"Red wave" alert: Oregon Governor race

The major threat of the “blue wave” is that it might sweep over not only purple but even red districts and states, tossing control of the House back to the Democrats and threatening the Senate majority. But what about that “red wave” that the President keeps talking about? Here’s an interesting possibility I didn’t see coming. What if a partial red wave washed up on the shores of Oregon, flipping the governorship there to the Republicans? The current officeholder, Kate Brown, looked like a sure bet, particularly in the era of the Trump Resistance. But if that’s the case, why is she neck and neck with her GOP opponent in the latest polls? (Washington Times)

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown positioned herself early on as a leader of the anti-Trump opposition, but the state’s never-ending panoply of protest activity has backfired on her re-election bid with voters suffering from resistance fatigue.

Ms. Brown, who was expected to coast to victory in deep-blue Oregon, has found herself deadlocked in the latest polls with state Rep. Knute Buehler, an affable orthopedic surgeon whose moderate brand of Republicanism is attracting crossover voters.

That includes Ben West, who supported Ms. Brown’s previous bid for office but was horrified by the mobs that shut down the Immigration and Custom Enforcement office in Portland for five weeks, leaving behind so much trash that the area was ultimately declared a biohazard.

Just how bad is the polling news for the formerly unsinkable Kate Brown? Back in January, an Oregon Public Broadcasting poll had her leading Knute Buehler by seventeen points and the race seemed to be all over but the shouting. But as the year wore on, while nobody was paying much attention, something began to change. By the middle of July, a Gravis Research poll had the race in a dead heat. Two weeks ago a Clout Research survey had Buehler pulling ahead by one.

So what happened? Brown has no recent scandals of note either from her personal life or her administration. Living in the heart of #RESIST country and progressive activism, she’s the ideal candidate on paper. It’s still the Year of the Women and she’s female. As a bonus, she’s also openly bisexual. If she weren’t white she’d have just about all the boxes checked.

One of her former supporters (and a leader in the state’s gay rights and gay marriage movement) described his decision not to support her as being because of the “appalling” sight of ICE protesters tearing down American flags and Antifa attacking people in the streets. And he’s not the only one. People who would generally be sympathetic to progressive causes seem to be coming around to more of a NIMBY attitude as they witness weekly protests turning into brawls, sprawling homeless encampments and exhausted law enforcement officers trying to keep up with it all.

This one isn’t in the bag for the GOP by any means. Incumbency comes with many advantages and these poll numbers will probably have her supporters out in the streets and working on her GOTV plan. But if Buehler plays his cards right and taps into the discontent over the onging lawlessness he just might sneak through with the upset victory. Break out the popcorn and keep your eyes on Oregon.