This story will be updated with election results beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Since ballots can be mailed out on Election Day starting this year, election officials warn the winners may not be known for several days. Election offices expect the vote tally after Tuesday to rise more than in previous years due to valid ballots arriving at counting locations up to seven days after the election.
In one of the most competitive gubernatorial primaries in decades, 34 candidates from both sides of the aisle will find out after Tuesday night who will advance to the November general election with a chance of securing Oregon’s governorship.
A Republican hasn’t held the state’s highest elective office in 35 years, but most 19 candidates said this year could represent a perfect storm for the Oregon GOP. There are increasingly obvious problems in the state (like homelessness) and increased daily expenses due to national inflation that they can try to blame on the Democrats, as well as the historic advantage the out of power party has in a midterm election and the unknown the impact of the unaffiliated candidate, former Senator Betsy Johnson.
State political analysts believe the top candidates in the race on the Republican side are: conservative writer Bridget Barton, former Oregon House Republican leader Christine Drazan, tech CEO Jessica Gomez, Salem oncologist Dr. Bud Pierce, Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam and former Oregon Rep. Bob Tiernan.
On the Democratic side, former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read are leading a group of 15 candidates. They have both been deeply involved in Oregon politics for years, but say the problems the state currently faces can be traced to failures beyond their control.
They argue that their particular background and understanding of how state government duties prepared them to lead Oregon.
The state’s homelessness crisis became the biggest debated issue during the campaign, especially among Republicans. But the candidates also discussed public education, climate change, drug treatment and the value of public service experience.