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Gov. Kitzhaber Defeats Richardson

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


Gov. John Kitzhaber

According to Tim Hibbits at DHM Research,  after a very long and arduous campaign, Oregon voters have re-elected Governor.

With 64 percent of precincts reporting, Kitzhaber was leading 49 percent, with over 466,146 votes to Republican challenger Dennis Richardson's 42 percent with over 436,084 votes.

"[Kitzhaber] is a smart public official who knows how to handle big issues," Kitzhaber supporter Ken Ray said. "He will help Oregon move forward on important issues and improve quality of life here." 

Many of Kitzhaber's supporters spent the night cheering him on at the Democrat election results party in the downtown Portland Hilton Hotel, gathering to show their support for him and other Democrat canidates and measures. 

This will be Kitzhaber’s fourth term serving as Governor of Oregon. He was elected to the office for the first time in 1994 and served two terms before governorship was interrupted in 2003, when Democrat Ted Kulongoski took office. Oregonians voted Kitzhaber into office for a second time in 2010.

Oregon law stipulates that a governor may serve a maximum of eight years (two terms) during a 12 year period.

Behind the Haze of Hayes

Richardson, at his election party in Clackamas County: Photo Credit: Scott Bruun

Kitzhaber's campaign was riddled with accusations, unanswered questions and scandal. As the race approached November, revelations surfaced about his live-in fiancee Cylvia Hayes, had been involved in a for-profit green card marriage and that she owned a house intended for pot farming. Hayes' consulting contracts that she procured while she was a "public official" and "First Lady" of Oregon have also come under scrutiny.

Recently Kitzhaber's campaign was criticized for a lack of disclosure. GoLocalPDX filed a complaint with the Oregon Attorney General’s office alleging the governor’s office intentionally delayed their response to requests for information. In October, Richardson asked federal authorities to investigate business contracts between Hayes and the state.

Staying Smart by Focusing on Education

Despite the adversity, Kitzhaber defeated Richardson by campaigning on education. 

During his third term, Kitzhaber set his sight on longterm investments in higher learning. He signed a tuition equity bill into law last year that gives undocumented students the ability to attend college while paying in-state tuition as long as they meet certain requirements. The governor also introduced his “40/40/20 Plan-“ a goal that by 2025 all Oregon students will earn a degree; 40 percent earning at least a bachelor’s degree, 40 percent earning an associates degree or career certification and 20 percent earning a high school diploma or equivalency.

Kitzhaber has doubled-down on public education reforms - appointing new leaders to oversee higher learning and K-12 education, in addition to appointing a chief education officer to supervise learning statewide. 


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