Just six weeks before the election, the three female candidates for governor of Oregon sparred in person on Tuesday over abortion, gun control, and other contentious subjects.
Tina Kotek, the Democratic nominee and former speaker of the Oregon House, set the tone earlier on Tuesday by posting a video in which she claimed that the election victories of Republican Christine Drazan or independent Betsy Johnson would bring about “a right-wing Oregon.”
Kotek was the only one in the debate in Bend, Oregon, to declare her support for a gun control initiative that has amassed enough signatures from voters to appear on the November ballot. Drazan and Johnson declared their opposition. One of the harshest gun laws in the country, the legislation would require anyone interested in buying a gun to first be approved for a permit.
Bend, a hamlet near the Cascade Range, was the scene of a shooting at a supermarket on August 28 in which the shooter shot more than 100 bullets, killing two people before shooting himself in the head. This shooting was the latest in the country’s pandemic of mass shootings.
The events in Bend were a complete disaster. More gun restrictions won’t stop every tragedy from happening, Drazan said. “Someone with serious mental health difficulties was determined to hurt people and was successfully able to do so,” he added.
Johnson claimed that the proposal would unfairly burden rural police forces. The chief of the municipal police, the county sheriff, or their designees would accept applications for the permit. Johnson, however, stated that she would be in favour of raising the minimum age for acquiring some firearms from 18 to 21.
Both Kotek and Johnson stated their support for legalised abortion, creating a clear distinction between themselves and Drazan, a former head of the Oregon House Republican Party.
The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down constitutional safeguards for abortion has made the topic a possible liability for GOP candidates, including Drazan.
Drazan claimed that Kotek and Johnson were attempting to “distract and divide” her by attacking her for her pro-abortion stance. Drazan emphasized that she would uphold the legislation if elected because abortion is allowed in Oregon.
As governor, Drazan, though, may jeopardize access to abortion, Kotek argued.
Even if there is a statute in place, a governor may cause a lot of harm by blocking agencies, not standing up for Oregonians, and not allocating resources to do so, according to Kotek. Therefore, you cannot believe that assertion.
At the debate site, Oregon State University-Cascades, the candidates also disagreed on the high rate of homeless persons in Oregon and the high cost of housing.
Drazan attributes the homeless situation to Kotek and Johnson, a former veteran lawmaker.
Due to the pervasive homelessness that has degraded portions of Portland, Johnson disparaged Kotek in an earlier this week Fox News interview as “tent city Tina.”
We’ve got to be serious about holding the line on additional taxes, Drazan stated as he bemoaned the taxes that Oregon has recently levied.
The three contenders participated in their second televised discussion, as Democrats did not have a clear advantage in this contest. Johnson, a former Republican who later switched to the Democratic party, is viewed as a possible destabilizer. Two major election monitoring organizations gave the contest a toss-up rating.
In Oregon, there are 729.000 registered Republicans and 1 million registered Democrats. One million registered voters, however, do not identify with any party. Which direction people lean on November 8 may determine whether Oregon’s governor will be a Republican for the first time since 1987 or an independent for the first time since 1937.
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