By Natalie Roadarmel
This May, elections for the governor of Oregon will begin. The elected individual will hold office for four years, and elections will be held once again in 2022. There are currently 17 people running for Governor, which is more candidates than the state has seen in two decades. It has been speculated that the high number of candidates may be a result of America’s current political situation and the uncertainty it has brought. In order to run, candidates must file with the Secretary of State by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2.
The current governor, Kate Brown, is expected to run again, but has not commented on her political plans for 2018. It would be a huge shock if she decided not to run, however. This is due to her recent efforts to raise money and sharpen her rhetoric. In addition, for the past four months, Brown has devoted on average six hours a week to meeting with supporters, calling potential donors and various other campaign activities. This adds up to a grand total of 73 total hours of campaign work over the past four months.
Although Brown has dedicated an unusually high amount of time to campaigning, it does appear justified. Most all governors are elected for four-year terms. However, Brown was elected to hold the place of disgraced former Gov. John Kitzhaber in early 2015 and ran for the remainder of his term. This means she has had less time in office than the majority of governors, and less time to campaign.
In the time after she was elected, Brown has raised $200,000 dollars and has another $1.2M on hand. Nevertheless, it is likely that she will needs millions of dollars to convince the public to elect her for another term.
The main republican candidate facing Governor Brown is Knute Buehler. “He has the possibility of putting the Republican financial machine back together,” said a Republican political consultant from Lake Oswego, Jim Pasero. Buehler has also repeatedly distanced himself from President Trump.
Aside from Brown and Buehler, the candidate pool is made up of farmers, veterans, business owners, retirees, real estate brokers and politicians. One candidate, Sam Carpenter from Bend, will be campaigning with the slogan “Make Oregon Great Again.” He has run for U.S. Senate twice before and has so far has loaned his own campaign $66,000.
Jim Moore, who is the director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation at Pacific University in Forest Grove, commented that if candidates are not currently working on raising money, they most likely will not have a strong chance of winning. Interestingly, many candidates that have filed to run have not raised many funds. Moore stated, “If they are not raising major amounts of money, they are more likely doing this for ego gratification rather than for a real chance to become governor. Without money for a credible campaign, ego gratification will be hard to come by”.
If you are registered to vote in the state of Oregon, make sure to do so. The primary election will take place on May 15. The final day to register to vote is April 24.