Kind of hilarious watching Oregonians spool up to vote Republican

Jaime Valdez/Pamplin Media Group via AP, Pool

Holy schamoly – it’s as if the entire state had been in a trance and someone else had been doing all their Democratic Progressive voting all these years. Kinda like the Dallas episode, where Bobby’s death was just a dream in the shower? Oregonians have suddenly woken up to the fact that the place of incredible natural beauty, resources, and quirky weirdness they live in has pretty much sucked eggs for ages, and they’re mad enough to reverse course, cleaning out from the statehouse to Congress. In what has to be the biggest surprise to the ruling Democrats, the governor’s seat has turned into a dogfight instead of a continuation of a forty-year long baton pass to the next guy.


…Like many voters who spoke with the Washington Free Beacon, Terri is fed up with President Joe Biden and Oregon governor Kate Brown (D.). She said both have attempted to woo progressives with policies that undermine public safety and contribute to record inflation.

I want law and order. I want people who have committed crimes to be prosecuted,” she said before gesturing to her liberal friend seated next to her. “We want help for those who need it—not help for everybody, like this administration is doing, just handing out money willy-nilly.” Her friend agreed.

That dissatisfaction is threatening Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek’s chances in Oregon, where voters rank crime and the economy as top concerns. Even after Biden visited the state to stump for Kotek, the Democrat trails her Republican opponent Christine Drazan in recent polls. Statewide surveys also show a majority of Oregonians have an unfavorable view of both Biden and Kotek.

Kotek is Brown,” Terri said, a remark similar to others the Free Beacon has heard while visiting the state. Kotek has sought to distance herself from the least popular governor in America. She criticized Brown in interviews this year but accepted Brown’s endorsement.

The “Kotek” they’re referring to is Tina Kotek, self-described “… proven progressive fighter…first openly lesbian Speaker of any State House in the country…,” and the Democratic candidate. She’s running in a three-way race against independent Betsy Johnson and Republican Christine Drazan. Kotek and the entrenched Dem establishment have met their match in Drazan, and it started well before the governor’s race. The two main party candidates served in the Oregon House together and developed a sincere antipathy towards each other thanks to their battles there with Kotek as speaker and Drazan the GOP leader. Besides a walkout coordinated with the GOP state senators to stymie Democrats ramrodding a cap-and-trade bill through, the two women duked it out over redistricting maps.


…By refusing to waive a constitutional rule requiring bills to be read in full before passage, Republicans could add hours or days to what would otherwise be quick, often noncontroversial, votes.

The tactic gave the GOP a rare bargaining chip: They’d only waive the rules if Democrats offered something of value. And in April of 2021, Drazan believed she’d secured just that.

After Republicans forced bill readings for weeks, House Speaker Kotek ended delays by agreeing to grant the GOP an equal say on the committee drawing new legislative maps that would rejigger state politics for the next decade.

…But Kotek reneged when Republicans on the committee would not agree to a map that analyses suggested strongly favored Democrats. In a move that surprised and angered lawmakers in even her own party, Kotek reshuffled committee membership at the last minute to give Democrats the votes they needed.

Kotek’s public version of events didn’t add up and only fueled the fire.

…It also nudged Drazan toward higher office. The Republican now says one of her main reasons for running is preventing Kotek from taking the governorship.

“I am running to serve, and I’m running to do the job,” she said, “and it’s very important that Tina Kotek is never governor of my state.”

Drazan has a well-established reputation for playing hardball, courtesy of her time in the House. Betsy Johnson, the third candidate, is a widely respected law and order type whom the Dems are terrified will pull votes from Kotek, vulnerable as she is to soft-on-crime criticism with her on-the-record support for Portland rioters, etc. Panicked Dems’ve enlisted the usual Prog suspects to come stump for Kotek…


‘I came here because Oregon is dangerously close to flipping red’: Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaigns for Tina Kotek in Portland

…”I didn’t come here because I believe this is a safe seat. I came here because Oregon is dangerously close to flipping red, and we have 17 election days to keep that from happen,” Sen. Warren told the crowd.

The Senator from Massachusetts pleaded for attendees to keep door-knocking, phone-banking and rallying support around Kotek.

…which only reinforces the point the women the Free Beacon talked to are making. No one on the Democratic side is listening to them, except Republicans.

…”When I drive through Portland, I’m scared. I didn’t used to be scared, but I’m scared,” Chris, who volunteers for a nonprofit that helps the homeless, told the Free Beacon. “The police are understaffed and underappreciated.”

…Drazan and unaffiliated gubernatorial candidate Betsy Johnson have criticized Kotek for siding with Portland rioters who attacked a police station during the 2020 protests. Kotek said in a recent debate she has “always supported” police but wants them to be held “accountable.”

The October Data for Progress poll revealed 52 percent of Oregon voters now trust Republicans to handle crime better than Democrats. Forty-eight percent favor Republicans to restore the economy.

As with crime, Kotek’s economic policies could hurt her at the polls. In 2017, she voted for one of the largest tax hikes in Oregon’s history. Two years later, Kotek supported a statewide rent control bill. At the time, critics said the plan would lead to a housing shortage. Today, voters say it’s driven up the cost of living.

“Most apartment complexes want three times your monthly income as a deposit,” Chris told the Free Beacon.


I profiled the Republican candidate for Congress in the OR-05 race – small-town mayor and businesswomen Lori Chavez-DeRemer – but it looks as if the Oregon Democrats going to lose their 6th District as well to a GOP challenger.

New York and Oregon have become persistent trouble spots for Democrats. The open-seat Oregon gubernatorial race is a very real Republican pickup opportunity, as are 3 open House seats where Joe Biden won by between 9-13 points. OR-5, the least blue of the 3 seats, has become a real headache for Democrats, as it appears that former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R) has an edge over 2018 OR-2 nominee Jamie McLeod-Skinner (D), who ousted Rep. Kurt Schrader (D, OR-5) by primarying him from the left earlier this year. Democratic outside groups have stopped spending in the district, which is more competitive than the Biden +9 topline would indicate — Republican gubernatorial nominees won it in both 2016 and 2018. Democrats drew a gerrymander in Oregon designed to get them 5 of the state’s 6 seats, but it just seems like things are going poorly enough for them in the state that they won’t get there. The 2 other open-seat races, OR-4 and OR-6, are also highly competitive, with OR-6 the better GOP pickup opportunity.

It’s all pretty exciting, dang it! And for things to turn around in Portland and the bigger cities would be the loveliest shock to the system, ever. But the urban areas themselves would have to remove their entrenched Progressive administrators and voters, and I can’t see that happening any time soon. As the folks the Free Beacon interviewed noted…


…In an effort to win back support, Kotek has tried to distance herself from her progressive past. But the tactic hasn’t fooled those who spoke with the Free Beacon.

When asked where to find Kotek supporters, they pointed to “the vegan restaurants in Salem.”

The folks out in the back forty nd the suburbs might just have their votes counted this time. That’s a great start.

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