https://www.theepochtimes.com/in-nail-biter-oregon-gubernatorial-race-republican-could-win-for-first-time-in-40-years_4845276.html

Republican candidate Christine Drazan and Democrat nominee Tina Kotek are in a dead heat in the race for Oregon’s next governor, according to two recent polls.

A new Nelson Research survey of 577 likely voters showed Drazan receiving 43.5 percent of the vote, while Kotek garnered 41.1 percent. Unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson tallied 5.4 percent of the vote, with 9.4 percent of voters undecided.

An Emerson College-The Hill survey released in late October showed a similar lead for Drazan, which the Republican nominee at 36 percent support to Kotek’s 34 percent. In that poll, 19 percent of likely voters supported Johnson.

The Real Clear Politics average of various polls has Drazan leading Kotek by 1.7 percent.

If Drazan wins, she would be the first Republican Governor elected in Oregon in more than 40 years. And with an estimated $60 million in total reported donations, the candidates have blown through the previous record of $37.8 million for the 2018 Governor’s race.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have campaigned for Drazan. A win could propel her to national prominence and she could be seen as a potential future vice-presidential candidate for the GOP.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) (R) joins Democratic gubernatorial Candidate Tina Kotek on stage during a rally on October 22, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. (Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have campaigned with Kotek. Former President Obama recorded a social media spot in support of her.

The candidates continue to battle for every vote.

Kotek’s “Get Out The Vote Tour” is highlighting abortion rights and “extremism” in politics.

“I helped pass the strongest legislation in the country to protect reproductive health care for Oregonians,” Kotek told supporters during a rally at the University of Oregon in Eugene last week. “And that’s all kinds of healthcare. And it also includes abortion. That would all be at risk if there was a Republican governor.”

In 2017, while Kotek was Oregon Speaker of the House, Oregon codified Roe v. Wade into state law. Oregon now has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the nation.

Drazan describes herself as “personally pro life,” but says that she would follow the constitution and would not try to change Oregon’s abortion access laws as governor.

Her closing argument is a call for change, as she ties Kotek to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat who has among the lowest approval ratings of any governor in the nation.

“Tina Kotek voted with Brown 99% of the time,” Drazan’s new ad states.

“They brought us a decade of bad decisions and failed policies. A homeless crisis and higher taxes. They released dangerous criminals back on our streets.

“A vote for Kotek is a vote for four more years of Kate Brown. We can’t afford four more years,” Drazan said.

Drazan previously served as minority leader in the Oregon House, where she opposed Kotek and Brown over a cap-and-trade plan, gun control, and redistricting.

Money for both races continued to pour in late last week. With more than $60 million in combined contributions, the race is the most expensive ever waged in the state.

Viewing Oregon as a prime pickup opportunity, the Republican Governors Association gave Drazan a $1.5 million infusion last week, bringing its total contribution to $7.5 million.

Oregon billionaire and Nike Inc. co-founder Phil Knight contributed $1 million to the Drazan campaign in October after backing Johnson with $3.75 million in the early days of the race.

“Knight’s money to Johnson and then Drazan is more a no vote than anything else,” said Republican strategist Rebecca Tweed in a public forum. “It’s $4.75 million against Tina Kotek.”

Epoch Times Photo
Phil Knight, businessman and co-founder of Nike, attends the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on July 21, 2022. (Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images)

Drazan has raised in excess of $22 million.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Governors Association made a late contribution of $250,000 to the Kotek campaign, bringing their total contribution to $6.3 million.

Her campaign also received recent contributions of $300,000 from the Democratic Party of Oregon, $10,000 from the LGBTQ Victory Fund, and an in-kind donation of $88,000 from Our Oregon, a progressive group that publishes voters guides.

Kotek has raised more than $27 million.

Johnson has raised more than $17 million in the race. Other than Knight’s early contributions, most of her support comes from donations of under $1,000.

As each candidate makes their final pitch, early voting has been underway since Oct. 19 in the exclusively vote-by-mail state.

Reliably blue Oregon has more than 3 million registered voters, with 1.02 million registered Democrats compared with 736,742 registered Republicans.

As of Nov 3, 29 percent of Oregon voters had returned their ballots, with 39.7 percent of eligible Republicans and 35.1 percent of eligible Democrats among them.

The Nelson Research survey indicates that of the 42.6 percent of respondents who say they already voted, Drazan leads Kotek by less than one point, 47.6 percent to 46.7 percent.

Though ballot processing is already underway, results will not be made public until 8 p.m. on November 8.

Scottie Barnes

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As founding editor of GeoIntelligence and Geospatial Solutions and editor in chief of GPS World, Scottie Barnes has examined the implications of public policy and emerging technologies on areas ranging from homeland security and national defense to forestry and urban planning. She now provides breaking news and investigative reporting from the Pacific Northwest for readers of The Epoch Times.

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