Big Surprise Coming for Oregon Democrats

Oregon is a very blue state. It has plenty of Republicans and conservatives in it, of course, but electorally, this state votes Democrat and has done so for a long time.

In fact, the last time that Oregon had a governor without a D next to their name was four decades ago, but that could be about to change.

Meet Christine Drazan

With the midterms a bit over a week away, polls are firming up; some are shocking analysts. One such case is in Oregon, where GOP governor candidate Christine Drazan is poised to bring new leadership to the state.

Drazan, a leader in Oregon’s Republican Party, is tied around 39% with her Democratic challenger Tina Kotek. The two are both state political insiders with their own share of support.

Betsy Johnson, another Democrat bigwig, is going for governor as an Independent, but has only 14% support in most polls. It’s still stunning to see a Republican polling this well in Oregon.

Current Governor Kate Brown is term-limited and can’t run again. Her Democrat policies helped run the state into the ground. They led to such a bad crisis with homelessness, crime, and drugs in places like Portland that many people are moving away.

Many conservative Oregonians in the east of the state even want to separate and have been pitching referenda to secede and join Idaho.

Now, it looks like they may not have to, with Drazan standing a solid chance of getting into the governor’s mansion.

Why Oregon is Turning Red

Oregon isn’t turning red by mistake; it’s happening because of many issues which have been made worse under Democratic leadership. There’s no easy way around that for Brown and her successors to explain away. It’s on them and voters know it.

Legalizing all drugs in late 2020 was part of it. Now, cities like Portland are crammed full of needle-using junkies and mentally ill homeless people.

Far from making things safer, legalizing drugs did exactly what social conservatives said it would, making it easier and more tempting for addicts to use.

Another thing Kotek has against her is not only her Democrat credentials; it’s her competitor Betsy Johnson.

Johnson is going on a platform of lowering taxes but being culturally progressive, which is attracting some people away from Kotek toward her and eroding Kotek’s rainbow coalition.

The last Republican governor elected in Oregon was Victor Atiyeh in 1982, who took office under Reagan during a groundswell of national support for the GOP.

The state is solidly blue. Biden won by a large margin in the presidential race, but that’s not necessarily a permanent guarantee. Plenty looks set to change.

The Final Verdict

Drazan deserves to win this race and have a chance to bring new leadership to Oregon. Let’s keep our eyes on this race.

This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.