It’s been 40 years since Oregon last elected a Republican governor, but a quirky three-way contest could give the GOP an opening. With unpopular Gov. Kate Brown term-limited — and if a strong candidate can win the primary — Republicans see a unique opportunity. In December, we moved this race from Solid to Likely Democrat, and that’s where it remains. We don’t see it as competitive yet, but it certainly has the potential to become a Democratic headache, though we’ll have a better idea after the May 17 primary.
The primary fields on both sides are large: a total of 36 candidates have qualified for the ballot, including 17 Democrats and 19 Republicans. Also looming over the race is former state Sen. Betsy Johnson, a former Democrat who is running as a non-affiliated candidate and had nearly $3 million in the bank as of mid-January – the most of any candidate. She recently resigned from the legislature after 20 years, where she led the powerful budget committee until her departure from the Democratic Party last October. Johnson has
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