Three-way election contests are a tricky thing. A well-funded third-party candidate can often play spoiler, allowing the minority party even in a state that largely leans to the opposite party to sneak through a win. Such are the dynamics playing out in the open Oregon gubernatorial race, giving Republicans an increasingly plausible opportunity, even though the state last elected a GOP governor in 1982. As such, we are shifting our rating from Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat.

The one non-partisan public poll for Nelson Research (May 25-27) since the May 17 primary shows a tight race, with former Republican state House minority leader Christine Drazan narrowly leading with 30 percent, Democratic former state House Speaker Tina Kotek a statistically insignificant two points behind at 28 percent, and Betsy Johnson, a Democrat-turned independent state senator, at 19 percent. Other private and partisan polls show a similar trajectory, and Democrats admit this is a race they must pay attention to in a state that President Biden won by 16 points. This is also a likely first historically, with three women all

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Charlie "Chuck" Cook