National media discovers close Oregon governor's race
The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both published stories on the closeness of the Oregon's race for governor on Monday.
In-state media, including the Portland Tribune and EO Media Group, have been reporting on the narrow lead Democratic incumbant Kate Brown holds over Republican state Rep. Knute Buehler for months. But both national newspapers only apparently learned about it when two political websites recently labeled the race too close to call.
Both articles reflect the surprise that such a Democratic state could possibly elect a Republican governor.
"The last Republican governor of Oregon left the State Capitol more than 30 years ago. Yet Gov. Kate Brown, the latest Democrat to hold the office, suddenly finds herself facing a serious challenge as she seeks re-election" reads the Oct. 29 New York Times story, headlined, "Suddenly, a Tight Race for Oregon Governor."
"Buehler, 54, is aggressively courting moderate Democrats unhappy enough with Ms. Brown that they will defy their party despite the highly partisan national atmosphere. His strategy has turned the campaign for the governor office in Oregon into a race that is tighter — and tenser — than expected in this solidly blue state," said the Wall Street Journal article headlined, "Blue Oregon Weighs a GOP Governor."
The New York Times story is much longer, taking the full page at the start of the national news section, and featuring a page-wide photo of Brown encouraging volunteers at a Portland phone bank. The only photo of Buehler is a small one of his head less than half a column wide.
But the story more than balances out the difference in the photos by quoting more people criticizing Brown than Buehler. Among others, Linda Giesbers, a likely Buehler voter, said Brown has been "ineffective." Even Brown supporter Sharon Soliday admitted "things are not necessarily better in Oregon."
The only criticism of Buehler came from Dawn Heutte, who is quoted as saying, "His stands on different things have changed."
The Wall Street Journal story points out that Massachusetts and Vermont both have Republican governors, even though Hillary Clinton won them in 2016. It quotes Portland coffeehouse owner Rand Klemp as saying his customers are worried about Buehler winning.
We're thinking, how can Oregon go with a Republican governor in this day and age," Klemp said.
Both stories said that tens of millions of dollars have been raised for the campaigns by both candidates, and noted Nike co-founder Phil Knight's $2.5 million contribution to Buehler.
The general election will be held on Nov. 6.