Kate Brown is projected to defeat Republican Rep. Knute Buehler in the race for governor of Oregon.
Buehler preached a conscious message of unity in an effort to gather Democratic support in a state that has not had a Republican governor since the 1980s.
“I know how to get a group of bipartisan supporters to win,” Buehler said, according to the Idaho Statesman.
In fact, he said he did not want President Donald Trump backing him to minimize what he called “divisive national issues.”
One commentator suggested Buehler tapped into a voter malaise that extends beyond traditional political issues.
“It’s more that he’s the alternative,” said Chris Shortell, chair of the Political Science Department at Portland State University, according to Slate.
”I’m not sure he’s articulated a particular vision of ‘Oh, we can do this’ that’s persuaded voters. But he has highlighted those quality-of-life problems, and that has resonated,” he said.
It’s been a fantastic day of campaigning…meeting up with supporters, voters and friends. Making a final stop in my hometown of Bend – next up our final rally before Election Day. #orpol #knuteforgov pic.twitter.com/iwg28Y0B1S
— Knute Buehler (@KnuteBuehler) November 6, 2018
In an interview with Pacific Standard, Brown, while defending her record, agreed that there was a level of concern in Oregon that belies its apparent prosperity.
“I think the reason why folks are frustrated with everyone right now is because there’s a lot of families out there that are still struggling, a lot of seniors worried about losing their homes, a lot of families doubled up living with their parents, living in cars. There’s a lot of housing insecurity,” she said.
One commentator suggested Brown was part of the reason the race has been a toss-up
“She doesn’t have a whole lot of charisma, that’s for sure,” said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor at The Cook Political Report, according to The Atlantic. “That’s not a statement on her intelligence or anything else, but for a politician she doesn’t have a lot of charisma.”
Brown became the nation’s first openly LGBTQ governor to win an election when she was elected in 2016. Buehler, an orthopedic surgeon, represents Bend in the state legislature.
Buehler has repeatedly attacked Brown on education, the Associated Press reported.
“The most important question facing all of us right now is our underperforming K-12 education system,” Buehler said, claiming unresolved issues with Oregon’s public pensions are using up money that should go to schools.
“Those dollars aren’t getting into the classroom,” Buehler said.
To address the pension issue, Buehler said he wants public employees to move towards 401(k) retirement plans
Brown has said she rejects cuts.
“I think it’s easy for a millionaire to say he’s going to cut the retirements of hard-working Oregonians. I’m not willing to do that,” she said.
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