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Betsy Johnson submits signatures to add her name to Oregon's November ballot

Johnson is running for governor as an unaffiliated candidate, which means she skipped the primary election and instead needs to qualify via signature-gathering.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson turned in tens of thousands of signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State's office Tuesday afternoon, aiming to make her bid for Oregon governor official and appear on the November ballot alongside Democrat Tina Kotek and Republican Christine Drazan.

Major party candidates for Oregon governor compete in primary elections to secure their party's nomination for the general election, but candidates who are not affiliated with any party can also appear on the November ballot if they gather enough voter signatures.

Under Oregon law, the requisite number of signatures is equal to 1% of the number of votes cast in the most recent presidential election in the state, which in this case is 23,744.

In a Monday press release, Johnson's campaign said that she would deliver "well over" that number to the Secretary of State's office the next day.

RELATED: Top Oregon gubernatorial candidates meet for first debate

Just after noon Tuesday, Johnson briefly addressed media and campaign staff gathered on the steps of the Oregon Capitol before heading inside, followed by several staffers pushing hand trucks loaded with boxes of signature forms.

In a subsequent press release, her campaign said it had turned in 48,214 signatures, more than twice the requisite amount. The signatures must be verified by the office's elections division by Aug. 30 for Johnson to qualify.

Johnson announced her candidacy last fall and has been running a technically unofficial but nonetheless full bore campaign this year, including major fundraising, frequent public appearances and a slew of online and TV adds.

It was widely expected that she would be able to meet the signature threshold, and the race for governor has been consistently described as a three-way contest following Kotek's and Drazan's primary election victories even though Johnson has not yet formally qualified.

RELATED: A 'potential' candidate? What Betsy Johnson still needs to qualify for the ballot and why that matters

Johnson previously served in the Oregon State Senate as a Democrat, but chose to take the nonaffiliated route in her run for governor, seeking to position herself as a centrist alternative to what she has characterized as the "extreme" positions of the two major political parties.

Her campaign has attracted significant financial support, raising more than $7 million this year including large individual donations from big names in Oregon's business world like Nike co-founder Phil Knight and heavy equipment company The Pape Group.

Tina Kotek previously served as Oregon House Speaker and Christine Drazan served as Oregon House Minority Leader. All three candidates resigned from their legislative positions last year or earlier this year to focus on their campaigns for governor.

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