The Republican challenger in Oregon governor’s race has pulled into a dead heat with anti-Trump Democrat Gov. Kate Brown.
A poll released this week by Gravitas Marketing found GOP state Rep. Knute Buehler tied at 45 percent with Brown among likely voters.
The Florida-based polling firm noted that Brown won a special election in 2016 by 7.8 percent over her Republican rival Dr. Bud Pierce.
Oregon is considered a solid blue state, with Democrats controlling both the state House and the Senate.
The Brown campaign questioned the Gravitas poll, but a prominent in-state pollster says it is consistent with the numbers he has been seeing.
“It’s hard to understand how this is a reputable piece of public opinion research,” campaign spokesman, Christian Gaston, told The Oregonian.
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) July 25, 2018
John Horvick, vice president and political director of DHM Research in Portland, countered, “We’ve seen it pretty close, head-to-head, between Brown and Buehler.”
“It’s a bit surprising to see a Democratic statewide candidate in Oregon have such weak numbers, but (Brown) does,” he added.
Brown has been an outspoken critic of President Trump.
In April, she pre-emptively tweeted at the nation’s commander-in-chief, declaring if he asked her to send Oregon National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border, she would not comply.
If @realDonaldTrump asks me to deploy Oregon Guard troops to the Mexico border, I’ll say no. As Commander of Oregon’s Guard, I’m deeply troubled by Trump’s plan to militarize our border.
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) April 4, 2018
Though past presidents including Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan have deployed National Guard soldiers to reinforce the border patrol, Brown wrote, “I’m deeply troubled by Trump’s plan to militarize our border.”
Last month, Brown tweeted that she was proud of Oregon’s status as a “sanctuary state” and that she would “continue speaking out against Trump’s immigration policies.”
Oregon will continue to be welcoming to all who call our state home. I’m proud of Oregon’s Sanctuary Law and took action last year to strengthen it. I appreciate @ORDOJ legal action and will continue speaking out against Trump’s immigration policies. https://t.co/gQTHiCX2wA
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) June 19, 2018
Most recently she has come out strongly against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Bret Kavanaugh, warning that he will strip away “essential health care” if confirmed.
Meanwhile, Buehler, who is an orthopedic surgeon, has made improving Oregon’s health care system a central issue of his campaign.
Oregon was once a leader in health care. Unfortunately, we’re now known for scandals, lawsuits and waste. My plan will ensure quality care for all and real accountability. Let’s make a healthier Oregon → https://t.co/dP66Di3fla #orpol #knuteforgov pic.twitter.com/lqCF7sncwc
— Knute Buehler (@KnuteBuehler) July 18, 2018
Buehler has also hit Brown for failing to lead in creating a better economy and more jobs in the Beaver State.
He tweeted this week, “For too long, OR’s small towns have been left out & left behind by @OregonGovBrown and Salem. I grew up in Roseburg so this is personal for me. Rural OR has incredible economic potential. All it needs is a Gov. who cares and leads.”
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