Governor’s Race: Can Kotek Absorb the Red Wave?
[correction: Republican gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan is pro-life, not choice as written in the original draft; forgive the error]
Chances are oh so slightly better than not that November 8 Oregon will elect its first Republican governor since 1982. Republican Christine Drazan currently holds a small lead in polls over Democrat Tina Kotek. The choice is stark between hardcore progressive Kotek and Drazan, who is pro-life, against vaccine mandates and anti gun control. Despite voter dissatisfaction with Democrats and their policies on crime and homelessness Drazan’s victory is still only possible due to a spoiler in the race.
Kotek was the Oregon House’s longest serving speaker until stepping down to run for governor. She doesn’t inspire warm feelings even from fellow Democrats, despite, or maybe because of, a reputation for effectiveness and having held down the seat unopposed through four election cycles. You probably have to bruise a lot of shins doing that.
Tina is vying to be the first openly lesbian governor in America, following the (presumably) first openly bisexual governor, retiring Kate Brown. In her horn-rimmed glasses, sport coats with wide collars and Rachel Maddow haircut she presents as something between androgyne and Chris Hayes, that is to say just barely to the masculine side.
Her cold sexless vibe may contribute to a lack of enthusiasm from the party’s non-white minorities. After she tried forcing out a Hispanic rep over multiple sexual abuse allegations he survived and filed a hostile workplace complaint claiming the terrifying epicene had given him PTSD. A congressional panel cleared Kotek, advising the claimant “grow a pair”. Okay, that’s not quite a direct quote but an accurate approximation; the complaint was dismissed on the grounds the Legislature is not a typical workplace and not bound by workplace standards of harassment.
In 2020 Black! Representative Janelle Bynum made a play for the speakership based on her being Black! and all, then ran a lazy and inept campaign as if to prove it. The more radical Kotek retained the speakership and then took advantage of the summer’s BLM riots to pass a slew of police reforms.
Kotek should probably be grateful Democrats didn’t get everything they wanted as the public mood has turned against those reforms–for which there was never any genuine enthusiasm outside the legislature and activist-anarchist complex. Homelessness and crime are the most cited citizen concerns now.
So what should have been a stroll for Kotek is more like a walk down a darkened Old Town sidewalk, trying not to step in shit.
As a non-Jewish white–lapsed Catholic, now Episcopalian (and Kotek looks every bit the modern Episcopalian minister)–she has only her out-of-fashion lesbianism keeping her out of the Coalition of the Fringes’ lowest tier, Straight White Woman (in the Coalition the less fringe the identity the lower the rank, and they’ve finally figured out white woman isn’t fringe at all).
Our Long Nightmare of Competent Male Leadership is Still Over
Whatever happens to Kotek, one “red wave” won’t be enough to wash away Portland’s progressive sand castles. But we are experiencing a red tide of sorts as three women contend for the governor’s office in a diverse field where lesbians, straight moms and the post-menopausal are all represented.
Betsy Johnson is the independent candidate, a retired Democratic representative recruited by the old liberal establishment to run as an independent. She lags the field and remains as a spoiler against Kotek. Nike founder Phil Knight gave her 3.75 million dollars and then, after she faded in the polls, donated another million to the Republican Drazan. In all likelihood Johnson agreed to stay in the race and drain votes from Kotek at the behest of Knight, whose issue is crime and has declared himself devoutly “anti Tina”.
Sitting governor Kate Brown is one of the least popular governors in the country and term-limiting out. She was selected in 2015 to replace the deposed John Kitzhaber, a popular Democrat with a reputation for competence who served two terms, retired and then returned to serve one and a half more before being run out of office after his long, longtime fiancee and acting First Lady was exposed using his office to peddle influence for her environmental non-profit and other tacky things.
She’s a story all her own, a charming working class adventuress with a seedy backstory who brought down what might become Oregon’s last competent governorship.
She was born in August 1967 in Seattle, the first person in her dirt-poor family born outside Oklahoma or Arkansas. Her mother had left her first husband for his younger brother, Orville Johnson, Hayes’ father…
Hayes has described her late teens and early 20s as “my lost years,” but her string of poor decisions carried into and after her Evergreen experience. She was 29 when she accepted $5,000 to marry Abraham B. Abraham, an Ethiopian man hoping to stay in the United States, and 30 when she and a boyfriend bought property in rural Okanogan County, Washington, hoping to set up a pot farm.
Hayes has portrayed herself as the unwitting and often unwilling victim. Of her marriage to Abraham: She was broke, desperate for cash to pay school expenses and, “associating with the wrong people.” Of the pot farm: A domineering and dangerous partner bullied her into the deal.
Those accounts differ from how those who know Hayes today describe her, and they run counter to the memories of people who encountered her then. Hayes has never been accused of being a shrinking violet, but rather a hurricane-force personality.
“The leader was her,” said Patrick Siemion, who brokered the 1997 real-estate deal for Hayes and her then-boyfriend, Karl Topinka. “She did all the talking, all the negotiating.”
She could be a character in a Bret Easton Ellis novel.
The outline of this saga resembles many a “me too” takedown, where an old fashioned sex scandal real or contrived is used to oust a man who is then replaced, for progress, with a woman. Kitzhaber still probably doesn’t know what hit him. There’s no fool like an old fool–especially where women are concerned.
State Ballot Initiatives: Guns and Slaves
Measure 114 requires a permit from the Oregon State Police to purchase handguns, establishes a database of gun owners and limits the sale or manufacture of magazines to ten rounds. It appears headed for victory. The ballot summary:
Oregon law currently allows persons over age 18 to acquire firearms (federal law requires age 21 for some handgun purchases), seller/ transferor must request a criminal background check. Measure requires permit from local law enforcement to acquire firearm; person must pay fee, submit photo ID, fingerprints, complete approved safety training, pass criminal background check, not be prohibited from possessing firearms; officer may deny permit to person believed danger to self or others. Permit issued within 30 days, valid 5 years. Permit denials appealable. Must present permit, pass background check to acquire firearm. State Police creates/ maintains permit/ firearm database. Magazines over 10 rounds, or readily modifiable to exceed 10 rounds, prohibited; exception for current owners /inheritors. Exceptions for law enforcement, armed forces. Criminal penalties. Other provisions.
The measure made the ballot by petition introduced by “interfaith group” Lift Every Voice Oregon, now leading the predictable suspects in the Yes campaign. In donations they’re out-raising the No camp by about 7 to 1.
Ballotpedia on how measures make the ballot through petition:
…[T]he signatures of at least 1,000 electors are required to trigger a review by state officials, a period of public commentary, and the drafting of a ballot title…
Moreover, Oregon is one of several states that require a certain number of signatures to accompany an initiative petition application. The signatures of at least 1,000 electors are required to trigger a review by state officials, a period of public commentary, and the drafting of a ballot title. Prior to gathering these initial 1,000 signatures, petitioners must submit the text of the measure, a form disclosing their planned use of paid circulators, and a form designating up to three chief petitioners. The 1,000 preliminary signatures count toward the final total required.
The measure made the ballot with just over 112, 000 signatures.
Measure 112 Removes language allowing slavery and involuntary servitude from the state constitution. The language is in the original section establishing Oregon as a free state, outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude except for as criminal punishment.
Section 34. Slavery or involuntary servitude. There shall be neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude in the State, otherwise than as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.
The section was eventually amended to prohibit the in-migration of Blacks! entirely, and that history is positively cherished by the radical left now. The original prohibition of slavery was motivated in large part by economic protectionism.
White emigrants who came to present-day Oregon during the 1840s and 1850s generally opposed slavery, but many also opposed living alongside African Americans. Many were nonslaveholding farmers from Missouri and other border states who had struggled to compete against those who owned slaves. To avoid a similar competitive situation in Oregon, they favored excluding Blacks entirely, although a small number did settle in region. A few immigrants brought slaves to Oregon during this time, taking advantage of the lack of enforcement of Oregon’s anti-slavery laws.
Oregon’s small white population had voted on July 5, 1843, to prohibit slavery by incorporating into Oregon’s 1843 Organic laws a provision of the 1787 Northwest Ordinance: “There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The law was amended, however, on June 26, 1844, by the provisional government’s new legislative council, headed by Missouri immigrant Peter Burnett. As amended, the law prohibited slavery, gave slaveholders a time limit to “remove” their slaves “out of the country,” and freed slaves if their owners refused to remove them.
The effect was to legalize slavery in Oregon for three years. Moreover, once freed, a former slave could not stay in Oregon—a male would have to leave after two years, a female after three. Any free Black who refused to leave would be subject to lashing, a provision that was known as “Peter Burnett’s lash law.” Burnett, who later became the first U.S. governor of California, gave this explanation for his support for the law: “The object is to keep clear of that most troublesome class of population [Blacks]. We are in a new world, under the most favorable circumstances and we wish to avoid most of those evils that have so much afflicted the United States and other countries.”
Oregon was the only such free state with exclusionary laws–it had three–which don’t appear to have been much enforced.
The second exclusion law was enacted by the Territorial Legislature on September 21, 1849. This law specified that “it shall not be lawful for any negro or mulatto to enter into, or reside” in Oregon, with exceptions made for those who were already in the territory. The law targeted African American seamen who might be tempted to jump ship. The preamble to the law addressed a concern that African Americans might “intermix with Indians, instilling into their minds feelings of hostility toward the white race.” The law was rescinded in 1854.
At least one person was expelled under the law. Jacob Vanderpool, reportedly a sailor from the West Indies, arrived in Oregon in 1850 and was arrested and expelled from the territory. Exclusion orders were issued against at least three other Blacks during this period, but they received enough support from whites that they were allowed to stay…
The [exclusionary] clause was never enforced, although several attempts were made in the legislature to pass an enforcement law. The 1865 legislature rejected a proposal for a county-by-county census of Blacks that would have authorized the county sheriffs to deport Blacks. A Senate committee killed the last attempt at legislative enforcement in 1866. The clause was rendered moot by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, although it was not repealed by voters until 1926. Other racist language in the state constitution was removed in 2002.
Although the exclusion laws were not generally enforced, they had their intended effect of discouraging Black settlers. The 1860 census for Oregon, for example, reported 128 African Americans in a total population of 52,465. In 2013, only 2 percent of the Oregon population was Black
Alas, this history is crack to the anarchists dismantling the state who never tire of citing it as proof of Oregon’s irredeemable racism; they doth protest way, way too much.
Measure 111 amends the Oregon Constitution to declare health care “a fundamental right” and require the state provide it to the poor and disabled. Oregon already offers a healthcare plan for low income residents. The measure would enshrine the right and its funding against other essential services in the Constitution. The potential cost is not considered.
Multnomah County Ballot Initiatives: Pronouns, Disenfranchisement by Wetback
Measure 26 31: Should charter require county to extend the right to vote, including to noncitizens, to the fullest extent allowed by law?
State law provides that county residents who are United States citizens 18 years of age or older are eligible to register to vote. Registered voters can vote in local, state, and federal elections, with limited exceptions (for example, under state law a person sentenced to a term of incarceration for a felony is not eligible to vote during the term of incarceration). Current county charter does not address voter registration or qualifications for elections for county officers and on county measures.
This charter amendment recommended by the Charter Review Committee requires the county to extend the right to vote, including to noncitizens, to the fullest extent allowed by law. This amendment would apply to the right to vote in elections for county officers (chair, commissioner, sheriff, and auditor) and on county measures (initiatives, referenda, and referrals of county ordinances or charter amendments).This amendment would not immediately change existing voting rights in county elections, but directs the county to take action to extend the right to vote as allowed by law.
This appears a direct violation of federal law:
(a)It shall be unlawful for any alien to vote in any election held solely or in part for the purpose of electing a candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, or Resident Commissioner, unless—
(1) the election is held partly for some other purpose;
(2) aliens are authorized to vote for such other purpose under a State constitution or statute or a local ordinance; and
(3) voting for such other purpose is conducted independently of voting for a candidate for such Federal offices, in such a manner that an alien has the opportunity to vote for such other purpose, but not an opportunity to vote for a candidate for any one or more of such Federal offices.
The county can allow illegals to vote in local and state elections but it can’t allow them to vote for national office. Unless they plan a special limited local ballot for illegals, which they don’t, this is illegal.
Put on the ballot by recommendation of the county’s charter review committee, which reviews the charter every six years.
Measure 26 30: Should county charter be amended to replace gender binary pronouns (including he, she, his, and her) with gender neutral terms?
The existing county charter uses gender binary pronouns including he, she, his, and her, throughout the document in sections 4.10 (Qualifications), 4.20 (Terms Of Office; Successive Terms; Running For Office in Midterm), 4.40 (Vacancies – Causes), 6.10 (Chair Of The Board), 6.50 (Sheriff), and 7.20 (Civil Service Commission). In addition, existing charter section 7.40(4) provides that references to the masculine gender in that chapter of the charter refer to the masculine, feminine, neuter, or applicable noun.
This charter amendment would replace gender binary pronouns throughout the charter with gender neutral terms appropriate to the context. For example, use of the pronouns “he or she” in section 6.50 to refer to the sheriff would be replaced with the term “the sheriff.”This amendment also would remove existing charter section 7.40(4) because that section would no longer be necessary after removal of all references to gender.
Put on the ballot by recommendation of the Charter Review Committee
City of Portland Initiative: A Rank Choice
26 228 Should Administrator manage city government, 12-member Council (three from each district) make laws, voters elect officials using ranked choice process?
The first would make changes to Portland’s city government structure. The measure would provide a City Administrator, supervised by the mayor, to manage daily operations, including hiring, firing, and supervising bureau directors. The mayor would no longer be a member of the City Council, but can introduce laws and break tie votes on non-emergency ordinances. Salaries of elected officials’ salaries would be decided by an Independent Salary Commission.
The second would expand the City Council to twelve members. The city would be divided into four geographic districts created by the Independent District Commission with three councilors representing each district. The district boundary lines would be adjusted every decade beginning in 2030 based on census population data.
The third would establish ranked-choice voting that would allow voters to rank candidates in order of preference. Primary elections would be eliminated. The process for tallying ballots would depend on the office. For Mayor and Auditor, if no candidate receives over 50% of the votes in the first round, the candidate receiving fewest votes would be eliminated, and that candidate’s votes are transferred to each voter’s next-highest ranked candidate. The process would continue until a candidate exceeds a 50% majority. For City Council, candidates win when they exceed a threshold set by the number of available positions. Ballots would be counted in rounds. Any candidate exceeding the threshold would be elected, and that candidate’s votes above the threshold would be proportionally transferred to other candidates based on voter preference. The candidate receiving the fewest votes in each round would be eliminated, and that candidate’s votes would be transferred to other candidates based on voters’ preferences. The process would continue for as many rounds as necessary until all positions are filled.
Referred to the ballot by the Portland Charter Review Commission.
Portland’s commission form of government–the last or one of the last such in the US–where four commissioners are elected city-wide and the mayor sits on the council–is hated by all as dysfunctional and ineffective. Ranked choice voting and the expansion of the city council will favor the Coalition and is supported by progressives.
White Portland to End Jo Ann?
Police abolitionist leader and city commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty appears headed for defeat as challenger Rene Gonzalez out-polls her around 2 to 1.
Like Kotek in Salem, Hardesty’s success effecting anti-police laws leaves her closely identified with the decay in public order voters are poised to reject. I don’t expect this to be the last we see of the wraith-like Hardesty, who promised “to end white Portland” upon her election and went to it with boundless resentment. I hate to think what she will be like after losing.
But Jo Ann’s story deserves its own post later.