Election: The Republican candidate for Oregon governor, Christine Drazan, begged her followers to “not lose hope” when she conceded the race earlier this month.
The Republican Party in Oregon had great hopes that this year would finally end a 40-year losing run in statewide elections. Oregonians were fed up with the status quo, national polls showed that Republicans would do well, and a well-funded independent candidate, Betsy Johnson, had even Democrats questioning their political supremacy.
But Oregon voters stuck with their tried-and-true method of electing a Democrat for governor every election cycle since 1982. It’s also worth noting that Democrats continue to have a supermajority in both houses of parliament.
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Oregon Gop is Hopeful About the Outcome of the 2022 Election
Republicans all throughout the country are regretting the “red wave” that never materialized. However, Republican leaders are following Drazan’s advice to the letter. Republicans are optimistic despite their loss of the single statewide seat that was on the ballot. In fact, prominent Republicans in the state have expressed optimism about the outcome.
Many voters see this election cycle as a watershed moment. The Republicans fielded competitive candidates who benefited from substantial resources. They performed well in races that the Democrats typically win easily. Drazan, the party’s presidential nominee, was able to win over both the party’s conservatives and moderates. Republicans in Oregon were predicted to be major actors in this election cycle by multiple politicians and political experts.
It turns out that if you want to be a Republican in the state of Oregon, you need to have a healthy dose of optimism.
Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp expressed optimism after the election by noting that only Oregon gained legislative seats among the many blue states that had been targeted by both the Democrats and the Republicans.
That’s the story you hear time and time again from Oregon’s top Republicans: they’re not discouraged by Drazan’s loss or the changing demographics of the state, and they have faith in both their party and the voters.
Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a Republican, was elected to represent Oregon’s 5th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Millions of dollars came from outside of Oregon to fund the race, and Chavez-victory DeRemer puts Oregon into the minority in the House of Representatives with two Latina women representing the state. Having Drazan at the top of the ticket and a woman of color gain a seat in Congress was invigorating for a party that has struggled to elect more women and people of color.
“I think the Republican Party in Oregon has been seen as nonexistent, as not engaging maybe in the last 10 years,” said Chavez-DeRemer, a former mayor of Happy Valley. This year, though, everything changed.
The Republican Party was also successful in eliminating the Democratic Party’s legislative veto power. Even though Democrats will control both chambers of the legislature next year, they will need support from Republicans if they want to hike taxes. In addition, that must feel like a huge victory for Republican leaders. Many districts held by Democrats in the legislature were competitively contested by candidates from the Republican Party.
Representative Daniel Bonham of The Dalles, who was just elected to the state senate, said, “We not only put up outstanding candidates, we got funds, and they put up good campaigns.”
Do all politics really start at the county level?
Few things were certain in the run-up to the 2022 midterms, chief among them the impact, if any, that the Supreme Court’s decision to restrict access to abortion would have on state and local races.
During the campaign season leading up to the first statewide election in Oregon in November after the right to get an abortion was revoked by the U.S. Supreme Court, many people wondered how voters would prioritize abortion rights compared to other issues confronting the state.
“Abortion is obviously part of the tale,” said DHM Research pollster John Horvick. Is Christine Drazan the governor if the Dobbs decision doesn’t go through? Tina Kotek likely benefited from the fact that Democrats felt compelled to keep voting for Democrats in the wake of that decision, but we’ll never know for sure.
As most Oregonians believe everyone should have the right to affordable reproductive health care, many Republicans there fear the court ruling would hamper their chances of winning the state’s top office.
During the campaign, Democrats and their allies made a point of weaving the topic of abortion into the larger story of Trump’s ouster and the January 6th uprising.
Quite frankly, “If Christine Drazan supports MAGA Republicans, can we trust her to preserve our democracy?” read the headline of one of Kotek’s campaign ads.
Kotek’s attacks on current Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat like herself, increased as the contest neared its conclusion, another symptom of the Democrats’ growing insecurity.
In an effort to make this vote about Kate Brown, Republicans pushed for that. Horvick remarked that the team’s laser focus on Oregon-specific challenges was wise. “But (Drazan) couldn’t divorce herself from the sentiments about the bigger Republican Party and Jan. 6th and the Republican-dominated Supreme Court,” the author writes.
So thought Drazan, and he agreed. In her campaign, she mostly talked about problems that are specific to the state, such as the growing crime rate, inadequate mental health services, and the ever-increasing number of people living on the streets. She addressed the need to better the state’s educational system and assist businesses that suffered because of the COVID-19 shutdown. With the least amount of experience in the legislature, she claimed to be the one to bring about change.
She described the beginning of the race for governor as “historic.” “Three women, each with her own distinct character and point of view, and a healthy bank account. “MAGA Republican, militia, January 6 and choice” was the winning ticket in the end… “It was no longer a problem for Oregonians.
During the campaign, Drazan acknowledged that Oregon’s abortion access regulations are harsh, but she also promised that women in the state would still be able to get abortions if she were elected. In Oregon, you have the legal right to get an abortion if you want one.
Overall, 46.9% of the vote went to Kotek, while 43.55% went to Drazan. Johnson polled in at under 9 percent.
If Republicans couldn’t win the presidency or a statewide office under these conditions, when will they?
What’s going on in the country will always be a factor.
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However, Drazan and others have countered the argument that the Oregon GOP has to reorganize or start again.
On the contrary, they consider this election cycle to be historic. The Oregon Republican Party has struggled to develop its bench for many years. Many predicted that this moment would mark a turning point. Drazan has stated her intention to remain politically active and supportive. Both Chris Dudley and Bud Pierce, both of Salem, two prominent Republicans from prior elections, have seemingly retired from active party politics.
While it may seem like my race alone calls for an article about the GOP’s revival, I believe the foundation we laid for this campaign will stand the test of time. Drazan remarked, “I don’t see it as rebuilding.” In my opinion, this means “keeping the faith” and “staying actively involved.”
Her position in the party is uncertain going forward.
She remarked, “I believe it is vital to assist people and… I always have,” adding, “I still just am a sucker for Oregon.”
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