Gov. Kate Brown wins re-election, Rep. Knute Buehler concedes in race
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has been re-elected, winning her first full term as leader of the Pacific Northwest state.
Brown bested Republican Knute Buehler, who proved to be a strong challenger in a state where the GOP has a difficult time winning high-profile offices.
Brown was first appointed governor in February 2015 after John Kitzhaber resigned. She easily was elected in her own right in 2016 to finish out the term of John Kitzhaber, who resigned amid accusations of influence peddling involving his fiancee.
The 58-year-old Brown was a long-time state lawmaker before becoming secretary of state in 2009.
Polls had indicated a tight race as Buehler has looked to topple incumbent Brown in his bid to retake the governor’s mansion for the Republicans in three decades. Brown has held a slight lead in those polls.
The Oregon governor’s race has become the most expensive in state history.
According to state records, Brown received more than $10 million in cash contributions while Buehler got more than $13.2 million.
Nike co-founder Phil Knight poured $2.5 million into Buehler’s campaign. The large amount of money flowing to Buehler from a single individual prompted Independent Party candidate Patrick Starnes to drop out of the race within days of Election Day. He then threw his support behind Brown.
Starnes campaigned almost exclusively on campaign finance reform.
As the final ballots came in Tuesday, it was unclear how the suspension of his candidacy will affect the final tally.
Buehler campaigned as a moderate, distancing himself from President Donald Trump. Brown countered that Buehler’s record in the Legislature showed his political tent is pitched in the conservative camp.
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