Nov 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Democrat Tina Kotek secures Oregon governorship

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tina Kotek speaks with members of the media before casting her ballot on Nov. 2, 2022, in Portland, Oregon. Photo: Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Getty Images

Oregon house speaker Tina Kotek, a Democrat, won the state’s governorship against former state house minority leader Christine Drazan in the midterm election, per AP.

Why it matters: The tight race caused frustration and signaled that Democrats don’t have as strong of a hold on the Western state as they once did in one of the most progressive state governments in the country.

By the numbers: Kotek won with about 47% of the vote, per AP.

Context: Earlier this month, both President Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) campaigned for Kotek in Oregon as the race got tighter.

  • Meanwhile, Drazen had the support of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who also campaigned for Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, a 2020 election denier.
  • Drazan, funded by billionaire Nike co-founder Phil Knight, was propelled forward in the closely-watched race, despite her anti-abortion platform in a largely progressive state.
  • Knight previously funded Democrat-turned-Independent candidate Betsy Johnson before her polling numbers fell below Drazan’s.

The big picture: Several Republicans were competitive in the governors' races in traditionally Democratic states, signaling that moderation still sells.

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