Democrats have controlled the Oregon governor’s mansion for nearly 40 years, but 2022 looks set to be a good year for Oregon Republicans.
Christine Drazan is the Republican nominee for governor and is making national headlines with her statewide campaign. Raised in rural Southeast Oregon, Drazan was elected to represent the 39th district in 2019 and was elected minority leader by her fellow Republicans just nine months later.
Drazan faces former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and independent Democrat Betty Johnson in the run for governor. A strong campaign by Drazan and a split among Democrats might be enough to turn Beaver State red.
Drazan has gained momentum with promises to solve crime and homelessness and support working families through increased economic growth. She addresses this with a “roadmap for Oregon’s future,” which outlines anti-destruction policies under Gov. Kate Brown. Fully funding the state police force, expanding mental health services, and repealing the legalization of heroin and methamphetamine are steps in the right direction to make Oregon a viable state again.
Recently, Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland endorsed Drazan as a representative of the Republican Association of Governors. The RGA spent nearly $1.6 million on their campaign. Hogan compared his disgruntled win in Maryland in 2014 to Drazan’s campaign. “You can change a condition when people get to the point where they’re fed up, and I think that’s where your condition is now,” he said.
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In the campaign with Hogan, Drazan expressed her dissatisfaction with Oregon business owners dealing with rising crime and homeless camps. A record number of homicides (91) in Portland, along with a tripling of shootings, has made crime the top issue for voters in the Portland area. “Under my government, the times when the police were treated like criminals and criminals like victims will end. And if Portland politicians refuse to fight violent crime and bring peace to the streets, as governor, I will do it,” Drazan said.
Drazan’s focus on the problems pays off for her. Polls show it is level with Kotek and even leading within the margin of error. In a recent interview with Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino in America’s Newsroom, she discussed the momentum that tilted the race her way. “We’re up today and I couldn’t be more excited about where we are in this race. We’re leading the polls, and Oregonians are ready for change,” Drazan said.
Oregon Democrats have an advantage over Republicans with over 200,000 registered voters. That could change this November, however, with unhappiness directed at the country’s most unpopular governor, Kate Brown. “[Oregonians] do not recognize their own state. … It used to be the safest and certainly the most beautiful state in the nation, and that’s not the experience we’re having now,” Drazan said.
Drazan’s opponents have attempted to slow her momentum by attacking her pro-life views. Republican candidates across the country are fighting after Roe v. Wade continues to communicate a pro-life message.
Do you support Drazan as Governor of Oregon?
Yes: 100% (66 votes)
No: 0% (0 votes)
In the first gubernatorial debate, Drazan responded to claims that she could unilaterally enact sweeping abortion regulations.
“Oregon has some of the most extreme laws in the books that pertain to this subject, and I don’t think I’m at all at odds with the people of Oregon in that regard. Most Oregonians don’t believe it’s any woman’s right to take a life in the third trimester — when the baby would otherwise be considered premature. That’s just not correct for Oregonians’ views on the subject. And so I’m a pro-life woman [but] This issue is contained in Oregon law and I have made it very clear that I will comply with the law.”
National Review’s Nate Hochman hailed Drazan’s performance as the way Republicans in blue states should run to win abortion voters.
This is a powerful example of running as a pro-life Republican in a deep blue state.@ChristineDrazan— who could be Oregon’s first Republican governor since 1987 — reiterates her outlook on life while neutralizing the attack that she might in fact pass sweeping abortion restrictions: pic.twitter.com/7jhVhTgGrR
— Nate Hochman (@njhochman) September 3, 2022
With less than two months to go, Cook Political Report pushed the race for Oregon governor back to a toss-up. “No race for governor has been more surprising than Oregon,” the report said. The Republican Party continues to spend as it sees a surprise.
“The momentum is on our side!” exclaimed Drazan in a tweet.
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