Political science professors watch Oregon governor race


More than 3 dozen candidates are in the running to succeed Kate Brown

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Yes, it’s March. But the 2022 Oregon governor’s race is well underway.

Governor Kate Brown is not running for re-election. There are more than 3 dozen candidates who want to replace Brown as the state’s chief executive.

The topics most often mentioned as issues in the campaign are COVID and the management of the pandemic as well as the global economy.

Even if Brown doesn’t run for re-election, she doesn’t want to put the onus on the next Democratic nominee for the decisions she makes — a backlash for COVID restrictions that are either too heavy or not heavy enough. Managing the pandemic, education and the economy are the most important issues for voters, said Ben Gaskins, professor of political science at Lewis and Clark College,

“If there is enough satisfaction on a general level and if Republican candidates are not seen as too extreme on other issues, it is certainly possible that people will switch parties or not support the parties in power,” Gaskins said.

Chris Stout, an associate professor of political science at Oregon State University, said voters may take their frustrations with them to the polls.

“Low levels of approval for the governor are certain to persist for the party as a whole,” Stout said. “People often think about the performance of the predecessor when deciding to give that same party another chance.”

Stout also said he thinks it will be difficult midterm for Democrats to maintain control of the House. But predicting what will happen in 2 years in another presidential election is not possible because of everything that can happen with COVID during this time. And he thinks COVID and the economy will be where the problems come in 2024.

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