Getting Excited?

Governor races projections
It may be starting to rain for Oregon Republicans

In a typical end-of-month fundraising appeal, the Oregon Republican Party cited a not-so-typical political projection that is certain to catch the attention of hopeful Republicans in this election year. Not since Chris Dudley so narrowly lost to John Kitzhaber in 2010 has the contest for Oregon Governor been this iffy.

Given that the current outgoing governor will likely leave office as the most intensely disliked governor in Oregon history, the Real Clear Politics average of all polls already rated this race as "Leans Democrat" despite a winning streak stretching all the way back to 1986. Elections Daily analyst Joe Szymanski cited her unpopularity in April as a reason then to change his rating from "Likely" to "Lean Democrat", writing,
"There have been signs from the start of this cycle that this was going to be a close race, like it was back in 2010. . . . This cycle may have the environment to finally end that streak. First, Oregon Democrats have to deal with a wide open field and an unpopular incumbent. Governor Kate Brown has been one of the most unpopular governors in the last two years of her term, and that is a rock that candidates have to wear."
Now, just three months later, the Betsy factor is looming even larger, as he has moved the contest from "Leans Democrat" to "Toss-Up". He points to her strong polling average at just under 25% to determine that "she is a player in this race." "Couple that," he says, "with the fact that Kate Brown is one of the most unpopular governors in the nation, and there’s a race here".

Pit stop in SandyChristine Drazan is certainly finishing the month of July in a grand way. On Friday, the Newspaper Publishers Association hosted the first debate, inviting the three main candidates. She was able to go on the offensive out of the gate, pointing to her opponents as partners in the leadership that has brought us to our present situation. "They've been in charge. We got here because of their voices. There are not two other people in the state with more power than them besides the governor herself and maybe the Senate president." Definitely, one for the highlight reels.

In a fundraising e-mail that went out almost immediately after the debate she declared herself the winner, saying, "We were asked about our positions and defended them, but one thing was clear…Tina Kotek and Betsy Johnson want nothing more than a third term of destructive Kate Brown policies." [Emphasis removed] Since the debate had been held in Welches at the Mount Hood Resort, it was perhaps not coincidental that, as she was driving through Sandy on the way home, she spied the welcoming sign and chose it for a pit stop, you know, just to make that claim to victory a bit more real.

Yes, the margins between the three women are basically within the margin of error. Christine Drazan will point out that she continues to be on the plus side of that margin. So, yes, it is time to get excited.


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