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PORTLAND, OR -- A new poll suggests there may be a shift in Oregon's gubernatorial race.  Polls as recent as earlier this week showed incumbent Governor John Kitzhaber leading by 13 points over his Republican challenger, Dennis Richardson.  But, a new KATU-TV poll shows both candidates with around 37% support, and nearly 20% of those who planned to vote for Gov. Kitzhaber now say they will vote for Richardson following the recent Cylvia Hayes scandals.


Willamette Week has endorsed Kitzhaber, and its Managing Editor Brent Walth defended their choice yesterday with Lars Larson, "I think it's naiive to express, Lars, that someon who has expressed prejudice against gays in the past and has taken a position against women's right to choose, wouldn't also cary forward those ideas into office.  Mr. Richardson's argument is that 'these are all settled' and therefore, what he thinks doesn't matter. In fact, what he thinks does matter." 


Walth says Willamette Week endorses Kitzhaber because of his innovations, "Willamette Week's concern in 2010 was he has a pention to alway have to be right and he doesn't follow through.  But, now the Oregon Health Plan, which expanded Medicaid... His efforts to establish CCOs, which created a community approach to healthcare ... and creating an education system that is continuous from kindergarten through college are all three innovative ideas." 

This is the first poll ever to show Richardson with a lead in the Governor's race.  The KATU poll involved just over 400 voters who were registered to vote and reported paying close attention to the election. 





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