Governor’s Poll shows Donald Trump’s lockdown on Oregon Republicans

The Oregon Republican Party, decades ago a party of moderate centrists like Tom McCall and Mark Hatfield, is now extremely loyal to Donald Trump and would prefer its gubernatorial candidate to look a lot like the former president, even if that means the candidate cannot win in Oregon, a new poll has been found.

In the poll of 600 likely Oregon Republican primary voters in early November, 75% said they viewed Trump positively, and 58% believed the 2020 election was “stolen” from him. Just over 60% of those polled said Republican statewide candidates should be “more like Trump,” while 23% said they should be less like him.

That was enough to prompt John von Schlegell, a prominent Portland business executive and political novice who commissioned the poll when he was considering running for the race, to abandon the notion.

“After looking at all the data, even though I think a moderate Republican would be really good for this state, it would be hard to get away with it,” said von Schlegell, co-founder of Endeavor Capital, one one of the most famous in Portland. private equity firms.

He has contributed to conservation groups, enthusiastically supported the removal of the dam on the Klamath River, and supported moderate Democrats like US Senator Ron Wyden.

“I’m not sure my principles would appeal to the Republican Party today,” he said. “I am not a Trump sidekick.”

The poll, conducted by Columbus, Ohio-based Republican pollster Fallon Research & Communications, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

He found that 53% of likely Republican voters were the most likely to vote for a gubernatorial candidate who “focuses on fighting liberals to protect our fundamental freedoms, defend our borders, and prevent masks and critical theory. of race to be imposed on our children “. Only 35%, in contrast, said they would be more likely to vote for one “that focuses on economic issues such as promoting opportunities and job growth, lowering taxes for class families. mean and government accountability “.

A plurality, 48%, said it would favor “a candidate who will share and defend Republican values, even if he risks losing the general election again to the Democrats”. Only 36% said they would favor a Republican candidate who can win the general election but is more moderate, while 16% said they were unsure.

Long before the May primary that will determine the party’s candidate for state office, the most common Republican voters – around 67% – don’t know who they will support, the poll found.

Bud Pierce, the Salem doctor who was the party’s 2016 candidate before being defeated by Kate Brown in the general election, garnered far more support than any of the other Republicans named in the poll. When asked who they would vote for if the primary was tomorrow, 13.7% went with Pierce.

Conservative President and Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, Dallas Heard of Roseburg, was next with 3.1%, followed by Medford entrepreneur Jessica Gomez with 2.3% and Republican House leader Christine. Canby’s Drazan, with 1.9.

Some Republicans are optimistic about their party’s chances in 2022. Russ Walker, a political consultant to Keizer, said the party had the best chance of winning the gubernatorial race since 2010, when Chris Dudley narrowly lost to John Kitzhaber.

“People are so frustrated,” Walker said. “Crime, the homeless, schools. Anyone who controlled and allowed this environment to grow and grow worse, they are vulnerable.

But the 2022 race will face a never-before-seen unknown in modern Oregon politics. An elected official who has a proven track record in raising substantial campaign donations – longtime moderate Democratic lawmaker Senator Betsy Johnson de Warren – is considering seeking the highest office of state without the support of either the other of the main political parties.

In a state with far more registered voters who are also not affiliated with any party – 1.2 million – than its 730,000 registered Republicans, Johnson’s role as a spoiler could be as important as it is unpredictable at this point. .

The poll contained a piece of good news for Johnson. 30% of likely Republican voters agreed they were “open to the possibility” of voting for her. John Horvick, of DHM Research, a Portland-based research and polling firm, said he wouldn’t be surprised to see strong Republican support for Johnson from party members tired of being beaten.

“If you are a Republican voter, what have you got to lose by voting for Betsy? Horvick said. “She leans to the right, she is (now) unaffiliated. And you haven’t won for 40 years. (Two-term Republican governor Vic Atiyeh was last elected in 1982.)

Johnson’s decision posed another challenge for von Schlegell, who felt they would draw from the same pool of voters. Moreover, some of his deep-pocketed friends had previously thrown their influence and money behind Johnson, whose coffers are now filled with more than $ 2 million.

Tim Boyle, president and CEO of Columbia Sportswear, has contributed more than $ 100,000 to Johnson’s campaign. “It’s his pragmatism, his experience in government and his rural credibility, which I think will be really important,” he said.

Fallon researchers interviewed more than 600 Oregonians who identified themselves as Republicans in early November. Over 50% of them said they were 65 or over.

Horvick, whose company also conducts political polls, said the report’s methodology seemed solid. Asked about the ages of those interviewed, Horvick said Republican primary voters were generally older.

– Jeff Manning

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