US Midterms: Oregon Could See First GOP Gov. In Decades

According to the polling average on FiveThirtyEight, Oregonians might choose a Republican governor for the first time in 40 years as former Oregon House GOP leader Christine Drazan and former Democratic Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek are in a neck-and-neck race.

US Midterms: Oregon Could See First GOP Gov. In Decades
Image credit: Oregon Public Broadcaster

Facts

  • According to the polling average on FiveThirtyEight, Oregonians might choose a Republican governor for the first time in 40 years as former Oregon House GOP leader Christine Drazan and former Democratic Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek are in a neck-and-neck race. Independent Betsy Johnson is also in the three-way race.
  • As of Thursday morning, both candidates had a 50% chance of winning as aggregate polls showed they were tied at 41.4% in the popular vote. This forecast is based on polls conducted by eight different pollsters.
  • Fox News Power Rankings also have Oregon's gubernatorial race to replace Democratic Gov. Kate Brown listed as a toss-up, with Drazan gaining momentum as a bid from former Democrat Betsy Johnson is likely to split the blue vote.
  • Brown has one of the lowest gubernatorial approval ratings nationwide due to issues including the pandemic and homelessness. A loss in November could breach a traditionally Democratic line of states along the Pacific coast — Biden won Oregon by 16 points two years ago.
  • Last week, the three candidates for Oregon governor met for their fourth and final televised debate ahead of Election Day to discuss major issues — with Drazan and Johnson frequently agreeing on key issues and criticizing Kotak for her policies and work in the legislature.
  • Despite Democratic dominance in Oregon politics, gubernatorial races have historically been tight. Since 2002, Democrats have won by an average of 5 points and haven't gotten above 51%.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, Five Thirty Eight, FOX News, Guardian, KGW, and OPB.

Narratives

  • Democratic narrative, as provided by Vox. This is one of the most important gubernatorial races in this midterm election. If Drazan wins it would be disastrous for climate policy, and democracy itself could be threatened as alt-right militias are supporting her. The deeply unethical GOP "third-candidate strategy" is also a way of undermining the integrity of democracy.
  • Republican narrative, as provided by Washington Examiner. Oregonians seem to have finally realized that its woke liberal governance has drifted the state into chaos. If elected, Drazan will address homelessness and tackle the drug addiction crisis by restoring law and order statewide. She would be the first Republican governor in Oregon since 1982 — which was also the start of the historic Reagan Revolution.