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Race for Oregon governor could shape up to be most expensive in state history, analysts say | Straight Talk

With candidate spending and outside money, the race could approach $100 million.

SALEM, Ore — Following Oregon's primary election on May 17, the state's general election in November is shaping up to be historic and expensive.

For the first time in state history, all the major candidates for Oregon governor are women. Former House Speaker Tina Kotek secured the Democratic nomination, former Republican House leader Christine Drazan won the GOP nomination, and it's expected former longtime Democratic lawmaker Betsy Johnson will qualify to be on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate.

The governor's race is also expected to be the most expensive when it comes to campaign spending in state history. 

KGW political analyst Len Bergstein and Republican strategist Rebecca Tweed were guests on this week's episode of "Straight Talk" to discuss their takeaways on the election results and their thoughts about the general election in November.

Tweed predicted the campaign for governor will be the most expensive the state's ever seen for two reasons. She said voters are engaged, angry, and passionate.

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"First, [voters] are going to need as much communication and I think convincing or persuasion that candidate A or B is the best candidate. It will take a lot to reach them," she said.

Secondly, with all the money already raised by Betsy Johnson, Tweed said that's a good indication the governor's race will break spending records.

"When you have a gubernatorial candidate who has already raised $8 million and isn't even on the ballot, that's going to be a $70-80 million dollar campaign. Just the candidates spending themselves. Before you throw in probably another $20 million of national money that comes in," Tweed said.

Bergstein said there will also be a lot of dark money, where it's unclear who is funding campaign messages. He encouraged voters to be vigilant this election cycle and try to figure out who is trying to persuade them.

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"One of my big themes is that I hope Oregon voters will do what they have done in other elections. Find out who's trying to persuade them and who's speaking for the campaigns. They've got to sort through this. Find out what issues matter to them. Who's being authentic in talking to them," Bergstein said.

Tweed and Bergstein also discussed the long delayed ballot counting in Clackamas County, their thoughts about the races in the 5th and 6th Congressional districts, and what they expect to see in the Portland City Council runoff race between Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and her opponent.

Straight Talk airs Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

Straight Talk is also available as a podcast.

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