As Ballots for May Primary Arrive, So Does a Barrage of Attack Ads Against a Candidate Not on the Ballot

Unaffiliated candidate for governor Betsy Johnson is getting under Democrats’ skin.

As most Oregonians begin receiving their ballots for the May 17 primary election, a series of YouTube ads targeting unaffiliated candidate for governor Betsy Johnson have also gone live.

The timing is interesting. Although she served in the Legislature for 20 years as a Democrat representing Columbia County, first in the House and later in the Senate, Johnson quit the Legislature and the party to run for governor. So unlike the Democratic and Republican hopefuls, she is not on the primary ballot.

Today, however, a group called Oregonians for Ethics began circulating ads attacking Johnson. The group has gotten funding from the Democratic Governors Association; Service Employees International Union; the Oregon Education Association; the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees; the Oregon League of Conservation Voters; and a couple of trial lawyers.

Johnson has raised $6.7 million, far more than any other candidate. Oregonians for Ethics has raised $153,000. Carol Butler, a political consultant working with the group, said it will seek to inform voters about Johnson’s record on the environment, gun control and issues important to working families.

Here’s what the group released today:

“Not With Us”

“Worth Protecting”

Johnson pushed back on the narrative.

“The far left has had a monopoly on power long enough,” Johnson said. “They fear the big change a common-sense, no-nonsense governor will bring to Salem. They’re trying to call me a climate denier because I stood up for working class jobs and paychecks. Climate change is real, but their solution wasn’t. That’s why we need an independent governor—to take the best ideas from both parties and finally move the state forward.”