Blue-State Candidate Could Become First Republican Governor Since 1987

Republican Christine Drazan is effectively tied with Democrat Tina Kotek in the Oregon gubernatorial race, giving her a chance to become the blue state’s first GOP governor since 1987.

A poll of 600 likely Oregon voters found Drazan with 32% support, Kotek with 31%, and independent former Democrat Betsy Johnson with 18%. Conducted by DHM Research for The Oregonian from Sept. 23-24, the survey has a margin of error of four percent, making the two front-runners effectively tied. No Republican has served as chief executive of Oregon since 1987, when Victor Atiyeh left office.

Drazan, Kotek, and Johnson are running to replace term-limited Democrat Kate Brown, one of the least-popular governors in the U.S. Drazan led Republicans in the state House from 2019-21, while Kotek served as speaker of the state House from 2013-22. Johnson served in the state Senate from 2005-2021. She left the Democratic Party shortly after stepping down from her seat to run for governor, saying that “having to choose between another left-wing liberal promising more of the same or a right-wing Trump apologist—is no choice at all.”