Election Coverage / Government Watch / Politics

Biden Heads to Oregon to Try to Quench Voter Revolt

AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Berman

Oregon

This weekend, Joe Biden is off to campaign in, of all states, Oregon. Oregon is not a swing state – Biden won it by 16% in 2020. Instead, Biden’s visit, intended to prop up the flagging campaign of the Democratic nominee for Governor, House Speaker Tina Kotek, is a sign that for all the talk about how abortion and “extremist” GOP candidates have somehow led to an alleged Democratic resurgence, Democrats have been unable to paper-over failures in governance when it comes to crime and inflation.

Oregon, which has not elected a GOP governor since 1982, and where Democrats have held 80% of the congressional delegation for the past two decades, is ground zero for this backlash. Every poll released over the last month has shown Republican gubernatorial nominee Christine Drazan leading Kotek, and Democrats at risk of losing up to three of their U.S. House seats.

A few months ago, I profiled how Oregon’s drift from light-blue to “left coast” bulwark had been driven by the increasing dominance of Portland and its metropolitan area over the rest of the state. Whereas George W. Bush came within a whisker of winning the state in 2000, and Republicans held one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats until 2009, the raw margins Democratic candidates gained out of Portland meant that presidential races began to become blowouts for Democrats.

This led many, including the state’s Democratic leadership, to conclude that a Republican could not win election in Oregon. But pride commeth before the fall, and that old nemesis seems to have come for Oregon’s Democrats.

The Democratic Party has maintained a stranglehold on state politics in Salem since long before Oregon became a “blue” state on the federal level. This was done through a shrewd recognition that while the growth of Portland provided them with a substantial advantage, they needed to maintain a minimal level of support outside of the city and its environs in order to win. Until recently, Democrats generally chose representatives of their contingent of candidates from outside Portland to run for statewide office. This approach was abandoned with the accidental elevation of Secretary of State Kate Brown to the governorship in 2015 following the resignation of Governor John Kitzhaber. Brown, the first LGBT individual to serve as governor of any state, had only represented safely Democratic Portland districts in the legislature before becoming Secretary of State. Her underperformances when she ran for election (50.5% in 2016, 50% in the landslide year of 2018) should have caused Democrats to worry.

Instead, they chose a clone of Brown this time around. Kotek, their nominee, was the first LGBT speaker of the Oregon House, represented a safely Democratic Portland seat, and was best known for her hardball tactics during redistricting, in which she intimidated GOP lawmakers who had tried to flee the state into passing a congressional map which divided up Portland in an effort to create five Democratic districts and only one Republican one. One victim of her hardball redistricting tactics was State Senator Betsy Johnson, a conservative Democrat who was drawn out of her seat and is now running for governor as an Independent, mounting a strong challenge. Johnson was endorsed by yet another redistricting victim, longtime Democratic congressman Kurt Schrader who lost his primary to an AOC-backed challenger, along with former Democratic governor Ted Kulongoski (2003-2011), and the co-founder of Nike, the state’s largest corporation.

Faced with polls showing Kotek in a close race with Drazan, the Republican nominee, as well as with Johnson, Democrats, rather than trying to make a positive case for Kotek, decided to go hard negative on Johnson, painting the life-long Democrat as a “machine-gun toting nut” in the hope that if they discredited her, Johnson’s support would flow to Kotek. Central to this strategy was a delusional belief that Oregon voters could not possibly actually support a Republican becoming governor, and therefore the only explanation for why they were trailing was that Johnson was splitting what Democrats regarded as their vote.

Only too late have Democrats realized the horrifying truth. Voters quite simply did not want to vote for Kotek, and if anything, Johnson was helping the Democrats. Recent polls have shown Drazan leading a two-way race by larger margins than a three-way race. In the third week of September, Clout Research found Republican Drazan leading a three-way race by a margin of 39%-35%-16% over Kotek and Johnson, similar to the 35%-33%-21% split DHM Research found the same week, and the 36%-34%-19% split Emerson College found a week later. However, in a two-way race, Drazan led Kotek by a margin of 53%-47%.

The explanation for these trends lies not just in voter opinions of the candidates, as is evident in the DHM polling. They hold toxic views of Kotek, and incumbent governor Kate Brown to be sure, but neither is hated in the same way as the city from which they both hail. No less than 72% of Oregon voters have an unfavorable view of Portland, and half have a very unfavorable view. By contrast, less than a fourth rate it positively.

Far from being outliers, these numbers are reflected across pollsters. Clout Research found Drazan at 42%/41% favorable/unfavorable, while Kotek languished at 37%/56%. Emerson found Drazan at 41%/40% and Kotek at 38%/50%, respectively. It is hardly surprising that in this climate, Democrats are desperate enough to beg Joe Biden for help, as his own underwater numbers, at 44%/47% in the state according to Emerson, make him a beloved figure when compared to Kotek.

The result of the Democrats’ strategy was that their attacks on Johnson, rather than bringing Johnson’s voters to Kotek, have only increased support for Drazan. It is not only voters who have been alienated. Phil Knight, the Nike co-founder who was Johnson’s largest financial supporter, has switched to backing Drazan in recent weeks as polls show her best placed to beat Kotek. Rather than uniting the anti-Republican vote, Democrats have inadvertently united the anti-Portland vote, with dire implications not just for Kotek, but for every Portland-linked candidate on the ticket.

Kotek is not the only Democrat in trouble in Oregon. In the 5th House District, where incumbent Kurt Schrader lost his primary to far-left challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Clout Research found Republican Lori Chavez-Remier leading 44%-34% in August, while Democratic-leaning PPP found Chavez-Remier leading 42%-41% in June. McLeod-Skinner’s own internal pollster only managed to find her up, 41%-38% in September, and as those were internal numbers we can assume that was the best she did on any given day over the course of the month.

Meanwhile, in the 6th District, which Kotek used such hardball tactics to draw as a safe Democratic seat, Democrat Andrea Salinas is struggling against Republican Mike Erickson. Clout found Erickson leading 43%-34% in August, while Cygnal found him leading 44%-39%, in September. Salinas’ own pollster was only able to produce numbers with her up 45%-44% in October.

Even the 4th Congressional district, where Republican Alek Skarlatos, who with three fellow Army soldiers helped stop a gunman on a Brussels-bound train, is seeking a rematch after his 6% loss in 2020, is far from safe for Democrats. Polls have the race within 5%.

In effect, not only do Democrats stand to lose the Oregon governorship for the first time in 36 years, but potentially more than half of their House seats in the state. They could well go from a 4-1 majority to a 4-2 minority in the delegation.

There is a touch of irony that the problems afflicting Democrats come back to the same place, the much-maligned city of Portland, whose descent into anarchy since 2020 helped fuel that 23%/73% favorability. Kotek is a product of Portland, and it was her efforts during redistricting to maximize Portland’s power by drawing it into as many districts as possible which triggered the revolt. It forced Betsy Johnson out of the Democratic Party, and ousted Schrader in his primary. Now, both are campaigning against her, and the race has become a referendum on whether the entire state of Oregon is to become Portland, just as the Oregon Democratic Party has under Kotek become the Portland Democratic committee.

Oregon Democrats may pray that Joe Biden will be able to turn their fortunes around with talk of the dangers of “insurrection,” but the problem they face is that the “insurrection” Oregon voters seem most concerned with is the one that has been occurring in Portland for the last three years. The greatest threat to democracy is Portland’s efforts to subjugate the state the way it has the Democratic Party. Without providing answers to those fears, Biden can only remind Oregon voters of what he has failed to do. And they have a preview of what their state, and the entire country, may look like if those failures continue.

Daniel Berman is a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He also writes as Daniel Roman.  


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Smili'in Jack
3 months ago

Portland is a lost cause anyway. If there were no changes made politically after the death and destruction caused by the democrats in 2020, then there will never be. No new business will move into that city, no commercial projects and no small businesses. Too bad, it’s always been a beautiful city and Oregon is a beautiful state only filed with too many worthless and stupid liberals.

Carl S.
3 months ago

Joe seems to think that his title as POTUS gives him credibility when his performance has shown him to be a disgrace to that office. Patriots will not pay any attention to the untruthful old geriatric reprobate.

Dale
3 months ago

Please note: they stopped a ” man with a gun” not “a gun forcing a man” there is a difference!!!

Miranda
3 months ago

If Oregonians still believed in JB. Well, they deserve what they would get on Nov. 8th.

PITTS
3 months ago

WE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE can only hope Joey puts his foot in it as usual. He is such a self-important ass and so full of himself that he will find it hard to do any good except with the most hard- line blue Demorats. Lets hope he does his usual good job and alienates a few more good people with enough brain power to think for themselves.

Steven Tapper
3 months ago

So anyone who promotes common sense is labeled an “extremist” by the Democrats? Reality is now going to kick them in the butt big time! The Democrats are great at labeling people that they disagree with but they are the real Extremists and now they are going to find out that they are out of step with the voters of all demographics.

Bruce P
3 months ago

It looks to me like Oregon might need some of the Democrat election stealing expertise very soon. It’s probably already in the works.

Clark Kent
3 months ago
Reply to  Bruce P

‘Probably’? The fix is already in, buddy.

Smili'in Jack
3 months ago
Reply to  Bruce P

Election stealing is considered a sporting event in democrat/blue states and cities.

dkp2015
3 months ago

Who wants this idiot stumping for them? NO ONE!!! Very, very simple – are you better off than you were 18 months ago?? How are those 401K’s IRA’s going there? How about your Community, Country, State, Country and World???

If these idiots win this election, it will be our last election!!!!

Clark Kent
3 months ago
Reply to  dkp2015

Soap box, ballot box, cartridge box’ – Abraham Lincoln.

Moses
3 months ago

This is not hard to figure out people. The federal workers are all democrats because they are all unionized. The teachers unions are all democrats, that means all kids in education are brought under the umbrella of democrats. The whole work force of the country, federal, state, city workers are all unionized democrats. The country was really lost to democratic control of all factions of government years and years ago. When you think of the creep of socialism into a country, that actually is communism. Socialism is the first step towards communism. There is no new information here, it is in all the dusty history books laying up on the book shelves in the schools. Nobody can read them now because the left doesn’t want anyone to. The one thing two years of Joe Biden has taught us is that we don’t want to be a communist country, but can we dig out of this hole. Are there enough republicans left, domestic terrorist in Joe Biden’s words, to take this country back? So did I answer your question about how the FBI can be a weapon of one political party?

Rich
3 months ago
Reply to  Moses

You mean the Federal Bureau of Intimidation?

Clark Kent
3 months ago
Reply to  Moses

Um, you do know the vast majority of Oregon voters don’t belong to any union? Nice try, no cigar.

GTPATRIOT
3 months ago

To Skip: your comment: “The dems are using the FBI to strong arm the population.” I agree. Why
would the FBI submit to any party ? Is the FBI not capable of carrying out its role of
law enforcement while resisting political pressure ? If not then why are the republicans
not blistering the FBI through the media ( Fox ?). Is the FBI a tool of one party only ?
As we learn more about the Russia Collusion Scandal which the FBI organized effort to dump Trump, it seems that the FBI is just a political tool. How did the Dem party take over the FBI ? If the repubs can’t stop this corruption or can’t see it coming the nation needs another option.
We repubs love to point the finger and then say there’s nothing we can do about it.
Why would any of us support or throw money at a pack of quitters like that. The Dems are super
stupid but they are NEVER quitters.

GTPATRIOT
3 months ago

How could any Dim lose in la..la….land Oregon ? Its not possible.
San Francisco, home of creeps, indigents, and libs can only hope to
be Oregon. When Communists grow up they move to Oregon.
After George Floyd, the Left Assault Team tore up Portland. And no one cared.
So does that mean that Portland isn’t worth caring about ? Maybe it isn’t.
If the city of Portland dosen’t care, why should any of us ?

Carmz
3 months ago
Reply to  GTPATRIOT

There’s Portland which is a giant sess pool no doubt and then there’s the rest of Oregon which has been controlled by these degenerates and mail in voting. Rural Oregon doesn’t agree with or support the B.S that goes on in Portland. Nor do we agree with what this beautiful state is turning into. How do you fight a corrupt super majority and mail in voting I haven’t figured that one out but we do fight. We have tried to recall Kate Brown twice but as you well know Tina Kotek counted the signatures so you can imagine how that went. Do Not ever allow mail in voting. Oregon hasn’t had a Republican governor since mail in voting was put in. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

nate
3 months ago

Voters in Oregon are too stupid to see the writing on the wall. Promise them a phone and a social security increase and they are all yours, country be damned.

Jackie
3 months ago
Reply to  nate

I resent that statement!! You shouldn’t generalize like that!! Not all people in Oregon are Democrats!! The problem is that there are many intelligent people in Oregon but the “too stupid” voters are those sheeple who only vote for a Democrat name that they recognize and they generally out number the intelligent Oregonians!!!

P2burner
3 months ago

Man…if your campaign was hanging by a thread, would you REALLY want Mumblin’ Joe to come to your “rescue “??

Clark Kent
3 months ago
Reply to  P2burner

Kind of like inviting Stalin to a corporate stockholders meeting.

Richard Eha
3 months ago

Vote the democrats OUT!!!

Nick
3 months ago

You don’t “quench” a revolt. You quell it or quash it.

Kind of embarrassing for a site that often complains about other people not being able to speak English.

David
3 months ago
Reply to  Nick

You’re straining at gnats Nikki…

A Gnat
3 months ago
Reply to  David

Hi David! I heard you’re the one I beat in the p*nis-measuring contest. Better luck next time! Nice burn on Nick, though. That guy had it coming.

Clark Kent
3 months ago
Reply to  A Gnat

No, he did not. Sounds like you are another perfect example of the public ‘education’ system.

Clark Kent
3 months ago
Reply to  David

The devil is in the details. Never forget that.

anna hubert
3 months ago

Voter revolt hm would it be something like peasant revolts against feudal lords? Are our lords worried about the serfs lifting their heads ?

zoe frost
3 months ago

The kiss-of-death culmination of the evil, demented, earpiece-wearing fraud puppet’s 3-Commie-run states tour. It will be interesting to see how sanctuary city Portland greets the pedo Commie fraud puppet…they are a centimeter less Commiefied-run than their evil, insane neighbors in lefty, proggy, anti-Republic Commiefornia.

Prediction: Even though Portland is chock full of “woke” stinkin Socialist/Marxist expletive traitors and their clueless indoctrinated useful idiot followers, it will be the usual handfull of traitors and/or useful idiots, and hundreds of pro-Republic, flag waving patriots shouting ‘Lets Go Brandon’ and giving him the proverbial middle finger. Everyone with a functioning brain who have refused to drink the koolaid and actually research the massive destructive and horrific changes going on. despise Chicom/Globalist owned puppet biden for being the figurehead of the cabal intentionally destroying our Republic… it’s not accidental, nor is it due to stupidity (although they are some of the dumbest, most desperate traitors on the planet).

William C Smith
3 months ago

His appearance should convince Oregon voters to continue the revolt.

Jeb
3 months ago

I sense the mood across America is changing. Even in deep blue areas people are hungry, cold and can’t afford gas to get to the job…

Skip
3 months ago

Am very suspicious of the voting process across the country. The democrats show incredible audacity with their lies and deception. It appears that the democrats are grooming Americans for a fascist government, using the FBI to strong arm the population into submission. This is exactly how the Germans cajoled and influenced the German people to accept Nazism. Read Eric Metaxas newly published book, “Letter to the American church”.

Oregon is strange State with a strange history and with a majority population who seem to have skewed values. The city of Portland is a true mystery. Why did the people stand back and do nothing when the rioters ransacked the city? 25years ago militant Muslims were allowed to establish a military training camp in Klamath Falls with rifle and grenade ranges. At the time, the FBI did nothing to stop it. In fact the FBI and someone in our government give some these murderous traitors money, a lot of money. Google it. What is wrong with Americans?!?

Yes, American democrats are true enemies of the state, as they do not support the US Constitution. So, what is the country to do?

MERITREADER
3 months ago
Reply to  Skip

VOTE REPUBLICAN ALL THE WAY, STRAIGHT TICKET…. AND DO NOT GIVE AN INCH TO THE FASCISTS WHO WANT TO KEEP US DOWN AND OUT.

Rich
3 months ago
Reply to  MERITREADER

Then as the republicans gain more conservative politicians that stand for American values, vote out the RINO’s!

David
3 months ago
Reply to  Skip

A very insightful post, Skip…

Clark Kent
3 months ago
Reply to  David

If you are a hamster…

Clark Kent
3 months ago
Reply to  Skip

‘Strange state with a strange history’? Facts, please.

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