State Sen. Betsy Johnson to make rare independent bid for governor

Sen. Betsy Johnson, a moderate Democrat from Scappoose, announced Thursday she is running for governor in 2022 as an independent.

Johnson, a member of the Oregon Legislature since 2001, said in an email announcement that she wanted to be a centrist option between the extremes of a “left-wing liberal” and a “right-wing Trump apologist.”

“Oregonians are ready to move to the middle where sensible solutions are found,” Johnson said.

The governor’s office will be open in 2022 as Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, is barred from running due to term limits.

Johnson would bypass the May primary and go directly on the November general election ballot by submitting valid signatures equivalent to 1% of the total votes cast in the last election for governor.

For 2022, that target is 23,744. Because signatures often turn out to be invalid, most campaigns aim for a buffer of at least 25% more than needed.

If successful, Johnson would face the winners of the major party primaries.

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