Three women, three separate visions, lead historic Oregon gubernatorial race

Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 10:27 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Midterm Election Day is nearly two months away in Oregon and across the country. Significant change will be coming to Oregon with a number of high profile officials leaving office. One of those positions up for grabs is the governor’s office, and it has shaped into a historic event.

Three female candidates are running for governor, all well known in the state. And they have three different pitches for Oregon voters.

Former State House Majority Leader Tina Kotek (D-Ore.) is viewed as the frontrunner in the race to take over for outgoing Governor Kate Brown.

“Three women, three former legislators, all running very competent campaigns,” said Kotek.

But Kotek notes they are all very different campaigns.

Former State House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R-Ore.) says she’s excited to be a part of a race like this representing the Republican side.

“And (to) put forward a vision for the future that’s based on limited government and strong support for families and law enforcement and really restoring high quality of life across our state,” said Kotek.

Betsy Johnson (I-Ore.), a former Democratic state senator says three women competing at the top level shows the strong female presence across Oregon politics.

“It affirms to me the fact the legislature has many more women in it now, that people have an expectation of female leadership,” said Johnson.

Chris Koski, a political expert from Reed College, says the race is historic, but Oregonians are used to women in these positions of power.

“We as Oregonians might not think of as historical as much because we’ve had female governors before,” said Koski.

Koski says the state has been building a deep bench of female politicians for years and a race like this is a result of those efforts.

“It’d be kind of odd if we didn’t have at least one female candidate given the efforts the state has gone through in order to recruit them,” said Koski.

Election Day is November 8 when Oregonians will choose their next governor. Voters can also mail in their ballots before then.