Nike co-founder Phil Knight says he will do anything to block Democrats from keeping their hold on Oregon’s gubernatorial seat Saturday.
Knight, 84, has poured cash into the campaigns of Democrat Tina Kotek’s opponents in the governors race. He helped to kickstart a campaign from Betsy Johnson, a former Democrat running as an independent, who is serving as a major spoiler for Kotek.
Johnson’s candidacy is giving Republican Christinze Drazan the opportunity she needs in a liberal electorate no longer confident in the state’s recent far-left policies.
“One of the political cartoons after our legislative session had a person snorting cocaine out of a mountain of white,” Knight told the New York Times on Saturday. “It said, ‘Which of these is illegal in Oregon?’ And the answer was the plastic straw.”
Knight went on to describe himself as “an anti-Tina person,” to NYT.
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Oregon has not elected a Republican governor since 1982, but polls show Drazan with a solid chance of taking the election. An Oct. 13 polling average from FiveThirtyEight has Drazan at a 3-point lead over Kotek, with 37.4% and 34.3% respectively. Meanwhile, Johnson sits at just 16.4% support.
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Drazan has styled herself as a moderate Republican in the race, focusing heavily on the issues of crime and homelessness.
“Tina Kotek and Betsy Johnson have been driving Kate Brown’s agenda for years. They’ve led Oregon down the wrong path,” Drazan said a recent ad. “Tina and Betsy haven’t fixed anything. In fact, they’ve made things worse.”
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“We need a new direction. My roadmap for Oregon cleans up our streets, stops the tax increases, and makes life more affordable for Oregon families. The stakes couldn’t be higher, but together we can do this,” she added.