Tina Kotek joins Maura Healy as the first lesbian governors in US

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Democrat Tina Kotek has won the race for governor in Oregon, NBC News projects, narrowly defeating Republican Christine Drazan.

With her victory Kotek will be one of the first out lesbian governors in the United States. She joins another out lesbian governor-elect, Democrat Maura Healey of Massachusetts, in making history in the 2022 midterms.


Kotek previously broke barriers as the country’s first out lesbian speaker of a state House of Representatives, in 2013, and holding on to that role to become the state chamber's longest-serving speaker. 

In winning this year's race, Kotek overcame a multitude of factors working against Democrats in the state, including divisions within the party, a competitive third-party candidate siphoning voter from her, and a barrage of political attacks launched by the GOP candidate and aligned groups over rising crime and homelessness in the state.

In the days leading up to the election, polling had shown a dead heat between Kotek and Drazan, with independent Betsy Johnson polling in the mid-teens — peeling off what surveys showed was a large chunk of potential voters from Kotek. (Johnson was a Democratic state lawmaker for two decades.)

The close race sparked GOP hopes that voters in the reliably blue state — one that President Joe Biden won by 16 percentage points just two years ago — would elect its first Republican governor in 40 years.

Drazan came close, bombarding Kotek with relentless attacks over record-breaking crime and homelessness and tying her to term-limited Democratic Gov. Kate Brown — who has the highest disapproval ratings of any governor in the country — and Brown’s failure to address those issues.


Tags: Real Women

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