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Cook Report shifts Oregon governor’s race toward Republicans

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report shifted the Oregon gubernatorial race toward Republicans on Friday, moving it from “lean Democrat” to “toss up.” 

Three candidates are vying for the seat of Gov. Kate Brown (D), who is term-limited: former state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D), former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R) and former state Sen. Betsy Johnson (I). 

Cook Political Report attributed its ratings change to the fact that Johnson could act as a disruptor in the race given her fundraising advantage and her TV ad spending, leading to tied polling between Kotek and Drazan.

“There’s a clear trend of both Kotek and Drazan pulling in the low 30s, while Johnson has yet to poll higher than the mid-20s, though she has argued that will rise post-Labor Day,” the Cook Political Report notes. 

The nonpartisan election handicapper noted that Republicans could have a chance flipping the governor’s mansion because of Brown’s lower approval ratings and pointed to at least one ad in which Drazan sought to tie the two Democrats together. Still, Oregon hasn’t elected a Republican to the governor’s seat in decades.

“Kotek is especially hammering Drazan on abortion, and believes — as we see nationwide — that the issue works in her favor,” the Cook Political Report notes.

Kotek would make history if she won her race, becoming one of possibly the first two openly lesbian women to serve as governor. State Attorney General Maura Healey, who is the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Massachusetts, could be the other. 

Tags Kate Brown Maura Healey tina kotek

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