In an important milestone in her quest to become only the second Oregon governor ever not to be affiliated with a political party, former state Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappose) today submitted 48,214 signatures to Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s Elections Division for validation.
Johnson needs 23,744 valid signatures to appear on the November ballot. Elections officials have until Aug. 30 to determine whether she’ll make the cut.
“Coming onto the ballot through the power of people’s signatures is one of the most meaningful—and foundational—elements of my campaign,” Johnson said in a statement.
“As I’ve been traveling the state talking to Oregonians, one thing is very clear—they are ready for a real change, and there’s no bigger change than electing an independent governor loyal only to the people of Oregon.”
Opponents to the left and right of Johnson, who carved out a reputation as a moderate in her 20-year legislative career, took the opportunity to blast her.
“It looks all but certain that Oregonians will see two Democrats on their ballots this November: Tina Kotek and Betsy Johnson,” said Trey Rosser, campaign manager for Republican nominee Christine Drazan.
“Oregonians, if you are happy with the way things are going in our state, then you have two great choices in these candidates. Either one will give you a third term of Kate Brown’s failed agenda. But if you are looking for someone who will lead our state in a new direction starting on Day One, then your candidate is Christine Drazan.”
The AFL-CIO, an umbrella group representing numerous Oregon unions who strongly support Kotek, the Democratic nominee, also piled on.
“While Betsy Johnson may have qualified for the November ballot, she’s not qualified to represent the interests of working people in Oregon,” AFL-CIO president Graham Trainor said. “Her record of standing with corporations over the needs of workers speaks volumes about her priorities as a candidate for governor.”
Although she’s already raised more than $10 million for her campaign, as much as Drazan and Kotek combined, Johnson sounded a note similar to the complaint that Democratic candidate Nicholas Kristof voiced after the Oregon Supreme Court ruled in February he did not qualify for the ballot.
“By delivering more than twice the number of signatures needed, we’ve made it very difficult for the political establishment to imagine ways to keep me off the ballot,” she said. “We’re going to put the people back in charge of the state we love.”