I would happily vote for Besty Johnson if she had a higher chance of beating Tina Kotek than Christine Drazen. It turns out, that is not the case. Johnson is a remarkable candidate, eloquent speaker, wonderful person, and she’s polling at 10%. Drazen and Kotek are basically tied at around 42%. If you don’t want things to stay as they are now, Drazen is your only chance for change.
I know someone planning to vote for a write-in candidate, rather than Drazen, because this person thinks Drazen isn’t conservative enough. If you want to live in a better policy environment, you’re going to have to be more strategic than that.
A different governor will have a profound difference. Increasingly taking one-party rule for granted in this state, the Democrats have been passing legislation so complex and fast that the best they can do is to draft explicit discretion for state agencies to take care of the details. A new governor will appoint something Oregon hasn’t seen in four decades, a different worldview leading state agencies. Republican appointees could take that legislative delegation in a new direction, regardless of who controls the legislature.
In addition to the ability to control Oregon’s executive branch, Drazen will have another tool to impact public policy in the Beaver State even if she were to never serve while Republicans control the legislature: the veto. At worst, this will operate like the denial of quorum in 2019 and 2020. At best, it can lead to compromises that allow the enactment of non-elite priorities.
Don’t let your conception of the perfect gubernatorial candidate be the enemy of voting for a good one, and Christine Drazen is a damn good one. Vote for Christine Drazen. Don’t kid yourself that things cannot get worse. They can. We actually have the chance to see something a bit better. Don’t waste that chance.
Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the author of We were winning when I was there.