Expert: Johnson has ‘real shot’ to win Oregon governor’s race

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 6:11 PM PDT
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SALEM, Ore. (KPTV) - In a critical moment today in the race for Oregon’s next governor, unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson delivers thousands of signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office Tuesday afternoon.

Her campaign says they delivered over 48,200 signatures to be verified, and about half of those need to be verified for her Johnson to appear on the November ballot.

For the first time ever, Oregon voters will have a choice of three women on the ballot in November: Johnson as the unaffiliated candidate, Democrat Tina Kotek, and Republican Christine Drazan.

John Horvick, with local political think tank DHM Research, says the momentum Johnson is bringing into the race based on recent polls could make history in November.

“Oregon has only once had an independent candidate become governor and it was in the 1930s,” said Horvick. “So yeah, Johnson has a real shot to win.”

Horvick says recent polling he has overseen suggests typical issues for voters like education have taken a backseat to issues like cost of living, homelessness, and crime in Oregon. He says will be a major challenge no matter who becomes the state’s next governor.

“Education just is not a top issue for voters right now and is really unusual historically, and so whoever wins is going to tackle a different set of issues and will have a different side of priorities than we’ve seen governors have Oregon for the last several decades,” said Horvick.

Johnson knows she has a big task ahead of going against the grain of establishment politics, but for now, she’s celebrating this win.

“This is a historic day, and today is all about the signatures,” Johnson said to reporters at the signature dropoff. “It’s all about putting Oregonians back in charge of their politics and their government.”

Both Tina Kotek and Christine Drazan released statements in reaction to Johnson’s signature delivery.

Drazan dismissed the news and said Johnson is a “second democrat” on the ballot because of Johnson’s previous political history.

Kotek’s campaign called her “deeply out of touch” with Oregonians and slammed her voting record as a state lawmaker.