BEND, OR -- The latest polls show Oregon's race for Governor between incumbent Kate Brown and Republican Knute Buehler is too close to call, ahead of Tuesday's election. On Monday, Buehler drummed up last-minute support in Bend and made a final push to get out the vote.
He says one of his biggest campaign triumphs has been helping people see how Governor Kate Brown has failed to lead, "And we certainly hear people saying over and over again that there hasn't been adequate leadership from a Governor; a Governor who is more independent and less partisan, a Governor who is more interested in innovative ideas than a particular ideology." He's disappointed Brown ran an almost 100% negative campaign against him, "Leaders don't divide people, they unite people. They build bridges, not walls." He tells KBND News her campaign is desperate for votes, "And we feel just the opposite. We have the wind at our back, there's growing momentum, there's recognition that an historic win is coming, and a win that will produce change that the state clearly needs."
The last time Oregonians elected a Republican Governor was 1982. But, Buehler is optimistic, "Look; who could not feel that way when you're ready to produce an historic victory in Oregon, and importantly, a victory for all of Oregon." He's already making plans for the future, "When I'm elected, my first day in office will be this: in the morning, I'm going to name a Chief Homeless Solutions officer, a single person who's going to be accountable to marshal all these resources." He says government, philanthropic, and federal dollars can all be combined to assist the homeless in Oregon and help realize his vision to end homelessness in the next five years. He also says students will finally get the education system they deserve, once he's Governor. "In the afternoon, I'm going to reorganize the Oregon Department of education. Bring in new leadership, an agency that has badly underperformed for decades." Buehler says his plan will take Oregon schools from the bottom five in the country, to the top five in five years. He's also looking to help foster kids, "And importantly, make sure that vulnerable foster kids in this state have a voice."
Buehler and Brown are the top two candidates still running for Governor. Independent Patrick Starnes dropped out of the race last week. It was six years ago to the day (Nov. 6, 2012) that Brown defeated Buehler in her re-election bid for Oregon Secretary of State.