Tina Kotek, a Progressive, Will Be Oregon’s Next Governor

Tina Kotek, a progressive Democrat who faced a pair of well-funded challengers, was elected to lead Oregon, according to The Associated Press.

Ms. Kotek’s victory, declared on Thursday, will make her and Maura Healey, the barrier-breaking attorney general who won the Massachusetts governor’s race this week, the first openly lesbian governors in American history.

Ms. Kotek, a former Oregon State House speaker, defeated Christine Drazan, a Republican, and Betsy Johnson, a Democrat-turned-independent who campaigned as a centrist.

With a reputation in state government as an aggressive political operator, Ms. Kotek, 56, is known for twisting arms within the Democratic caucus to achieve her policy goals and, detractors said, occasionally breaking promises along the way.

She campaigned as a protector of Oregon’s liberal values, arguing that either of her opponents would threaten the state’s status as a haven for abortion rights and environmental protection while also saying that she alone could solve a homelessness crisis that for years has plagued Portland, the state’s largest city.

An electorate furious about homelessness and crime in Portland opened the door for Ms. Kotek’s independent challenger, Ms. Johnson, a longtime centrist Democrat and state legislator. Powered by millions of dollars from a handful of the state’s chief executives, including Phil Knight, the billionaire co-founder of shoe giant Nike, Ms. Johnson built an appeal among voters who wanted to change the state’s hands-off approach to homelessness but remained uneasy about voting for a Republican.

When Ms. Johnson struggled in polling in September, some of her biggest benefactors, including Mr. Knight, switched their allegiance to Ms. Drazan in a final effort to stop Ms. Kotek.

Ms. Kotek responded by stressing that the contest was a two-way race and urging Democrats to come home to their party. She was one of the few Democrats in competitive races this year to embrace a visit from President Biden, who stumped for her during an October visit to Portland.

Ms. Drazan, 50, aimed to maintain the 40 percent of Oregon’s electorate that voted for Donald J. Trump without embracing Mr. Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election. She presented herself as a moderate Republican, albeit one opposed to abortion rights, who would bring a change to four decades of Democratic governors in Oregon.

In the campaign’s final weeks, Ms. Kotek, the longest-serving State House speaker in Oregon’s history, publicly attacked the sitting Democratic governor, Kate Brown, who was ranked earlier this year as the least popular state chief executive in the country.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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