Republican candidate Christine Drazan is leading in the blue state of Oregon in the gubernatorial race by a margin of 6%, according to a new opinion poll by Clout Research released on Thursday. The poll revealed Drazan gaining 44% of the vote to Democratic candidate Tina Kotek’s 38%, followed by Independent candidate Betsy Johnson with 11%.
The lead by Drazan comes as a surprise in the heavily Democratic state of Oregon that hasn’t voted for a GOP presidential candidate since 1984, when Reagan carried the state. Drazan, a former State Representative, has run a largely conservative campaign, focusing on the cost of living and ending homelessness in the state’s largest city of Portland.
Johnson is the Independent candidate that formerly served in both houses of the State Legislature for over 20 years as a Democrat. Her candidacy is seen as a “spoiler” in the race, drawing Democratic votes away from Kotek, Politico has reported.
A poll by Emerson College just a week before the Clout Research poll, showed Drazan with a lead of 2% over Kotek. Drazan did receive a boost with a donation of over $1 million from Nike co-founder and billionaire GOP donor Phil Knight. She also garnered a pledge from Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virgina who announced that he will travel to Oregon to campaign with Drazan.
Democrats have been expressing concern about retaining Oregon’s governorship, which they have held since 1987, in this electoral cycle. Jake Weigler, an Oregon Democratic strategist told Politico, “Suddenly, everyone has figured out we have a real governor’s race out here.”
President Biden stopped by the state on Wednesday to campaign for Kotek at a grassroots volunteer event during his tour of Western states. His visit was typical of one conducted in a battleground state. Oregon has a Cook Partisan Voting Index score of D+13, while Democrats outnumber Republicans in voter registration by over 300,000 voters.
After the poll was released, Drazan tweeted, “The last time we had a GOP Governor in Oregon, the original Top Gun was still in theatres. It’s the perfect year for a sequel.”
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