Kate Brown Sails to Easy Victory in Oregon Governor's Race

Democrat Tobias Read holds onto slim lead in three-way state treasurer's race.

Kate Brown became the second woman in Oregon history elected governor tonight, as she easily defeated her Republican challenger, Dr. Bud Pierce.

Brown became governor on Feb. 18, 2015 when former Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned. Tonight, she won the right to serve out the rest of his term as the state's elected chief executive.

Pierce, a first-time candidate who largely self-funded his campaign with wealth he built running three Salem oncology clinics, never really identified a vulnerability of Brown's he could exploit.

The economy has been strong since Brown became governor, and other than botched transportation funding package in the 2015 legislative session, her administration has been largely unblemished by error and free of scandal.

The good news for Brown is she won without breaking a sweat. The bad news is that with Measure 97 going down to defeat, she'll have to preside over a legislative session next year that begins with a $1.4 billion deficit. And if she wants to keep her job, she'll have to run again in 2018.

At 9:10, Brown took the stage after a warm introduction from her mentor, former Gov. Barbara Roberts.

"I just spoke to my opponents, Bud Pierce and [Independent Party nominee] Cliff Thomason," Brown said. "I thanked them both for running a positive, issue-focused race."

Brown spoke hopefully about passing a gun safety bill—perhaps less likely if the presidential race continues in Donald Trump's direction.

"I'm asking you, will you join me in the fight to pass common sense gun legislation? Brown asked. "Will you join me in the fight to invest in roads, bridges and mass transit? To provide good jobs in every corner of the state. To tackle climate change and most of all to lift every family our of poverty?"

The crowd, most seemingly in a state of disbelief at the direction of the presidential election, applauded politely, cheering the most when Brown's husband, Dan Little, and her mother joined her on stage.

In the race for state treasurer, Democrat Tobias Read, a state representative from Beaverton, holds a surprisingly slim 44 percent to 41 percent lead over Republican Jeff Gudman, a Lake Oswego city councilor.

Former Sen. Chris Telfer (R-Bend), running on the Independent Party ticket, was running third with a nine percent of the early vote.

Update at 10:15 pm Read took the stage in front of a crowd that had melted away to almost nothing.

His voice nearly gone, Read gave a brief speech. "I wanted to make sure that I'd won," Read said. "And I want to extend my thanks to my opponents, Jeff Gudman, Chris Telfer and Chris Henry for running a positive campaign. I hope they'll stay engaged."

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