Sen. Boqusit: Reflections on election

By Oregon State Senator Brian Boquist,
Highlights, excerpts from Sen. Boquist newsletter

An opinion that was submitted to this newsletter::

The 2022 Oregon gubernatorial race was one for the books. It set the stage for change and injected hope into a populace facing innumerable challenges. This writer sees the results of the election as hopeful and here’s why.

The Oregon gubernatorial race started out making history simply by having three formidable women running for Governor. Tina Kotek, the winner, along with Betsy Johnson and Christine Drazan have all held powerful leadership positions within Oregon government and each woman very clearly represents Oregon in a unique way. Each woman approaches the state we all hold dear, its people, and its plentiful issues in varying approaches. Kotek and Drazan represented the two-party system while Johnson was the third-party candidate.

While progressive candidate Kotek ultimately won, her victory was not called until the day after Election Day. This in and of itself is unheard of in Oregon, a state that is typically cemented as blue. Part of the reason for this is because Johnson ran on the third-party ticket, taking countless Democrat voters from Kotek, which is incredible because it shows Democrats are not fully onboard with the progressive agenda.

An example of progressive politics backfiring in Oregon is the Democrats willingness to toss out well-respected U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader for the California carpetbagger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, which backfired. McLeod-Skinner ended up being defeated by Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer for CD 5. In tandem with Representative Cliff Bentz, it will be fantastic to have 2 Republicans representing Oregon out in D.C.

Despite all the positive media coverage leading up to Election Night that made a win seem possible, Drazan had a huge hill to climb and battle to fight. After Kotek’s campaign brought in all the “big dogs” – like Pres. Biden’s disturbing ice cream visit and former Pres. Obama’s likely spendy but lackluster ad, it would’ve been impossible for any candidate to compete with that level of stardom, no matter how much fortune Phil Knight forked over. The fact that Drazan got even as close as she did should be celebrated in a big way.

Without Johnson, Kotek’s victory would have likely been called on election night, rather than alluding to the hope that Republicans had a chance with Drazan. Johnson’s race also helped flip her former Senate seat red.

On the national level, since the “red wave” turned into more of a seep, it indicates more people are voting for the candidates they think are best, instead of loyalty to a particular flavor of corruption. It seems ONLY the hardline Republicans and progressives are salivating for Trump to come back into relevancy, but everyday Americans who lean more centrist, DO NOT care about him.

At this time, the CD6 race between Andrea Salinas, a progressive state lawmaker, and Mike Erikson, a business owner, has not been called. Erikson allegedly coerced a former partner to have an abortion while also running on a pro-life ticket. This behavior of “do as I say but not as I do” (that so many progressive politicians got caught up in during the pandemic) is what is wrong with politics. No matter personal opinions on abortion or really ANY other issue, politicians (or would-be politicians) are not “above” the same rules they wish to bestow on other people.

The takeaway: Major building blocks were set up for the next Republican gubernatorial candidate. Moving forward, the trick is to find an energetic candidate in 8 years and to have another 3rd party candidate in the election.

Even better, the Democrat supermajority is gone in both the state House of Representatives and Senate. This is a HUGE win for Oregonians. Super majority control of one party within the state government limits ideas to what is accepted by one political agenda. Along this line, human nature is inherently selfish. When one party has been granted supreme control over the lives of citizens by the voters, that selfish nature comes to the forefront. Super majority rule presents consequential impacts for all Americans because the political “rulers” have no incentive to make concessions. Without supermajority control of both chambers, now Democrats and Republicans will have no choice but to work together.

As governor, Kotek will be a thousand times worse than Gov. Brown so it really might take Oregon hitting complete “rock bottom” before Oregonians collectively “figure it out”. It might feel hopeless to stand by, especially as some unfortunate ballot measures passed too, but one way to fight back is to continue to have conversations with other Oregonians, especially those who may not agree with your perspective on face-value. The conversation and discovered middle-ground may surprise you in the best way.

Find updated election results here.

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