Nov. 8, 2022 Governor                                      

Sen. 3


































+Tina Kotek (D)
Christine Drazan (R)
Betsy Johnson (I)
Donice Noelle Smith (C)
R Leon Noble (L)

Registered voters: 2,985,820.  Ballots returned: 1,997,689.
Plurality: 66,727 votes (3.42 percentage points).

 OR Secretary of State

Gov. Kate Brown (D) was term-limited.  After a closely fought contest, former House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) defeated former House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R), former state Sen. Betsy Johnson (I), veteran, teacher and journalist Donice Noelle Smith (C) and R Leon Noble (L). 

According to the Morning Consult surveys from the first and third quarters of 2022, Gov. Brown was the nation's least popular governor. 
Oregon faced major challenges in the last several years including the 2020 protests in Portland that started following the the killing of George Floyd and continued for months, resulting in destruction of property and incidents of violence that made national headlines; the divide between urban and rural Oregon that led voters in eight counties in the Eastern part of the state to support moving the border to create "Greater Idaho" (>); and destructive wildfires (>).

On Sept. 16, 2022 Cook Political Report moved the Oregon governor race from "lean Democrat"  to "toss up."  Drazan appeared to be within striking distance of becoming the first Republican governor since Victor Atiyeh was elected to two terms in 1978 and 1982.  Johnson's presence as a credible alternative to the major party candidates added an element of uncertainty.   

The top issue was homelessness and housing affordability.  Following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs, abortion rights rose as an issue; Drazan was pro-life.  Meanwhile, Republicans sought to link Kotek to the unpopular Brown.  Other issues included the economy, education and crime.  Gun violence was on the ballot; voters approved Measure 114, the Reduction of Gun Violence Act, which among other provisions would require a permit to buy or transfer a firearm and ban magazines with more than 10 rounds (Yes | No).

Kotek, Drazan and Johnson participated in multiple forums including four televised debates:

July 29 - hosted by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association at their summer convention at Mt. Hood Resort in Welches (1, 2). 

Sept. 27 - at the OSU Cascades campus in Bend on KTVZ-TV News Channel 21 (>). 

Oct. 4 - in Portland at KATU studios (>).

Oct. 6 - in Medford at KOBI-TV studios (>).

Oct. 11 - meeting with The Oregonian editorial board (>).

Oct. 19 - in Portland, hosted by KGW and The Oregonian (>).

National figures weighed in during the closing weeks.  President Joe Biden visited Portland on Oct. 14-15.  On Friday, he appeared at a grassroots volunteer event at SEIU Local 49.  On Saturday, he spoke at a fundraising reception for Kotek at Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute, spoke on the Inflation Reduction Act at East Portland Community Center (>), and made a stop with Kotek for an ice cream at the Baskin-Robbins in Gresham.  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) rallied with Kotek at Wonder Ballroom in Portland on Oct. 24.  Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin campaigned with Drazan in Aurora on Oct. 19.  Meanwhile, at the end of October Johnson did an "All Of Oregon Fly In," making stops in 10 cities and 10 counties in 48 hours."

Other candidates had little impact on the race.  Nathalie Paravicini, who was the gubernatorial nominee of the Oregon Progressive Party and the Pacific Green Party, withdrew on Sept. 2 and endorsed Kotek after the Democrat backed campaign finance limits for state races.  Paravicini is a naturopathic doctor and was the PGP/OPP nominee for Secretary of State in 2020.

The race saw record spending.  Through early October, the three campaigns were roughly equally matched, then Kotek pulled ahead and Johnson fell behind.  Johnson had benefited from an early $1.75 million from Nike co-founder Phil Knight and an additional $2 million on Sept. 1.  However, she lagged behind Kotek and Drazen in polling, and Knight switched to Drazen, contributing $1 million on Oct. 6 and an additional $500,000 on Oct. 25. 

The final spending total easily topped $50 million.  Portland Record reported that as of Nov. 16, the Kotek campaign raised $27.7 million, spent $29.5 million and had minus $1.9 million in cash compared to $22.2 million raised, $22.6 million spent and minus $259,199 cash for the Drazan campaign and $15.2 million raised, $13.3 million spent and, interestingly, $2.4 million in cash on hand for the Johnson campaign.  The Democratic Governors Association put $6.7 million into the race backing Kotek and the Republican Governors Association $7.1 million backing Drazan.
Kotek declared victory at a press conference at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland on Nov. 10 (>).  She and Maura Healey in Massachusetts become the first openly lesbian elected governors.
Primaries [literature]
Fifteen Democrats appeared on the May 17 primary ballot.  Leading the field were Kotek and Treasurer Tobias Read.  Kotek, from Portland, announced her candidacy on Sept.1, 2021.  She started her career as public policy advocate for the Oregon Food Bank and then policy director for Children First for Oregon.  Kotek was first elected to the Oregon House in 2006 and served as Speaker for nine years starting in Jan. 2013.  In Jan. 2022 she resigned from that position and from her House seat to focus on her campaign.  Over the months leading up to the primary she secured a long list of endorsements from groups and officials.  Read, who announced his candidacy on Sept. 27, was elected Treasurer in 2016 and re-elected in 2020.  He previously
served 10 years in the Oregon House.  One big-name figure did not make the ballot: former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof.  Kristof announced his candidacy on Oct. 27, 2021 (>), and raised over $2.5 million, but on Feb. 17, 2022 the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that he did not meet the three-year residency requirement.  He ultimately endorsed Kotek.

Forums and debates included a virtual debate between Kotek and Read hosted by the City Club of Portland and KGW on Apr. 22 (>); and in-person debate with Kotek, Read, Carrillo and Starnes
at KOIN studios on May 4 (>).  Kotek defeated Read by 56.0% to 37.8% with the other candidates finishing in the low single digits.

The Republican primary was a wild and woolly affair with 19 candidates on the ballot.  Drazan, from Canby (Clackamas Co.),
announced her candidacy on Jan. 4, 2022, and resigned from the Oregon House later in the month.  She was elected to the House in 2018 and 2020 served as Minority Leader from Sept. 2019 to Nov. 2021.  Other leading candidates included business turn-around consultant Bob Tiernan, Sandy Mayor and insurance executive Stan Pulliam, political consultant Bridget Barton, oncologist Bud Pierce, who was the GOP nominee for governor in the 2016 special election, and entrepreneur Kerry McQuisten.
Six candidates engaged in an early debate on Oct. 29 in Brandon (>).  KOIN and Pamplin Media Group hosted a debate with Drazan, Pierce, Pulliam and Tiernan on Apr. 28 (>).  The City Club of Portland and
KGW hosted a virtual debate with Barton, Gomez, Pierce and Pulliam on May 3 [Drazan had been scheduled to participate but dropped out on the day of] (>).  Drazan finished atop the field with 22.5% followed by Tiernan (17.5%), Pulliam (10.9%), Barton (10.8%), Pierce (8.7%) and McQuisten (7.6%).

The Constitution Party of Oregon held its nominating convention on May 21 in Springfield.  Citing "rumors of a hostile takeover" the party removed candidate Paul Romero from consideration for the gubernatorial nomination, but the dispute dragged on through August when the Secretary of State made an "official determination on the leadership of the party."  Donice Noelle Smith is the party's standard bearer.

The Independent Candidate
Johnson, from Scappoose (Columbia Co.), announced her candidacy as an independent on Oct. 14, 2021, and resigned from her Senate seat effective Dec. 16.  She had served in the Senate since 2005 and previously served four years in the House; although elected as a Democrat, she had had run afoul of party leadership on a number of occasions and was seen as a moderate.  Johnson's background is in aviation.  A licensed commercial pilot, she founded Transwestern Helicopters, Inc. in 1978, managed the Aeronautics Division of the Oregon Department of Transportation for five years, and served as vice president of legislative affairs for the Oregon Pilots Association prior to being elected to the House in 2000.  She needed to gather 25,000 signatures between June 1 and Aug. 15 to appear on the ballot. 
With her persona as a blunt, straight talking grandmother (>)—Johnson is in her early 70s—and her signature oversize glasses, Johnson projects an authenticity.
Campaign Managers:
Tina Kotek:  Meghan Cavanaugh
(Dec. 2021)  Executive director of the [Oregon] Senate Democratic Leadership Fund, Nov. 2019-Feb. 2021.  Political and advocacy director at The Alaska Center, May 2016-Nov. 2019.  Chief of staff in the Alaska House, Jan. 2015-May 2016.  Regional field director for Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island on Mark Begich for Senate, May-Nov. 2014.  Legislative aide in the Alaska House, Jan. 2013-May 2014.  B.A. in environmental science, political science from Northwestern University, 2012.

Christine Drazan:  Trey Rosser
(Jan. 2022)  Executive director of Evergreen Oregon PAC (Oregon House Republicans).  Political director on Heller for Senate (NV), Mar. 2017-Nov. 2018.  Southern Nevada director on Marco Rubio for President, Oct. 2015-Mar. 2016.  Field rep on Sandoval for Governor (NV), May 2013-Nov. 2014,  M.P.A. (2012) and bachelor's degree (2010) from Morehead State University.

Betsy Johnson:  Emmet Duffy
(Nov. 2021)  Director of operations for Friends of Sinn Fein, USA (NYC), Sept. 2015-Sept. 2021.  Sales/master club fitting at Golfsmith (NYC), June 2013-Sept. 2015.  Project assistant at Miller Nas LLP (Portland, OR), Oct. 2011-Feb. 2013.  Public policy staffer on Mary Nolan for Portland City Council, July 2011-Nov. 2012.  Director of golf operations at Alderbrook Golf Course in Bay City, Apr. 2010-July 2011.  B.A. in history from Regis University, 2007.

See also:
Oregon Secretary of State: 2022 State Voters' Pamphlet.
For candidates for Governor and U.S. Senate to put a 325-word statement in the state voters' pamphlet required submission of 500 signatures by Aug. 16 and payment of a fee of $3,000.  The pamphlet allows candidates to get their message to all Oregon voters—within the limitations of the 325-word format.  For minor party candidates with limited resources, the candidate statement in the voters' pamphlet is almost obligatory. 

State Campaign Finance - 2022 Oregon Candidates: Governor.  Portland Record.

Dirk VanderHart.  "Christine Drazan is bent on restoring GOP influence in Oregon. She now has a chance."  OPB, Oct. 19, 2022.

Gary A. Warner.  "Nike's Knight gives $1 million to GOP candidate in strategy shift."  Oregon Capital Insider, Oct. 6, 2022.

Nate Hochman.  "Christine Drazan Gives a Masterclass on How to Run as Pro-Life Republican in a Deep-Blue State."  National Review, Sept. 3, 2022.

--.  "In Their Own Words - Video Interviews of the Candidates."  Mail Tribune, Apr. 2022.

Dirk VanderHart.  "Tina Kotek has been dominant in Oregon politics for the last decade. That might be a problem."  Oregon Public Broadcasting, Apr. 11, 2022.

Nigel Jaquiss.  "Nonaffiliated Oregon Voters Now Outnumber Democrats and Republicans for the First Time."  Willamette Week, Mar. 1, 2022.