Governorship only one key statewide race in '22
The governorship is usually Oregon's marquee political race in election years when the presidency is not on the ballot — but 2022 is shaping up as an especially spirited year.
With no obvious favorite to succeed Democrat Kate Brown, who cannot run again because of term limits, about two dozen Democrats and Republicans already have filed their candidacies for the May 17 primary. The total — 26 as of Monday, Jan. 3 — is twice as many as filed in the most recent open-seat elections for Oregon governor in 2002 (11 candidates) and 2010 (12 candidates).
Among the 12 Democrats so far are state Treasurer Tobias Read of Beaverton, House Speaker Tina Kotek of Portland, Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla and Patrick Starnes of Brownsville, the 2018 Independent Party nominee who dropped out and threw his support to Brown.
State elections officials were seeking more information from Nick Kristof, the former New York Times reporter and columnist who moved back to his family farm near Yamhill. He filed on Dec. 20. It may set up a legal test of the constitutional three-year residency requirement for governor. The normal residency requirement is one year, and that is waived for lawmakers after redistricting.
Among the 14 Republicans so far are William "Bud" Pierce, a Salem physician and the party's 2016 nominee against Brown, Baker City Mayor Kerry McQuisten, Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam, political strategist Bridget Barton of Lake Oswego, and Marc Thielsen, Alsea schools superintendent.
Christine Drazan of Canby, a two-term legislator and former Republican leader of the Oregon House, filed for governor on Jan. 4.
Excluded from the primary election is Betsy Johnson, a former Democratic state senator from Scappoose who said she will run as an independent candidate in the general election, assuming that she obtains 24,000 signatures after the primary.
The filing deadline for the primary is March 8. Minor-party candidates qualify for the general election under a separate process.
When she leaves office Jan. 9, 2023, Brown will have served two full terms, minus the 38 days that John Kitzhaber served in his fourth term before he resigned amid an ethics scandal. Brown, as secretary of state, was next in line in succession.
While the race for governor may command more attention than usual, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries is up for grabs because the incumbent in the nonpartisan office, Val Hoyle of Eugene, will seek the open 4th District seat in the U.S. House.
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