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Oregon Sen. Betsy Johnson to run for governor as independent

"Having to choose between another left-wing liberal promising more of the same or a right-wing Trump apologist — is no choice at all," she wrote in her announcement.
Credit: Oregon Department of Transportation
Oregon Sen. Betsy Johnson announced plans to run for governor in the 2022 primary election on Oct. 14, 2021.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon state Sen. Betsy Johnson plans to run for governor in 2022 without the backing of any political party.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Johnson announced her plans in an email Thursday. 

"With an election for Governor fast approaching, Oregonians are eager for a fresh start and new leadership," she wrote. "But having to choose between another left-wing liberal promising more of the same or a right-wing Trump apologist – is no choice at all. Oregonians deserve better than the excesses and nonsense of the extreme left and radical right. Oregonians are ready to move to the middle where sensible solutions are found."

Johnson, from Warren, would be up for re-election in her northwest Oregon Senate district next year and will relinquish her Democratic party registration by the spring.  

"I was raised in a moderate Republican family and became a Democrat because the Republican Party had moved too far to the right," she wrote. "For twenty years, I’ve been an independent-minded, pro-choice, pro-jobs Democrat proudly serving the people of Northwest Oregon. This is who I am."

Johnson acknowledged it will be expensive and challenging to mount a competitive campaign without major party support. 

Johnson joins a growing list of people who have announced they're running, or their intent to run. This month, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof filed paperwork to form a candidate committee, which allows him to fundraise for a political campaign and hire staff. In June, he told KGW's Laural Porter he was considering running as a Democrat.

Other notable candidates who've also announced their gubernatorial run include Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and state treasurer Tobias Read, both Democrats, and Bud Pierce, a Republican who lost to Gov. Kate Brown in the 2016 election. 

Here are the candidates who've officially filed to run for Oregon governor:

  • Bridget Barton- Republican
  • Wilson R Bright- Democrat
  • Peter W Hall- Democrat
  • Casey M Kulla- Democrat
  • Dave Lavinsky- Democrat 
  • Kerry McQuisten- Republican
  • Brandon C Merritt- Republican 
  • Bud Pierce- Republican 
  • Stan Pulliam- Republican 
  • Amber R Richardson- Republican 
  • Michael Trimble- Democrat 

Brown, a Democrat, cannot run for re-election in 2022 due to term limits.