Gov. Kate Brown re-elected

Gov. Kate Brown after winning re-election Tuesday. (KPTV)

PORTLAND, OR (AP) - Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has been re-elected, winning her first full term as leader of the Pacific Northwest state.

Brown bested Republican Knute Buehler, who proved to be a strong challenger in a state where the GOP has a difficult time winning high-profile offices

Buehler conceded the race after early returns were counted in Tuesday’s election. 

The Associated Press also called the race for Brown early into the vote-counting process Tuesday.

Buehler’s concession was met with some boos when he addressed his supporters Tuesday night, but Buehler said “no boos,” and congratulated Brown.

It was a hotly contested race expected to be very close.

Democrats have been in the Oregon governor’s mansion since 1987.

Brown was sworn in as governor in February 2015. She was serving as secretary of state when former Gov. John Kitzhaber announced his resignation.

Brown was then elected in November 2016 to finish the last two years of Kitzhaber’s term. She announced in September 2017 that she intended to run for re-election this year.

State Rep. Buehler won the Oregon GOP primary in May, beating out a crowded field to face Brown, the incumbent, in Tuesday’s election.

Buehler previously ran for secretary of state in 2012.

In the Legislature, Buehler represents the town of Bend, which has more registered Democrats than Republicans, but where he's nevertheless managed to be elected twice to the Oregon House of Representatives. He distanced himself from President Donald Trump during the campaign.

Independent Party candidate Patrick Starnes dropped out of the race last week and endorsed Brown.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation contributed to this report. 

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