As a nonaffiliated candidate for governor, longtime Oregon lawmaker Betsy Johnson has qualified to run on the November ballot.
Johnson received word from the Oregon Elections Division on Thursday afternoon that her name would appear on the ballot for the general election on November 8 as a result of sufficient signatures on her nominating petitions having been confirmed.
The Democratic contender, former House Speaker Tina Kotek, and the Republican nominee, former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan, are her opponents in the unique three-way election.
“F*cking straight. This is a significant day for Oregon, according to Johnson’s statement. “This year, we have a fantastic opportunity to reject the extremes and choose an impartial governor who will prioritize Oregonians. I am the only candidate for governor of this state who will defend a woman’s right to make her own decisions while still maintaining public safety.
Non-major party members in Oregon have a choice between holding a one-day election assembly or gathering signatures from registered voters to run for partisan office.
In order to qualify, Johnson needed 23,744 valid signatures or 1% of the state of Oregon’s total presidential votes. On August 16, the deadline, the longtime Democrat delivered 17 boxes of signature sheets to the Secretary of State’s office. She boasted that she had submitted 48,214 signatures, more than double the amount needed.
Johnson utilized volunteers, the “Betsy Brigade,” and paid Initiative & Referendum Campaign Management Services, a Washington signature collection company, more than $200,000 to pay signature gatherers. Through Craigslist, several canvassers were employed with postings promising $1,000 weekly or $25 per hour.
According to Ben Morris, the Oregon Secretary of State’s communication director, the procedure for validating signatures for independent candidates is comparable to that for qualifying ballot issues. The names and addresses of ten percent of the submitted signatures were randomly chosen for verification, and they were compared to voter registration data on file with the Secretary of State’s office.
Morris claimed that this is the first time in recent memory that a candidate for governor of Oregon has met the requirements by way of a nominating petition.
With the help of many sizable contributions from prominent Oregon businessmen like Nike co-founder Phil Knight ($1.75 million) and former Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle ($200,000), Johnson is now in the lead in fundraising. According to Portland Record, a website that tracks political donations, Johnson has raised nearly $10.5 million. In contrast, Kotek earned $7.2 million and Drazan earned $6.1 million.
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Last Updated: Aug 13, 2022
Betsy Johnson’s Volunteers at the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office stacked 17 boxes of signature sheets on a set of wire cage shelves on Tuesday to complete Betsy Johnson’s months-long effort to be on the November ballot.
Until staff in the office’s Elections Division confirm that she has enough legitimate signatures from Oregon voters, Johnson, a longtime Democratic state senator who ended her legislative career last year to run for governor as a non-affiliated candidate, won’t know for sure whether she’ll be on the ballot. By August 30th, the office will have reached a conclusion.
Johnson submitted 48,214 signatures, significantly more than the 23,744 required to qualify, according to her campaign.
Tuesday at noon, a small group of Johnson supporters and media members gathered in front of the Secretary of State’s office to hear Johnson speak shortly before submitting the signatures.
‘This is a historic day, and what it illustrates is that if you just want a better Oregon, you don’t have to join a party or change parties,’ Johnson said.
She commended three supporters for gathering signatures: “Ida Mae” from the Gorge, “Nancy” from Baker City, and “Evelyn” from Scappoose. According to Johnson’s campaign Instagram posts, Evelyn Hudson of Scappoose and Nancy Blanco of Powell Butte each gathered more than 280 signatures. Both did not pick up the phone right away on Tuesday afternoon.
In the 102-degree heat, Johnson observed, “They stood out.” “They solicited signatures for the petitions by going door to door and pestering and nagging their loved ones. We eventually obtained the necessary number of signatures to adamantly qualify for the ballot thanks to these petition zealots.
Johnson used paid circulators in addition to volunteers to gather signatures. She hired some circulators on Craigslist and paid a Washington-based company more than $200,000 to gather signatures.
Democrat Tina Kotek and Republican Christine Drazan will also be on the ballot if Johnson gathered enough valid signatures. She has raised more than $10 million so far, with $6 million going to Drazan and $5.8 million going to Kotek. She is currently leading the fundraising field. Additionally, the independent candidate has more cash on hand than both of her rivals put together: $4.7 million as opposed to Drazan’s $2.2 million and Kotek’s $1.2 million.
Johnson was put ahead of her rivals by a string of sizable early donations, including $1.75 million from Nike cofounder Phil Knight and millions more from Oregon lumber and fishing industries.
Soon after the event, Drazan quickly issued a news release stating that her campaign “welcomes second Democrat to November ballot.” Drazan is gaining support from national Republicans, and polling indicates that she offers the GOP its best opportunity to win the governor’s race in Oregon in decades. The Republican Governors Association contributed $1 million to Drazan’s campaign on Friday, bringing its total contributions to more than $500,000 so far.
The national Republican group, the RGA, stated last week that it would spend more than $11 million on advertising attacking Arizona’s Democratic contender, Katie Hobbs. This amount is less than what the RGA is spending in other tight races.
Democratic Governors Association, which donated Kotek’s campaign $800,000 in early August, hasn’t yet provided her with as much support. The Democratic group has so far invested somewhat less than $900,000 in Kotek’s support, including in-kind donations in the form of opposition research.
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Last Updated: Aug 13, 2022, at 11:33
As a non-affiliated candidate for governor, Betsy Johnson has relied on her “Betsy Brigades,” teams of volunteers who distribute petitions, to collect the almost 24,000 signatures she needs to be included on the November ballot.
However, according to state campaign finance records, she reportedly hired a Washington-based company for more than $200,000 to acquire signatures for her campaign.
When asked about the employment of hired signature gatherers, spokesperson Jennifer Sitton said via email, “We support job development and giving people a true option in elections.”
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Johnson has spent the past week pleading with supporters to return signature sheets to her campaign office by Saturday, Aug. 13. She has until Tuesday, Aug. 16, to submit at least 23,744 valid signatures from Oregon voters to the Secretary of State’s Office.
But at least part of those signatures will be acquired by petition circulators, possibly employed through Craigslist, rather than Johnson acolytes. Over the course of the previous month, Initiative & Referendum Campaign Management Services, the Washington-based company Johnson hired to assist her with collecting signatures, ran more than 75 Craigslist job ads looking for petition circulators.
The advertisements promised part-time remuneration of $25 per hour or a full-time salary of $1,000 per week.
A sample advertisement from Tillamook stated, “This is the ideal opportunity for you to get your foot in the door for an exciting, high profile, huge energy, and rewarding campaign.” “With a very important campaign in front of her, Betsy Johnson is challenging the establishment and fighting for the people of Oregon.”
Campaigns should allocate between $3.75 and $5 for each signature, according to the company’s assessment. Using those numbers, Johnson’s payment ought to be sufficient for between 41,000 and 55,000 signatures.
The majority of candidates for state office do not need to gather signatures; instead, they just pay a filing fee ranging from $25 to $150 and participate in a minor party’s primary election or nominating convention. Candidates without a party affiliation, however, must collect voter signatures.
Although they must gather significantly more than potential candidates and face greater challenges when paying petition circulators, those who want to enact new laws or repeal existing ones through the initiative or referendum process must also gather signatures.
More than 112,000 signatures were required to enact new laws through initiatives in this election cycle, over 75,000 to send laws passed by the Legislature to the ballot, and more than 149,000 to change the Oregon Constitution.
Initiative and referendum backers must also include a bold-faced notice on petition forms noting that some circulators are paid, as well as file statements with the Secretary of State’s Office indicating whether they will pay any petition circulators. This is not a requirement for candidates.
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