CNN expects Democrat Tina Kotek to win Oregon’s open gubernatorial race, joining Democrat Maura Healy, who won the Massachusetts governorship on Tuesday, as one of the nation’s first lesbian governors.
Kotek’s Republican opponent, Christine Drazan, conceded the race on Friday. The race to replace the term-limited Democratic governor. Kate Brown of the Deep Blue state has been surprisingly difficult for Kotek after the former state senator ran independently. Betsy Johnson competes in a competitive three-way race.
“I want to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who supported me and trusted our campaign. I also want to assure Oregonians that every vote will be counted and their voices have been heard in this election. Unfortunately, given what we know about pending ballots, the math of a comeback simply doesn’t count,” Drazan said in a statement.
No one thinks Oregon — a state President Joe Biden won by 16 percentage points in 2020 — is a tough terrain for Democrats, especially since Republicans have been in control since 1982. Did not win the governorship. But Johnson, a former Democrat, has proven to be an unusual man. In an all-female showdown featuring donations from business leaders including Nike founder Phil Knight, she kept pace with her two rivals in fundraising.
Brown’s unpopularity in the state, coupled with Johnson’s presence in the race, has pitted former state House Minority Leader Drazin against former Democratic House Speaker Kotek. Republicans make up only about a quarter of the electorate, while Democrats make up about 34 percent and unaffiliated Oregonians nearly 35 percent, according to the latest figures from the Oregon secretary of state.
But Oregonians are uneasy about homelessness and an increase in violent crime in Portland. Following the 2020 Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd, the city’s downtown also remains untouched from pandemic-era business closures and more than 100 days of protests against police brutality, some of which were violent. ) to recover from the effects.
Drazan has sought to capitalize on unease over the issues, arguing that the state’s troubles stem from about a decade of one-party control that has led to a lack of accountability.
But Kotek argued that Derazan was too extreme for Oregon — emphasizing her opposition to abortion rights, for example. Kotek has shown no ability to work with both parties, also saying that Drazan has shown obstructive tendencies in 2020 when he led a legislature strike to protest the climate bill. Kotek argued that Drazan’s move effectively killed legislation that would have pushed the state to improve homelessness. (Drazan’s campaign said the charges were an excuse.)
Biden campaigned for Kotek during his campaign in Western states, urging voters to “stay ahead” as a progressive state by electing the former House speaker.