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Week in Review: Gun Violence Prevention Takes Center Stage in Oregon Elections

Tina Kotek Endorses Initiative Petition 17, Rep. Schrader (Unsurprisingly) Endorses NRA-backed Johnson

[Portland, Oregon] – With a new gun safety measure officially qualifying for the ballot this week, it’s becoming clearer by the day that gun violence prevention will be a central issue in Oregon’s elections this year, including in the race for governor. 

On Monday, Oregon Capital Chronicle’s Alex Baumhardt reported on a recent nonpartisan poll showing that a clear majority of Oregonians want elected officials to take action on gun violence prevention. 

Baumhardt also connected the poll to Oregon’s governor’s race. Tina Kotek, the Democratic nominee, has been a leader in the fight to reduce gun violence – helping pass safe storage requirements for guns and criminal background checks for firearm purchases to prevent stalkers and domestic abusers from getting guns. In contrast, Baumhardt reports:

“Unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson voted against these measures as a Democratic state Senator. Republican candidate Christine Drazan, the Republican state House leader from 2019 to 2021, voted against legislation that would have required safe gun storage. Both she and Johnson have received “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association.”

On Tuesday, a comprehensive gun violence prevention measure qualified for the ballot in Oregon. In response, Tina issued the following statement of support:

“Gun violence is preventable, but only if our leaders have the courage to stand up to the NRA and fight for common-sense gun safety policies. I endorse this ballot measure, and I am the only candidate for governor who will tackle the crisis of gun violence. Both Betsy Johnson and Christine Drazan have voting records that earned A ratings from the NRA, and Oregonians cannot trust them to keep our communities safe.”

Also on Tuesday, Betsy Johnson made an unsurprising announcement that Congressman Kurt Schrader, who recently voted against common-sense gun violence prevention measures in Congress and also lost his re-election bid, endorsed her campaign.

As Julia Schumway reported in the Oregon Capital Chronicle

“Kotek’s communications director, Katie Wertheimer, said Schrader’s decision wasn’t surprising and noted that both Schrader and Johnson voted against gun control measures. Schrader was one of only two congressional Democrats to vote against a wide-ranging gun violence bill passed by the U.S. House last month, and Johnson consistently voted against gun regulations in the state Legislature.

“‘The fact is that Betsy Johnson’s votes (and Rep. Schrader’s) have been out of touch with the majority of Oregonians — especially in their shared opposition to common sense gun violence prevention bills,” she said. “So today’s news really isn’t very surprising after all.’”

The opinion pages are also zeroing in on gun violence. The Eugene Weekly published an op-ed by Brandon Wolf, an Oregon native and survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Wolf made it clear that gun violence is on the ballot and there is only one candidate who has the courage to stand up to the NRA and protect our communities, Tina Kotek:

“While Johnson was blocking common-sense gun violence prevention legislation in the Senate, Kotek was leading the way to get it passed through the House.

“Under Kotek’s leadership, Oregon passed legislation to strengthen background checks for gun purchases, allow school districts to prohibit concealed weapons on school property and prohibit individuals convicted of domestic violence and stalking from purchasing a firearm. 

“And each time, Johnson voted no. 

“And when Drazan, a Republican, began serving in the Oregon House of Representatives in 2018, she followed suit, earning an A rating from the NRA.”

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