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.
NEW: DHM Research
(R) Drazan 32% (+1)
(D) Kotek 31%
(I) Johnson 18%
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) September 28, 2022
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.”
“Christine Drazan is on the doorstep of history,” Drazan campaign spokesman John Burke told The Oregonian. “No candidate in recent memory has come as close as she is to ending the 35 years of one-party control of the governor’s office. Our state is ready for a new direction and voters increasingly recognize Christine as the only candidate who will deliver. We are excited about the momentum we are seeing and will continue to run hard through Election Day.”
Drazan has highlighted increased rates of violent crime and drug use in her campaign. Oregon decriminalized hard drugs in 2020, leading to a 20% overall increase in use. Overdose deaths more than doubled in the state between 2019 and 2021, according to the Oregon Health Authority. (RELATED: Oregon Could Get Its First Republican Governor In Decades)
A series of polls have found Drazan and Kotek running neck-and-neck, with Johnson drawing significant support. Kotek leads Drazan by 1.4 points in FiveThirtyEight’s poll average, with Johnson pulling nearly 22%. Cook Political Report considers the race a toss-up.