By Jason Williams
Taxpayer Association of Oregon
Oregon taxpayers are very grateful and thankful that Knute Buehler ran for Governor. Having to run both against a wave election and an incumbent means the odds were stacked against any challenger. The last national left-leaning wave was back in 2008, so this was a once-in-a-decade bad time to run against a sitting progressive incumbent.
Knute also had to fight against Kate Brown’s record breaking fundraising. Impressively, Knute beat her by breaking fundraising records himself. Knute brought in 19,000 donations — helping to get more Oregonians to participate than ever before.
Knute’s presence helped his Republicans match Democrats on their near-record breaking turn-out. If it was not for Knute it would have been much worse. Consider that in 2014, despite a national conservative wave election, it still brought depressed Republican turnout in Oregon comparatively. This was because the top two Republican statewide office candidates did not drive turn-out and did not have the funds for get-out-the-vote which resulted in fewer Republicans voting. Many Republicans who voted in 2014 simply skipped voting for the top ticket candidates — a rarity.
In the end, Knute was not only running against Kate Brown but also the Independent candidate who made a rare bowing out and endorsed Brown. This was more important than it seems because Independent voter turn-out was lagging behind other parties near the end.
I also appreciate that Knute was a solid, professional and clean candidate for whom his opponents had little to use against him except exaggerated political spins on certain floor votes. Knute navigated his political career with precision to avoid the gaffes and mistakes that have felled many others.
This Thanksgiving I am burying my personal short list of things I would have done if I was a campaign chief and I am exchanging it for genuine thanks and appreciation for what he did do and how he did it. We conservatives are not always known for being thankful as we should. Ultimately, I think Oregon’s free enterprise and taxpayer movement is stronger because of Knute’s campaign. I am thankful that Knute took on extraordinary odds on our behalf.
There are thousands of taxpayers who are over-taxed and on the verge of losing their home or their family business. Knute stood up for them and it matters. Thank you Knute.