Oregon has been a Blue state for so long, voters have essentially taken for granted that its governor would always be a Democrat. But once you get outside the liberal cities of Portland and Eugene, the political landscape is undeniably Red. As a result, the state is facing the possibility of its first Republican Governor since 1987 thanks to a pro-gun Independent spoiler.
Betsy Johnson (I) claims to have been both a Democrat and a Republican, but her pro-NRA stance is a dead giveaway. Christine Drazan (R) is a borderline Handmaiden who literally has militia friends who were at the Capitol on January 6th. Democrat Tina Kotek should be a lock to replace Democratic Governor Kate Brown, but 2022.
Democrats have been bumping up the star power in these last days before the midterms, and several prominent names have made the trek out to the Pacific Northwest to boost the local races. It doesn’t get much bigger than President Joe Biden showing up to phone bank for Tina Kotek with a box of local Sesame Donuts. Former President Barack Obama made a video endorsing Kotek, and two of the most progressive Democrats in Congress have made the pilgrimage to Portland as well.
As Governor, my focus will be on bringing people together to solve our toughest challenges and move Oregon forward.
I’m so honored to have the support of President @BarackObama.
Thanks, Obama! pic.twitter.com/XDIZjsjxc4
— Tina Kotek (@TinaKotek) October 21, 2022
First, Elizabeth Warren showed up at Portland’s Wonder Ballroom along with local band The Decemberists to get the vote out for Kotek.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 23, 2022
The energy was even more palpable when Bernie Sanders was in Portland on Thursday to stump for Kotek. I scored a press pass for that one and I have to say, they should have chosen a better venue that the Roseland Theater, which is located in the currently very problematic “entertainment district” that unfortunately has become overrun by homeless camping.
Conspicuously absent from both events: Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler, who’s been busy presenting his controversial plan to “sweep” the sidewalks and offer relocation to campuses where no services to better anyone’s lives will be offered, but that’s another topic for another time.
Yeah, legit press credentials, I know. Also, it was just a really progressive Portland room with a lot of Portland on display. Also, Zia McCabe, the keyboardist member for the local band The Dandy Warhols, sat in with the “house band,” which was comprised of a bunch of excellent Portland musicians. At least we still do music right in this town.
#BernieInPDX @The Dandy Warhols
There was serious rock concert energy in the room when Tina Kotek introduced Bernie, which is appropriate for a space that usually hosts national touring bands.
There was a whole lot of preaching to the choir because it’s not like Bernie Sanders was there to change anyone’s mind. The mention of corporate greed and Trump got the expected responses from the crowd.
“Trump lost!” @Bernie Sanders #BernieInPDX
#BernieInPDX @Bernie Sanders
“This is the most important midterm election in the modern history of our country,” Sanders told the crowd. He also criticized the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v Wade and then turned to the talking points he’s been urging Democratic candidates to take up for months.
I am honored to have the endorsement of Oregon’s progressive champion, @SenJeffMerkley. Today we joined @BernieSanders to get out the vote for progressives up and done the ballot, and to encourage all Portlanders to vote @TinaKotek for Governor! pic.twitter.com/NBfWLw6bvi
— Jo Ann for Portland | Vote Nov 8 (@JH4PDX) October 28, 2022
Bernie Sanders railed against the nation’s wealth inequality; fears that a Republican-controlled Congress may cut Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare; and the way that high corporate profits in the oil, food, and prescription drug industries may be fueling inflation.
— kaceycarpenter (he, him, his) (@kaceycarpenter) October 28, 2022
All in all, it was a very Bernie afternoon. I didn’t get the face time I got with Joe, but maybe next time.
Tara Dublin is an Opinion Writer who lives in Portland, Oregon, and believes the truth matters even when (and especially when) people don’t like it. A passionate lifelong Democrat, Tara has also written a non-political novel and would like a better book deal than whatever Ted Cruz has.
Follow Tara on Twitter & TikTok @taradublinrocks and subscribe to her Substack.