Red Wave Rising: GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Surges Into Lead in State That Hasn’t Had a Republican Governor in 35 Years

A new poll shows that Oregon voters could make political history next month in the race for governor.

The Emerson College poll released Tuesday found Republican Christine Drazan leading Democrat Tina Kotek 36 percent to 34 percent, with independent candidate Betsy Johnson at 19 percent.

The website FiveThirtyEight noted that the poll is part of a pattern.

Drazan, a former minority leader of the Oregon House of Representatives, has come out on top in seven polls since August. Her margins over Kotek, who is speaker of the state House, have varied between 1 percentage point and 8 percentage points.

Last month, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report moved the race to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Kate Brown from “lean Democrat” to “toss up,” according to The Hill.

“There’s a pretty darn good chance that Drazan could win,” Pacific University political science professor Jim Moore said, according to Willamette Week.

That would break a chain of Democratic governors that goes back to 1987, when Victor Atiyeh left office, according to Ballotpedia.

Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College polling, said that among independent voters in the new poll, 34 percent backed Drazan while 18 percent backed Kotek.

The poll noted that Johnson was having an impact on the race, with 17 percent of Democrats supporting her against only 9 percent of Republicans.

Among those who say the economy is their top issue, 52 percent plan to vote for the Republican candidate, according to the survey.

The Emerson College poll of what it called 796 very likely voters was conducted Friday and Saturday and has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

Drazan has said she will rein in government overreach.

“I actually view government as having an essential role that should effectively advance core functions and not be all things to all people,” she said, according to Willamette Week.

The Republican is upbeat about her chances.

“I have been up against Tina Kotek when the deck has been stacked and when the math was tough. This is the year for Republicans to win. This is an opportunity to actually make a difference,” Drazan said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.