percent.
Brown’s approval numbers in May proved she’s still the “nation’s least popular governor,” with only 41% of Oregonians approving of her job performance.
The same poll revealed:
The 11 most popular governors are all Republicans, according to the poll. The three most popular governors are Republicans leading blue states: Charlie Baker of Massachusetts with a 74% approval rating, Phil Scott of Vermont with a 72% approval rating and Larry Hogan of Maryland with a 71% approval rating.
I wrote still because Brown placed last in November 2021 Morning Consult poll when 43% approved of her.
The regional concern on display in the capitol last month reflected the views of Oregon residents, most of whom — regardless of zip code — want local leaders to make responding to homelessness their number one priority.
More than three-quarters of Multnomah County residents and other urban Oregonians said it was very important or urgent for leaders in their communities to make doing something about homelessness their top priority, a recent survey from the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center found.
“Getting the economy back is an important first step. Getting people with addictions and mental health issues treated is the next step,” one Multnomah County resident stated.
But even in rural and suburban areas, at least 60% of residents surveyed in November identified homelessness as a topic of high priority.
Most Oregonians identified mental illness, substance abuse or a lack of affordable housing as the top reasons why people become homeless.
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