NPR Story
5:30 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

With Primary Over, Oregon Gubernatorial Candidates Look To November

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 4:04 pm

This week's primary was mostly a formality for the two major party candidates for Oregon governor. Incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican challenger Dennis Richardson both had little more than token opposition.

  The real match-up comes in the fall.

John Kitzhaber was elected Oregon governor twice in the 1990s. He won a third term in 2010. And now, he'll be the first governor to try for a fourth.

He said in a Web ad that the state's job outlook has improved on his watch, and he’s helping to bridge the education achievement gap for low-income students. But he added, "These changes are fragile. They need to take root. And I want another four years to make sure that that happens."

On the GOP side is fiscal conservative Dennis Richardson. He’s been a long opponent of Obamacare. He hopes to exploit what he sees as Kitzhaber's chief vulnerability, the Cover Oregon debacle. To do that, the southern Oregon state rep will need to raise a lot of cash to introduce himself to voters statewide.

"I need your help," Richardson said on his campaign website. "Volunteer your time and contribute to this campaign. We can do it."

Richardson enters the general election far behind Kitzhaber when it comes to campaign cash. The incumbent's brought in four times as much as his challenger so far this year.

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