For the first time in forty years, Oregon has the potential to flip red in November. President Biden is set to appear with Democrat Tina Kotek to rally support around her campaign. Oregon has become an unlikely battleground this election cycle as the gubernatorial race is neck-and-neck. Democrats have recently shied away from President Biden’s support, believing his appearance is more of a detriment than an advantage. Kotek hopes the president’s visit will help put her ahead of her Republican opponent, Christine Drazan.
FOX NEWS: Biden to visit Oregon as blue state becomes ‘battleground,’ could elect first GOP gov in 40 years
Ronn Blitzer; October 12, 2022
The state of Oregon could potentially elect a Republican governor for the first time in 40 years, but President Biden will be trying to make sure this does not happen as he heads to the Beaver State later this week.
Biden will be joining Democrat Tina Kotek on the campaign trail as she tries to fend off Republican Christine Drazan and unaffiliated Betsy Johnson. Kotek and Drazan appear to be neck and neck, prompting Biden to enter the fray with his visit Friday and Saturday.
“He reached out to us. You know, he’s very excited about mobilizing Democrats,” Kotek told local KATU. “He knows how important this election is across the country. We’re excited he’s coming and look forward to seeing him again.”
While many Democrats have chosen not to appear with Biden – whose approval ratings have lagged – Kotek appears enthusiastic about having him by her side.
“I think President Biden is here to remind people what’s at stake in this election and people are going to be excited to see him, and I’m just glad he’s making the time,” she said.
Drazan’s campaign, meanwhile, sees it as a sign of desperation.
“The DC political class is in full panic mode to rescue Tina Kotek’s failing and flailing campaign,” Drazan campaign communications director John Burke told the local outlet. “Oregonians are ready for change, and Kotek is desperate to talk about anything other than her allegiance to Kate Brown and the agenda they’ve pushed that’s caused massive homelessness, rising crime and higher costs. They know Christine Drazan is going to win this race and there’s nothing they can do to stop that from happening.”
While the former Democrat Johnson is expected to pull votes from Kotek, helping Drazan, the idea that the race is shaping up to be a close one is a foreign concept to many Oregon voters.
“Oregon is going to be a battleground state this cycle for a whole host of reasons,” a Democrat strategist told Politico. “And it’s definitely not a role that Oregon is used to filling.”
Those reasons, Politico reported, include voters’ concerns over homelessness and crime, a lack of Democrat incumbents in key races, and the Democratic Party’s overall struggles nationwide.
If Drazan pulls out the victory, she would be the first GOP governor since Victor Atiyeh, who was elected in 1978 and reelected in 1982.