Kotek takes victory to keep Democrats in control of Oregon governorship

But Republicans saw an opening as the race narrowed and Johnson threatened to siphon Kotek’s votes. Drazan hammered Kotek on issues such as crime, homelessness and education and tried to tie Kotek to Brown, who is the nation’s least popular governor, according to polls earlier this year. A record number of killings in Portland has fueled public safety concerns.

Drazan also touted his conservative bona fides. She has an “A” grade from the National Rifle Association, opposes abortion in a state that has pledged to allow access to the procedure and said she would create a task force on the election integrity, according to its website.

The chance that the governorship in deep blue Oregon could have turned red has drawn the attention of Republicans — and the alarm of Democrats.

President Joe Biden took an October trip to Oregon, a state he lifted by 16 percentage points in 2020, to campaign with Kotek, signaling Democrats’ fear the state could turn red when of an electoral cycle generally favorable to the Republicans. Sen. Jeff Merkel (D-Ore.) Was also present for Biden’s visit.

Meanwhile, Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a rising Republican Party figure, campaigned with Drazan in Oregon in October — sensing some of the same conditions in Oregon that led to his 2021 victory in Virginia.

And Oregon’s richest man, billionaire Nike co-founder Phil Knight, had filled Johnson and Drazan’s campaign coffers with donations of more than $1 million to oppose in Kotek.

Kotek was ultimately able to cobble together a winning coalition in the heavily Democratic state and deny the Republicans what would have been a surprising victory.


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