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Johnson’s insurgent bid for Oregon governor vies with Cheney, Palin votes on Tuesday

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Oregon Capital Bureau

Oregon governor candidate Betsy Johnson is one of a number of women politicians whose futures will move forward or end on Tuesday.

Johnson, the former Democratic state senator from Columbia County, announced she and supporters will carry petitions to the Oregon Secretary of State at noon Tuesday.

“She plans to deliver well over the number necessary to qualify,” said Johnson campaign spokesperson Jennifer Sitton.

The campaign said they have gathered “well over” the 23,744 valid signatures needed to put Johnson on the Nov. 8 general election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for governor.

Democrat Tina Kotek and Republican Christine Drazan won their parties’ May 27 primaries and will also be on the ballot.

Tuesday will also mark a turning point for several major female politicians in western states.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., will collide head-on with the wrath of followers of former President Donald Trump.

Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is Wyoming’s sole member of the U.S. House. She was among 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. She broke with her caucus to serve as a leader on the U.S. House investigation into the deadly riot.

A poll released last Thursday by the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC) showed 57% of 562 Wyoming residents surveyed preferred Trump-backed attorney Harriet Hageman to Cheney.

Also trying to join the Republican caucus on Tuesday is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP vice-presidential running mate of the presidential nominee in 2008. The ticket lost to Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Palin is seeking a political comeback in Tuesday’s special election to fill out the remainder of the term of Rep. Don Young, R-AK. At the time of his death in March, Young was the longest serving Republican in congressional history.

The winner would take office immediately, but serve only until the new Congress elected in November is sworn in next January.

Voters will simultaneously choose candidates in a primary for a full two-year term in the U.S. House. Palin is also a candidate in that vote.

Alaska has a one-of-a-kind open primary system in which all candidates are on the ballot regardless of party affiliation and the top four finishers go to the general election.

The November election in Alaska then uses a “ranked choice” system in which voters choose their first choice and then rank the other candidates in order of preference. Votes for the fourth-place finisher are then transferred to the next choice on each ballot until a winner is decided.

The Tuesday vote will decide the winner of the special election, though final results are not expected until the end of August due to Alaska’s extended mail voting deadline at the end of the month. The Tuesday election will also decide the four candidates who will be on the general election ballot in November.

The Alaska primary also includes the Senate primary in which U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, is seeking re-election despite opposition from Trump. Trump is backing Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka.

A longtime Republican maverick, Murkowski has her own strong base of support beyond the GOP base who support the former president.

As with the congressional race, the Tuesday vote will choose the four candidates who will appear on the ballot in November. A key indicator of a possible outcome in the general election is whether Murkowski or Tshibaka finishes first.

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