Oregon governor Kate Brown (D.), an ally of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek, is the most-hated governor in America for the second year in a row, according to a poll published Tuesday.
Fifty-six percent of voters disapprove of Brown’s leadership over the past four years, a Morning Consult survey found. Just 40 percent of voters approve of Brown’s performance, a drop from 43 percent in 2021. Brown’s tenure has been marked by rising crime and a spike in deaths related to drug overdoses.
The poll comes as Kotek seeks to distance herself from Brown, who has endorsed Kotek’s campaign. Kotek served as Oregon House speaker for seven of Brown’s years in the governor’s office., during which time she voted for a controversial drug decriminalization bill Brown signed into law last year.
Kotek has criticized Brown for the law’s implementation but defended the measure in gubernatorial debates. In the most recent debate, Kotek pushed for a "meth stabilization center" in Portland. The city's first stabilization center closed in 2019 because its own staff said it wasn’t properly treating addicts.
Portland, Oregon’s largest city, set an all-time high for homicides in 2021, and drug overdose deaths more than doubled in the state between 2019 and 2021.
Kotek’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Kotek is polling neck and neck with Republican candidate Christine Drazan, who has taken a slight lead in the four most recent voter surveys. Betsy Johnson, an unaffiliated candidate, trails behind both by about 10 points.
Drazan campaign communications director John Burke told the Washington Free Beacon that Kotek "was Brown's co-pilot during Oregon's decade of decline."
"Electing her would be nothing more than a third term of Brown's failed agenda," Burke said.
Johnson was just as blunt. "If you like Kate Brown, just wait for Tina Kotek," she told the Free Beacon.
Donors are spending big on the candidates as the race is set to be one of the most competitive this cycle. Nike cofounder Phil Knight threw his weight behind Drazan last week, donating $1 million to her campaign. He contributed $2 million to Johnson’s campaign last month before Drazan and Kotek began to pull ahead in the race. Democrats have contributed more than $3 million to Kotek’s campaign this year in an effort to keep Oregon blue.