Sen. Betsy Johnson Is Running for Oregon Governor as an Unaffiliated Candidate
Oregon state Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) has told supporters she’s running for governor as an independent.
“Oregonians deserve better than the excesses and nonsense of the extreme left and the radical right,” she wrote in an email today obtained by WW. “Oregonians are ready to move to the middle where sensible solutions are found.
“That’s why I have decided to run for governor as an independent leader unaffiliated with any party and loyal only to the people of Oregon.”
Johnson, 70, long the most conservative elected member of her party, will attempt to carve out a third lane in what’s already a crowded field of contenders for governor.
Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Treasurer Tobias Read have entered the Democratic primary, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof appears days away from making a formal announcement. Republican contenders include Salem oncologist Dr. Bud Pierce, Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam and the political consultant Bridget Barton, with GOP power brokers trying to recruit House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby).
In the Oregon Senate, Johnson has long served as a brake on her party’s more progressive ambitions—playing a role similar to that of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin on the national stage—until Democrats achieved a supermajority in 2020 and blunted her de facto veto on legislation. Since then, Johnson has aligned openly with Oregon voters who feel alienated from the Portland-controlled party, even appearing at rallies of the controversial logging and trucking group Timber Unity.