Republican candidate Christine Drazan now leads in the Oregon gubernatorial race by a margin of 6%, per a new opinion poll by Clout Research released on Thursday.
The poll showed Drazan gaining 44% of the vote to the Democratic candidate Tina Kotek’s 38%. Meanwhile, independent candidate Betsy Johnson is garnering 11% support among respondents.
Drazan’s lead in Oregon, a heavily Democratic state that hasn’t voted for a GOP presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1984, comes as a significant surprise. 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, Portland.
Johnson, the independent candidate, formerly served in both houses of the State Legislature for over 20 years as a Democrat. Her candidacy is being seen as a “spoiler” in the race, drawing Democratic votes away from Kotek’s candidacy, according to Politico.
Drazan’s lead has increased over the previous week when an Emerson College poll showed her with a lead of 2% over Kotek. Upon news of the poll, Drazan received a boost from Nike co-founder and billionaire GOP donor Phil Knight, who pledged over $1 million to help her campaign, while Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia has announced that he will travel to Oregon to campaign with Drazan.
Tina Kotek and Kate Brown decriminalized drugs, released criminals, and didn't provide any real solutions to solve homelessness
— Christine Drazan (@ChristineDrazan) October 11, 2022
Democrats have been expressing concern about retaining Oregon’s governorship, which they have held since 1987, this electoral cycle. “Suddenly, everyone [has] figured out we have a real governor’s race out here,” said Jake Weigler, an Oregon Democratic strategist, to Politico.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden stopped by the state to campaign for Kotek at a grassroots volunteer event while on a tour of Western states, a type of visit usually only conducted in battleground states. 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 wrote on Twitter that “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.”
The poll surveyed 842 likely voters and had a margin of error of 3.38%. FiveThirtyEight grades Clout Research’s poll as ‘B/C’ for reliability.
Drazan and Kotek’s campaigns did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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