Former House Minority Leader and Canby State Representative Christine Drazan on Tuesday secured the Republican nod in the 2022 Oregon governor’s race, winning nearly a quarter of the vote.
In the extremely crowded Republican primary, Drazan came in five points ahead of second-place contender Bob Tiernan, a former state House representative for Lake Oswego and chair of the Oregon GOP from 2009 to 2011.
As of 6:30 Wednesday, she had captured more than 65,000 of the 275,000 votes cast, or 23.5%, to Tiernan’s 18.4% share, and the Associated Press called the race in her favor. Tiernan had called Drazan earlier in the day to concede.
Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam came in third with 10% of the vote, a respectable showing for a small-town mayor who had not previously held or sought higher office, but who has worked hard for over a year to build grassroots support across the state in a series of town halls and a strong social media presence.
Tiernan ran particularly strong on the coast, capturing Columbia, Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Lane, Douglas and Coos counties, with Drazan finishing second in all seven.
Former GOP gubernatorial candidate Bud Pierce claimed fourth place, with 9% of the vote statewide, but won Marion and Polk counties where he maintains a strong base in the Salem area.
Kerry McQuisten, another mayor from Baker City, ran strong in the more rural and conservative counties of central and eastern Oregon.
Longtime House Speaker Tina Kotek captured the Democratic bid to replace Kate Brown, who is term-limited, taking 56% of the vote and fending off a challenge from State Treasurer Tobias Read.
Drazan, who served one and a half terms as state representative for Canby’s district, formally announced her candidacy in January and quickly established herself as one of the frontrunners in a crowded Republican primary race with nearly 20 other hopefuls.
She received the largest amount of Republican donor support of any candidate and reported spending $2.7 million as of election night.
Christine Drazan on Twitter: “We are still waiting on some additional ballots to be counted, but if current trends hold, I will be the Republican nominee for Governor of Oregon!Thank you so much for your support! My team and I look forward to sharing additional updates later today! #orpol #TeamDrazan pic.twitter.com/GR18nKT2Ll / Twitter”
We are still waiting on some additional ballots to be counted, but if current trends hold, I will be the Republican nominee for Governor of Oregon!Thank you so much for your support! My team and I look forward to sharing additional updates later today! #orpol #TeamDrazan pic.twitter.com/GR18nKT2Ll
Drazan becomes the first female Republican gubernatorial nominee since Norma Paulus in 1986, setting the stage for an all-woman race for governor — the first in Oregon history — with Kotek and Betsy Johnson, a former Democratic lawmaker who is running a well-funded bid as an independent.
“We did it!” she declared in a statement posted to social media Wednesday evening. “I’m so humbled to be the Republican nominee for governor of Oregon. Grateful for each and every vote and for all your support along the way. Change is coming this November. Join me.”
In House District 51, which includes Canby, incumbent James Hieb held a strong lead over primary challenger Lisa Davidson, with 60.5% to 38.25% in early returns Tuesday night. Democrat Walt Trandum was unopposed in his HD 51 primary.
“It is humbling beyond words to see so many of the Republican voters in my home district choose me to represent their voices in the State Capitol,” Hieb said in a statement posted to his political Facebook page Tuesday night.
“Your support means the world to my family and me, and if the results continue to go our way tonight and in November, I promise to work tirelessly to serve the good people of House District 51 to the absolute best of my ability.”
In Senate District 26, which also includes Canby under the new legislative boundaries, current state Representative Daniel Bonham, of The Dalles, was far ahead of his two primary challengers, Steve Bates and Michael Nugent, with 60% of ballots cast. Democrat Raz Mason, also of The Dalles, was unopposed.
In Congress, Oregon’s 5th District showed Democratic challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner holding a stout lead over longtime Representative Kurt Schrader, of Canby. McLeod-Skinner, an attorney and consultant who positioned herself to the left of the more moderate Schrader, had a 7,000 vote lead, capturing 60% to his 40%.
However, with an estimated 95% of Democratic results still uncounted in Schrader’s base of Clackamas County — representing at least 30,000 to 40,000 ballots — the race remains too early to call. Of the approximately 1,600 Democratic votes reported so far in Clackamas, Schrader had won 57% of them.
Indeed, Schrader appeared to have won three of the four counties in Oregon’s 5th, while badly losing Deschutes, where McLeod-Skinner claimed 71% of the vote.
In the Republican race for Oregon’s 5th, former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer was in the lead with 41% of the vote, followed by Jimmy Crumpacker at 32%. Shortly after 11 p.m., her campaign declared victory.
“I am humbled and grateful for the support we received from primary voters tonight,” Chavez-DeRemer said in a press release. “The voters wanted someone with a proven track record of getting things done to represent them in Congress. … We will carry this tremendous momentum to the general election and flip this seat.”
In commission races, incumbent Paul Savas (42.7%) was leading in the effort to keep his seat amid a cadre of challengers including Libra Ford (20.1%), Steve Frost (13.4%) and Bill Osburn (12.9%), while incumbent Sonya Fischer (33.9%) was trailing conservative Wilsonville City Councilor Ben West (47.2%).
But given the large numbers of ballots that remained uncounted in Clackamas County, particularly for Democratic-leaning voters, both races were too early to call.
Early results from Clackamas County were significantly delayed, arriving more than 45 minutes after 8 p.m., which is typically when the first election reports are posted.
This was not unexpected, given a printing issue affecting as many as two-thirds of the ballots in Clackamas County, and which required those ballots to be painstakingly copied by hand by election workers.
Tens of thousands of ballots remained untallied and unreported as of Tuesday night. More than 65,000 ballots had been returned to the Clackamas County Clerk’s Office as of Monday, a turnout of 21.4%.
The results posted Tuesday night are estimated to represent less than 20% of the Republican vote in Clackamas County and less than 5% of the votes by registered Democrats.
Late Tuesday, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, Oregon’s top election official, blasted Clackamas County’s elections office for the delays — while expressing confidence that the results, when they eventually arrive, can be trusted.
“As Oregon’s chief election officer – and a Clackamas County voter — I am deeply concerned about the delay in reporting from Clackamas County Elections tonight,” she said in a statement.
“While I am confident that the process they are following is secure, transparent and the results will be accurate, the county’s reporting delays tonight are unacceptable. Voters have done their jobs, and now it’s time for Clackamas County Elections to do theirs.”
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