Endorsements playing a key role in governors race

MEDFORD, Ore.– With election day less than two weeks away, the race for governor is closer than ever.

Each candidate lists dozens of endorsements for their campaigns, but which ones will impact the outcome of the election?

FiveThirtyEight has Christine Drazan and Tina Kotek tied for the lead, with Betsy Johnson behind by about 25 percent of the vote.

Kotek has endorsements from multiple labor unions and Drazan has the support of farm bureaus from across the state.

This year’s race for governor is unique, with three candidates, all of whom are women.

There’s also a unique mix of organizations and politicians supporting each candidate, or even more than one candidate.

Drazan picked up endorsements from multiple business groups, including the Oregon Small Business Association and the Oregon Hispanic Business Association.

Drazan said in a debate hosted by NBC5 earlier this month, “Oregon is one of the least business friendly states, in the nation, due in large part to the leadership of Tina Kotek.”

Tina Kotek has been endorsed by both Senators Merkley and Wyden, particularly for her stance on climate change and gun control.

Kotek said in NBC5’s debate, “I think the top priority for governor is to keep our communities safe and we have an epidemic of gun violence right now, and one of the things we need to do is encourage common sense gun legislation that will keep our communities safe.”

Johnson was endorsed by former governor Ted Kulongoski, while Kotek has the support of current Governor Kate Brown, as well as former governor Barbara Roberts for her commitment to creating jobs in the state.

When Kotek was asked what she would do to promote business in Oregon, she said, “we need to grow the businesses that are committed to Oregon to stay here and grow. One of the ways as governor, that I would promote that, is make government permitting and regulations easier to work with, more efficient and effective.”

Johnson responded on the same subject, “find out what the customer needs, expand industrial land, make agencies nimble and neutral. There are too many instances where agencies are participants in the debate about to cite or not to cite.”

Both Betsy Johnson and Christine Drazan are endorsed by the Oregon Chiefs of Police Association and the Oregon Coalition of Police and Sheriffs.

Drazan was asked about what she wants to see change in law enforcement, she said, “it is time to recognize that we won’t have safe communities unless we have the presence of law enforcement officers there. We cannot stretch law enforcement thin. It is less safe for them and it is certainly less safe for our community.”

Johnson answered the same question saying, “we have got to get the streets cleaned up and make them safe. We’ve got to empower the police to go in and fix things. We’ve got to get the tents off the streets. We need law enforcement to bring down the level of violence and crime.”

Ballots for this election have already been sent out.

The deadline to vote is November 8th.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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