President Joe Biden will be in Oregon Friday and Saturday as part of three-state tour which includes rallying Democratic support around gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek.
She’s in a tight, three-way race that national elections forecasters have called a “toss-up” with Republican Christine Drazan and independent Betsy Johnson.
Democrats are concerned Johnson, who is trailing Kotek and Drazan in the polls but is still has solid support, may pull enough votes from Kotek to have Oregon elect its first Republican governor in 35 years.
“That is a huge factor in this race,” David Turner, a spokesman for the Democratic Governor’s Association, told the AP. “I don’t think we would be talking about this race if Betsy Johnson wasn’t in it.”
Republicans for months have sensed an opportunity in the Oregon race, not just from Johnson’s bid but on a message of homelessness and crime that has been a top concern for the state’s voters.
Central Oregon Daily’s Allen Schauffler and Steve Kaufmann are in Portland to cover Biden’s visit Friday. Allen sent us back these dispatches from the trip.
2:22 p.m. — Arriving at the gate at Portland International Airport